This article is all about deferred sentences in Oklahoma District Courts.
In Oklahoma, criminal defendants are entitled to a trial by jury or judge. This is the fact-finding portion case, where evidence is presented and a jury or judge decides whether the defendant committed the crime. There is later a sentencing portion where the Court imposes a sentence on the defendant in the form of a fine or jail time.
The defendant can also skip having a trial simply admit guilt. This is called a guilty plea. The Court would then sentence the defender after pleading guilty.
In addition to fines and jail time, there are also various forms of probation. We will explain one form of probation that occurs during deferred sentencing.
What is a Deferred Sentence in Oklahoma?
A deferred sentenced is a type of criminal sentencing in Oklahoma District Courts. At the time of sentencing, the Judge has the authority to impose a sentence immediately, or to delay that decision and wait until a future date. The way this works is that the judge will enter an Order Deferring Sentencing, which means the judge puts off issuing a sentence until a later time.
In the mean time, the judge places the defendant on probation, until the date of the sentencing hearing. This probation is called a deferred sentence in Oklahoma. Deferred sentences can vary, but are usually from six months to five years. However, a deferred sentence can be as short as 30 days and as long as ten years.
At the conclusion of the deferment period, the Court will resume sentencing. If the defendant has not complied with the terms and conditions of the deferred sentence, the Court will sentence the defendant to a range of punishment.
However, if the defendant successfully completed the deferred sentence, the defendant is entitled to have the case dismissed and partially-expunged under Section 991c.
How Deferred Sentence probation works in Oklahoma
After the court enters an order deferring sentencing, the court will then determine how the probation will work. The Court may require that the District Attorney or other agency — such as Attorney General or Department of Corrections — supervise the probation. There may be supervision fees that the Defendant must pay. There are also could be reporting requirements, such as weekly or monthly check-ins with the supervising office.
Often, the supervised portion is not as long as the probation itself. For example, the defendant may have a 2-year deferred sentence, but is supervised for only the first six months.
The Court may also allow the probation to be unsupervised. However, the Court will always order that certain Rules and Conditions apply. The defendant must abide by the Rules and Conditions in order to successfully complete the deferred sentence.
What happens when the Deferred Sentence is completed?
After the probationary time period is up, the Defendant will have a return date to complete the sentencing. However, if the defendant has successfully completed the probation by attending all supervised check-ins and following the rules and conditions, the defendant is entitled to have the case dismissed.
The exact procedure of this varies among the district courts from county to county in Oklahoma. In some counties, it is customary to have a hearing where the defendant returns for sentencing, only to have the court formally dismiss the case and enter an Order Expunging Pursuant to § 991c.
Sometimes, there is no return date. After the defendant completes the check-ins with the supervisor, the defendant merely waits out the remainder of deferred sentence. After the time period is up, the deferred sentence is over, and the defendant is now entitled to file a Motion for 991c dismissal and expungement.
Is a Deferred Sentence a Conviction in Oklahoma?
A deferred sentence is not a conviction in Oklahoma. While there is an admission of guilt by the defendant, and a finding of guilt by the court, the court does not actually sentence the defendant. Instead, the court delays sentencing, and then subsequently dismisses the case.
In the event that the court does find the defendant is deserving of a criminal sentence — because of failure to comply with the Rules and Conditions of the probation — the court will impose a Judgement and Sentence. The J&S is the legal document that represents the conviction.
If the court enters a judgment and sentence, the case outcome changes from a deferred sentence to a fine or to a term of imprisonment, either to be served or suspended.
If the sentence is suspended, the defendant is placed back on probation. This time, if the defendant breaks the rules and conditions, the defendant is automatically sent to jail, since the sentence has already been issued.
Can you expunge a deferred sentence in Oklahoma?
Persons with a deferred sentence on their record are eligible for two types of expungement. The first is called a 991c Expungement, and the other is what we know as the full expungement, the Section 18 Expungement.
Persons who complete deferred sentences are entitled to 991c Expungements
The first type is the partial expungement (i.e. 991c Expungement). When the person finishes their deferred sentence, they can ask the judge to expunge the case from the OSCN.net website, as well as from the local court records at the court clerk’s office.
We handle 991c Expungements regularly, and we can help you. For more information about 991c Expungements, you can call or text us at 405-701-6016 or complete this form and we will contact you.
After the 991c Expungement is complete, your OSBI arrest record will show that the case was dismissed, and you were found not guilty.
Persons with Deferred Sentences qualify for full expungement and sealing of their records
The good news is that if you had a deferred sentence, may expunge your case, whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony.
In misdemeanor cases, you may move to expunge the case one year after your deferred sentence ends.
With felony cases, you may move to expunge the case five years after the deferred sentence ended.
In either situation, you may ask for the 991c Expungement the day the deferred sentence ends.
Need more information? Call or text 405-701-6016
If you would like more information about expunging deferred sentences from your record in Oklahoma, please call or text our office at 405-701-6016. You may also complete this form online and we will contact you to answer your questions or get started with the process.
How long does it take to expunge a deferred sentence in Oklahoma?
We regularly complete 991c expungements in 30 to 60 days, and full expungements (Section 18 expungements) in 60 to 90 days. However, the length of a civil court case is not within our control and we cannot guarantee these time frames. These are simply examples of past cases.
When you hire us to expunge your case, we will immediately file a Petition for Expungement with the Court Clerk. We will then take that Petition to the assigned judge and set it for hearing.
Afterwards, we will serve the Petition on the District Attorney, the OSBI, and any other agency that was involved. We will also send those parties a proposed Order Granting the Expungement. From there, we will work with those parties to reach an agreement to get the expungement approved.
If there is no agreement, we will go to court and present our case, asking for the judge to rule in our favor and grant the expungement. The court will grant the expungement so long as our client qualifies.
If you would like more information about expunging your case, call or text us at 405-701-6016 or fill out this online form and we will contact you by phone or email.