A DUI can complicate many parts of your life, including your ability to get a job or an apartment. If you have a DUI arrest or conviction that is causing you problems, an expungement may be the answer.
An expungement is the removal of an arrest or conviction record from the public record. In practice, this means the only way someone would be able to see your arrest or conviction record would be if you gave them permission.* It also means you can legally say you have never been convicted of a crime when someone asks you.
*Under certain limited circumstances, law enforcement might still be able to see arrest and conviction records as part of an investigation
After an arrest or a conviction has been expunged, you do not have to disclose that incident to employers and landlords. This translates to better opportunities for jobs and housing. Additionally, expunged crimes do not have to be disclosed to educational institutions, nor do they prevent you from being professionally licensed.
It is no secret that there is a stigma around a criminal conviction. An expungement will remove your case from OSCN, meaning your friends and family won’t be able to search your name on OSCN and find your old case.
If you get a DUI in Oklahoma, information about your arrest and / or conviction will show up in three separate locations: your driving record, your arrest record, and your court record. All of these can be expunged, but they require different steps and there are different requirements for each.
There are two different types of expungement that can occur when you get your arrest and court records expunged - a full expungement and a partial expungement.
A partial expungement, or 991c Expungement, only applies to individuals who have received a deferred sentence. A deferred sentence is a type of probation you receive at the time of plea. When you plead guilty to an agreement with a deferred sentence, the judge withholds a finding of guilt and defers judgement. Then, upon successful completion of your deferred sentence, the judge finds you not guilty and dismisses your case.
Normally the judge will defer judgment for either 12 or 18 months on a misdemeanor DUI. At the end of that 12 or 18-month period, the judge and prosecutor will check to see if you have completed all the terms of your probation. This usually means taking a drug and alcohol assessment, a victim’s impact panel, a DUI class, and community service. The judge will also check to make sure all your court costs have been paid and that you have not received any additional criminal charges. If all those requirements have been met, the judge will find you not guilty and dismiss your case. By having your case dismissed, you have now received a partial expungement.
After a successful partial expungement, your record will be removed from the State’s online databases (e.g.OSCN), and your OSBI record will typically state that you were arrested for the offense, plead not guilty, and the case was dismissed.
Just like with a misdemeanor DUI, if you plead to a deferred sentence on your felony DUI, the judge withholds a finding of guilt. Upon successful completion of the sentence, normally a much longer period than for a misdemeanor DUI, the judge finds you not guilty and dismisses your case. Your record has now been partially expunged. Notably, this doesn’t prevent you from seeking a full expungement later if you choose to do so.
A full expungement, or Section 18 Expungement, erases your criminal arrest, criminal charge, criminal court proceedings and other public criminal records. After a full expungement takes place a person can legally say the incident did not occur. This is because a full expungement is exactly what you think of when you think of an expungement – It treats the crime as if it had never happened at all.
If you have received a partial expungement after successfully completing a deferred sentence, you still qualify for a full expungement. In order to get a full expungement, you only need to wait one year from the time you received your partial expungement (the date you completed your deferred sentence, and the judge dismissed your case). If you don’t have any felony convictions and you don’t have any pending misdemeanor or felony charges, you can get a full expungement.
If you plead guilty to a misdemeanor DUI but did not receive a deferred sentence, you can still qualify for a full expungement. Normally a suspended sentence for a misdemeanor DUI is 12 months. Unlike with a deferred sentence, you enter a plea of guilty and the judge immediately finds you guilty. You are then put on probation for 12 months, and at the end of that probation your case _is not _automatically partially expunged. Even if you successfully complete the requirements of probation, your case will remain public unless you later receive a full expungement. However, you do have the ability to get a full expungement 5 years after you have successfully completed your suspended sentence.
After 5 years, you can begin the process of obtaining a full expungement. Note that even if you complete all your probation requirements in one month, the 5-year time does not begin until the end of the probation period. This means that if you plea to a 12 month suspended sentence on January 1st 2015, then complete all of your requirements by February 1st 2015, you will not be eligible for an expungement until January 1st 2021. This is because the term of probation is not over until January 1st of 2016 and the 5 year waiting period starts at the end of your probation period. In addition, you are not eligible for an expungement if you have any prior felony convictions or if you have any pending misdemeanor or felony charges against you.
Most misdemeanor DUIs do not result in jail time. However, a misdemeanor DUI technically carries up to one year in jail. Many people believe you cannot get your record expunged if you have served jail time. However, this is not the case. You can get an expungement of your misdemeanor DUI five years after the end of your sentence. Like with a suspended sentence the five-year clock begins when your sentence would have ended, not when you are released from custody. Like with the suspended sentence, you are not eligible for this expungement if you have any prior felony convictions or if you have any pending misdemeanor or felony charges against you.
While it is uncommon to receive only a fine for a DUI, it is possible. Regardless of whether you plead to a recommendation of a fine or are sentenced to a fine by a jury, you are eligible for an expungement. If the fine is under $500, you do not have a waiting period like you do with the other expungements. You merely need to pay off your fine, pay off your court costs, then apply for your expungement. Like with the other forms of expungement, you are not eligible if you have any prior felony convictions or if you have any pending misdemeanor or felony charges against you.
As we previously mentioned, it is very rare to receive only a fine for a DUI. However, you are still eligible for an expungement with a fine of over $500. With this fine, you must wait 5 years from the time the fine is paid off. You must pay off all of your court costs and you cannot have any felony convictions nor any pending charges against you.
If you plead to a deferred sentence on a felony DUI, you are eligible for an expungement. You must complete all terms of your probation and you cannot have any pending charges against you. Like with previous case types, you cannot have a prior felony conviction and you must wait 5 years from the completion of the deferred sentence.
If you receive a suspended sentence on a felony DUI, you may still be eligible for an expungement. Upon successful completion of the suspended sentence, and payment of all court costs, you must wait 5 years. However, you cannot have any separate convictions within the past 7 years. This means if you got a misdemeanor charge right before your felony DUI, you will need to make sure at least 7 years have passed since that charge and at least 5 years have passed since you completed your suspended sentence for your felony DUI. In addition to these requirements, you cannot have any prior felony convictions.
If you receive jail time on a felony DUI, you can receive an expungement 5 years from the date your sentence was completed. This means if you are sentenced to 1 year in jail, but you only serve 3 months, the 5-year waiting period will not begin until the 1 year mark. Like with a suspended sentence you cannot have any separate convictions within the past 7 years. You also cannot have any other prior felony convictions.
In all of the expungements we have previously discussed, it has been a requirement that you do not have any prior felony convictions. However, if you have a prior felony conviction and you receive a felony DUI, you may still be eligible to have your DUI expunged. One requirement is that your prior felony conviction is not considered a violent felony. For more information on what is considered a violent felony, check out or article here. Additionally, it cannot be a crime that required you to register as a sex offender. If both of those qualifications are met, and at least 10 years have passed since the completion of your most recent felony, you may be eligible for an expungement.
To get your driving record cleared and prevent your license from being suspended, you must request an Administrative License Hearing within 15 days of your arrest. After you are arrested for a DUI, law enforcement will confiscate your driver’s license. They will then report this arrest to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety is responsible for maintaining your driving record and for issuing driver licenses.
During your Administrative License Hearing, the hearing officer will contact the arresting officer, as well as any possible witnesses to the event. They will then question each individual, as well as you, about the events that lead to the arrest. This will include questions such as: why you were stopped, what the officer observed that led them to believe you were driving under the influence, etc. The attorney representing you will have an opportunity to present information on your behalf to the hearing officer. The hearing officer will then make a determination as to your case. If it is not requested within 15 days, you will forfeit your chance to have the hearing, and your license will automatically be suspended for a minimum of 6 months.
Not completely. There is a non-public record that the Department of Public Safety Receives that will state you were arrested for a DUI. This is not something the public has access to, but it can be viewed by law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s office.
If you have missed the opportunity to request an administrative license hearing, you are not out of options. You can enroll in the IDAP program. IDAP stands for the Impaired Driver Accountability Program. If you choose to do this, your license will not be revoked or suspended. Additionally, you will not have to pay a reinstatement fee for your license. For more information about the IDAP program, check out our article here.
If you have a DUI, there is a strong likelihood you could get it expunged. You should contact an attorney right away to make sure you have completed all of the necessary requirements and find out how long you need to wait to get it expunged. Even if you have already received a partial expungement, a full expungement can open the door to many opportunities that you would otherwise not have access to.
If you have a DUI and are interested in getting it expunged, take our free expungement quiz to see if you qualify.
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