Should You Get a Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Oklahoma?

Should You Get a Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Oklahoma?

Do you have a criminal record? You’re definitely not alone. By some estimates, about one in three Americans has a criminal record of some kind. A lot of those people never get an expungement – or they might try to go the DIY route. But getting a “do-it-yourself” expungement in Oklahoma can be difficult, and it isn’t always successful. Let’s dive into some of the most common questions we get, then talk about how an attorney can help you.

Can You Get a Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Oklahoma?

Yes, you can legally file for an expungement yourself in Oklahoma. However, even the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) suggests that you have a lawyer because of all the paperwork and specific legal requirements involved in a successful expungement, saying: “The OSBI strongly suggests you get a lawyer to advise you of the proper actions to take. If you decide to represent yourself, the court will hold you to the same standards for knowing and following the applicable law as it would an attorney.”

How Do You File for a DIY Expungement in Oklahoma?

As the OSBI notes, the process for getting an expungement is the same whether you have a lawyer or not. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Accurately fill out a Petition for Expungement, file it with the Court Clerk, and pay the associated fees for filing a new case.
  2. Send a copy of your petition to the judge, OSBI, court clerk, arresting agency, and district attorney or prosecutor in the district where you were charged. (This may involve multiple agencies or districts.)
  3. Attend your expungement hearing. Be prepared to argue your case if someone objects to your expungement.
  4. If the judge approves your petition, they’ll sign your written Order to Expunge.
  5. Send a copy of the Order to Expunge to the same parties as in step 2 along with and pay the $150 fee to OSBI for a full expungement.
  6. In about a month, check if your records have been expunged. You can do this through the OSBI’s Criminal History Information Request Portal (CHIRP).

You can see there are a lot of steps in the process. For many of them, you’ll need to physically travel to the courthouse in the district where you were arrested. You’ll also need to go to the post office quite a bit: Notifying the right people requires specific methods of delivery and to specified individuals. These are all good reasons not to file a do-it-yourself expungement in Oklahoma: When you have a lawyer, they’ll take care of all of it.

Top Reasons Not to File a Do-It-Yourself Expungement

While it’s true that hiring an attorney can increase your costs, the truth is that there’s really no such thing as a free expungement – you’ll always pay fees, postage, and court costs. Plus, if your expungement isn’t successful, you’ll have wasted a lot of time and money. Using an experienced expungement attorney is better than a do-it-yourself expungement in Oklahoma because:

They Can Help You File a Convincing Petition

You’ll need very specific information to fill out the Petition for Expungement, including the case number of the crime you want to expunge, the date of the arrest, and the “disposition” (end result) of the charges. For your petition to be successful, you also need to show that you regret your actions, you’ve proven that you’re now a productive citizen, and that the benefit to you outweighs the public’s need to know about your past. And, you will need to do it all while displaying it is in compliance with Oklahoma Statute and local court rules.

They Take Care of the Paperwork

There’s a lot of paperwork involved in filing for an expungement. Besides the petition, an attorney can also help you with the hearing paperwork. Courts generally don’t draft this up themselves, and it’s up to the petitioner (you) to provide them with a filled-out form they can simply sign. You also have at least 30 days to notify all the “interested parties” we listed above. Attorneys are familiar with the right processes and mail services to make sure everyone is notified on time and that you have proof of the notification.

They Know How to Get Signoff

You don’t just need to notify interested parties. You need them to sign off on your expungement, because that means they don’t object to it. Once you get the hearing order, You will file it with the court clerk, get a file-stamped copy, and send those to the interested parties. Then, you will circulate another copy of the hearing order for signatures from the authorized representative of each interested party. Getting all of the signatures before your hearing date makes the process go much smoother. If you’re not able to get a signature and that party doesn’t show up to the hearing or object, your attorney will request a “default” on their signature.

They Can Appear for You in Court

The best part of having an attorney? You won’t have to show up in court for any of this.

With a do-it-yourself expungement in Oklahoma, you’re constantly running back and forth to the courthouse and post office – and you’re probably not even sure if you’re doing it right. But an attorney will not only file everything for you, they can also appear on your behalf at your hearing.

The Bottom Line

The truth is that you can get a do-it-yourself expungement in Oklahoma – but you shouldn’t. It takes a lot of time and effort to file for an expungement, and if it isn’t successful, that will all be time and money wasted. The knowledge and peace of mind an experienced expungement attorney can give you is priceless. Convinced? Contact the Tulsa Expungement Guy today to get started.