In our first two articles, we explained how information in your background is publicly available and easily accessible in Oklahoma, and how employers, landlords, colleges and organizations routinely view this information before doing business with you.
However, the good news for you is that there are actually ways to keep this type of personal information completely private and hidden from the public. You just have to know how to work the system. In this article, we will show you what you can do to protect your privacy in Oklahoma.
So how do you seal and erase your past?
If you wish to keep information on your background check private and not accessible to the public, you need an Expungement.
You can keep your criminal history private in Oklahoma by using the legal Expungement process
An expungement is a legal process that allows you to seal certain information from public. With an expungement, you can seal arrests, misdemeanor convictions, non-violent felonies, and victim protective orders. Once the expungement has been processed, your expunged information will no longer show up on a background check through OSBI. The oscn.net website will not show your court case, either. There will be no way for any member of the public to access the expunged information.
You will also be granted the privilege of being able to legally deny that the arrest, criminal charge or VPO ever happened. And all of those employers, landlords, colleges, and organizations will not be able to ask about expunged information. If they ask about your background, you only need to disclose what is actually on your publicly available background check. You do not need to disclose any information that has been expunged, and they are prohibited from asking you to do so.
You can use the expungement process to improve your opportunities in Oklahoma
The expungement process is a valuable legal tool that you can use to protect your privacy and improve your career and financial earning potential. That is actually the reason why it exists. Our government has recognized that harsh criminal laws have hurt our economy and have prevented many people from ascending in their careers and social mobility. The point of a free society is to have people who are free to climb the socio-economic ladder.
Oklahoma law does not allow a person to expunge felony convictions. If you were convicted of a violent felony, you will not be able to use the expungement process to remove it from your public profile.
However, if you have a non-violent felony case, you can use the expungement process if you received a deferred sentence and successfully complete the probationary terms of the deferred sentence. This is not bad policy for Oklahoma. Giving second chances to working Oklahomans is good policy and helps the economy. Further, the fact that the judge issued a deferred sentence and eventually dismissed the case speaks to the circumstances of the crime itself. Courts only hand out deferred sentences to defendants worthy of a second chance.
In our next article, we will cover how to use a lawyer to pursue the expungement process to clear your background information, including how long you can expect the process to take, and how much money it will cost you.