A: It's important to get a record cleared because many employers, educational institutions and housing and banking institutions often will perform background checks before deciding to hire someone or lease property to a renter. The other thing is, currently, on the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network there's a court file maintained on every case in the district courthouse. If you get an expungement, those court records are sealed by court order, so no one can look at them. Further, they remove them from the OSCN so no one can query your name.
Q: Does a person need a lawyer to do this? And if so, is it costly?
A: You don't have to have a lawyer, but I'd recommend it in most circumstances. It's not costly. And it may save you from losing a good job or being passed over for a promotion.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER