Is a DUI Automatically Expunged After 10 Years?

Is a DUI Automatically Expunged After 10 Years?

Oklahoma’s laws around expungement, commutation, and pardons have changed a lot over the past few years. With one of the highest prison populations in the U.S., the state has worked hard to reform its laws and offer those who deserve it a second chance. With all these new laws and regulations, we get a lot of questions about the expungement process. Here’s one of the most common.

Is a DUI Automatically Expunged After 10 Years?

The short answer is no. In Oklahoma, a DUI isn’t automatically expunged after 10 years. Currently, Oklahoma has no automatic expungement process, except for deferred sentences. However, the full answer isn’t so straightforward. Oklahoma did pass a Clean Slate Bill that will automatically expunge certain types of DUIs, after a certain amount of time – but the system probably won’t be in place until 2026. Let’s dive into the details of automatic expungement in Oklahoma.

When Is a DUI Automatically Expunged in Oklahoma?

Currently, Oklahoma only has automatic partial expungement for deferred sentences. Once the Clean Slate Bill is in place, other DUIs will be automatically expunged.

Deferred Sentences

Let’s start with deferred sentences, which are often handed out for first-time DUIs. A deferred sentence means the judge doesn’t find you innocent or guilty – they simply withhold judgment and sentence you to probation. You’ll have to take a drug and alcohol assessment, attend a Victim Impact Panel, complete a DUI class, and probably do some community service. You’ll also have to pay all your court costs and stay out of trouble.

If you successfully complete probation, your case will be automatically dismissed. This is known as a partial expungement because your arrest and court records will still show up on state databases, but it will show that you plead not guilty and your case was dismissed. You can still get a full expungement, which seals all of the records for the case, including your arrest record.

So how long does it take? A deferred sentence typically lasts 12 or 18 months for a misdemeanor DUI, and longer for a felony. While your partial expungement is automatic, you have to wait one year from the date you complete your misdemeanor deferred sentence to apply for a full expungement (and five years for a felony deferred sentence).

The Clean Slate Bill

While the answer to “Is a DUI automatically expunged after 10 years?” is currently “no,” Oklahoma’s Clean Slate Bill could change that. In fact, it will be even better: The waiting periods for automatic expungement under the bill are typically shorter than 10 years.

Oklahoma passed its Clean Slate Bill in 2022, but the bill stated that whether or not it becomes a reality is “subject to the availability of funds.” The state is currently working on setting up a system to automatically expunge DUIs and other misdemeanors, but it isn’t yet online.

Once the system is set up, here are the most common DUI charges that will be automatically expunged and when:

  • Dismissed charges (after the statute of limitations has passed)
  • Misdemeanors that were dismissed as a result of deferred sentences (after one year has passed since charge was dismissed)
  • Misdemeanors with a fine of less than $500 and no prison time (when the fine has been paid)
  • Misdemeanors with a fine of more than $500, prison time, or a suspended sentence (when five years have passed since completion of the sentence)
  • Nonviolent felony offenses (when five years have passed since completion of the sentence or dismissal of deferred sentence)

The Clean Slate Bill also has other requirements for automatic expungement in Oklahoma. Generally, you must:

  • Never have been convicted of any other felony
  • Have no misdemeanor or felony charges pending against you
  • Have paid all of court costs and fines

Can I Expunge Other DUIs in Oklahoma?

The good news is that while a DUI isn’t automatically expunged after 10 years, you can apply for expungement once a certain amount of time has passed. The waiting periods are the same as they will be under the Clean Slate Bill we described above, so:

  • You can expunge a misdemeanor or felony DUI with a deferred sentence one year after the case is dismissed.
  • You can expunge a misdemeanor DUI with no jail time and a fine under $500 as soon as your fine is paid.
  • You can expunge a misdemeanor DUI with a suspended sentence or jail time five years after you complete your sentence.
  • You can expunge a felony DUI with jail time five years after you complete your sentence, as long as you don’t have a previous felony conviction.
  • If you have a previous felony conviction, you can expunge your record 10 years after you complete your sentence, as long as your prior conviction was nonviolent.

Like a potential automatic dismissal under the Clean Slate Bill, you can’t have any charges pending against you, and you must have paid all of your fines and court costs, among other requirements. For a complete guide on expungement eligibility, check out “How to Expunge a Record in Oklahoma” or take our free eligibility quiz.

The Bottom Line

The answer to “Is a DUI automatically expunged after 10 years?” is a simple “no,” but that may be a good thing. In most DUI cases, you don’t need to wait 10 years to get an expungement in Oklahoma: You’ll likely be eligible 1 year or 5 years after you complete your sentence. And while automatic expungement may be coming to Oklahoma, there’s no reason to wait if you’re already eligible for a traditional expungement. Contact the Tulsa Expungement Guy today to get a fresh start.