Do you have a drug or alcohol-related conviction or case that was referred to an Oklahoma Drug Court? If so, the good news is that your case will qualify for expungement!
This article will discuss how it all works.
What is a Drug Court in Oklahoma?
Drug court is an alternative court process that is available to persons who already have had multiple drug or alcohol offenses. It is a rigorous program that requires strict attendance, and many hours of participation.
In Oklahoma, there are Drug Court programs which provide “an immediate and highly structured judicial intervention process for substance abuse treatment of eligible offenders which expedites the criminal case, and requires successful completion of the plea agreement.” 22 Okla. Stat. § 471.1(A).
Drug Courts differ from the regular criminal process in District Courts that is, like all legal process in the United States, adversarial in nature. Instead, the Drug Courts are instructed by the legislature to work with all parties to set a treatment schedule and then monitor the defendant’s progress.
Oklahoma Drug Courts are voluntary and the Defendant must not only consent to the program, but the Defendant must apply for it. In applying to Drug Court, the Defendant must admit to having a substance abuse problem. The reviewing judge must then determine if the Defendant should be admitted to the drug court program.
Oklahoma law further requires Drug Court Judges to recognize relapses and restarts as part of the rehabilitation and recovery process. Drug Court Judges are to hold the participating defendant accountable by offering both sanctions and incentives in response to violations and relapses.
Unlike Deferred Sentence Dismissals, there is no waiting period to expunge Cases dismissed by Oklahoma Drug Courts
If the Defendant complies with all requirements of the drug court program, then the Judge may do two things:
- Dismiss the charges, or
- If the person had previous felony convictions, the Judge may sentence the person according to any previous plea agreement.
Drug Court judges also have discretion to waive court costs and fines that are associated with the underlying offense. The drug court judges can even reinstate drivers licenses and waive fees associated with driver license suspensions.
The good news is that if your case was dismissed through an Oklahoma Drug Court, then you are eligible to have your case expunged.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that drug court dismissals are to be treated differently than dismissals following completion of deferred sentences. The high court ruled that Drug Court dismissals are eligible for immediately expungement without any waiting period after the case is dismissed.
Expungement is consistent with the drug court’s goal of allowing successful participants to move on with their lives, and not have past charges, which were successfully dismissed, be used against them by the public. D.A. v. State ex rel OSBI, 2018 OK 102.
Do you need to hire an Expungement Lawyer after you complete Drug Court in Oklahoma?
So you completed drug court, and your case was dismissed. That is great but what now?
Under the current law of the Drug Court Act, your case is supposed to be sealed by the drug court itself. That means they make the file private, the same as what would happened after an expungement. The Drug Court is even allowed to physically destroy your file after 10 years.
But drug courts don’t always expunge their files. It’s not that they purposefully intend for the record to remain public; more likely is that no one specifically asked and the judges and clerks have many, many cases, many they are constantly busy and not keeping up with every single drug court dismissal and then following up each dismissal with an expungement.
Therefore, you may need to file a motion for expungement in your drug court case asking to have the file sealed.
However, if you had prior criminal cases, separate from the offense that was dismissed in Drug Court, those other prior cases will not be sealed, only the drug court case.
Your arrest record may also remain on OSBI profile, even if the Drug Court Judge sealed the drug court case.
Your best option is to hire an expungement lawyer to file a Petition for Expungement in the District Court. There are multiple benefits to this approach, including:
- You can expunge everything you may have on your record, including the drug court case but also any prior case that would qualify for expungement;
- You can expunge the arrest record that is maintained at OSBI;
- You earn the right to legally deny all arrests and charges, including the drug court case but also any other case or arrest that pre-existed the drug court case
If you want to have your entire criminal record sealed, as well as have the right to legally deny it ever happened, then you should file a civil expungement petition under Section 18.
How to hire a lawyer to expunge your Drug Court case, plus your entire criminal record in Oklahoma
If you would like more information about your own rights or what options you have, we would be happy to help. We provide free consultations over the phone or at our office, you may simply call or email to get the information you are looking for.
If you want to hire us to expunge your record, simply call or text 405-701-6016, or you may send an email. You are welcome to schedule an appointment at our office. We also accommodate all of our clients by allowing them to hire us online as a matter of convenience.
You simply contact us, we will review your case, quote you a price and then accept payment over the phone or by email. You may also mail a check.
We typically complete expungements in about 60 days, and our clients do not need to come to court. We handle everything for the client. And we return to you two certified copies of your expungement order.
To get started, call or text 405-701-6016.