If you were charged with a crime in any city or county in Oklahoma, then you will have a Record of Arrest and Prosecution (RAP sheet). Those records will be maintained at the police agency or sheriff’s office that effectuated the arrest, as well as at the court that heard the charges and issued a sentence.
It is in your best interest to expunge all of that information, at every single place it may exist. However, first you must determine if you qualify for expungement.
If you were charged with a misdemeanor or non-violent felony in Oklahoma, then your charges will ultimately qualify for expungement. The question is how long do you have to wait? In order to help you answer that question, we created this chart of expungement waiting periods.
What if the charges were dismissed completely? Meaning, the case is now closed, you were not convicted, and there is no judgment and sentence against you.
What you may not known is there are actually three types of dismissals (of course lawyers and judges would make it this complicated; you can’t just have one type of dismissal; It’s the American legal system! It has to be more complex and not less).
- Dismissed by the prosecutor or the Judge
- Dismissed after successful completion of Drug Court
- Dismissed after successful completion of deferred or delayed sentencing
This article will go into detail on the different ways a criminal charge can be dismissed in Oklahoma District Courts and how that affects a person’s right to have those charges expunged.
Expunging a case that the Prosecutor dismissed
You were charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed. You are glad about the outcome. Or maybe you were entitled to the outcome all along because the charges were bogus, and you should never have been charged in the first place! So you have feelings of anger and resentment toward the system. Nonetheless, having the charges dismissed brings a sense of relief, a burden on your shoulders having been lifted.
The good news is in this situation, your case can be expunged (yay!), and “usually” we can do it immediately. Let me explain why I say “usually.”
Paragraph 7 of the Expungement Statute allows a person to expunge a case if:
- All charges were dismissed
- The person has never been convicted of a felony
- No charges are currently pending, and
- The Statute of Limitations has expired, or the prosecutor has no intent to refile.
The second and third items are requirements in most types of expungements. (What if you are a convicted felon? Then you must expunge the felony first, then move on to the expungement that requires no felony convictions).
It’s the fourth requirement that I wanted to clarify: the SOL has expired, or the prosecutor has no intent to refile.
What is a statute of limitations and how does it affect expungements in Oklahoma?
A statute of limitations is a law that prescribes how long the government has to formally file charges against you for a crime.
Most crimes in Oklahoma have a three-year statute of limitations. Some have longer periods, like seven years (example, white collar crimes and sex crimes), and others have no limitations (i.e. Murder).
Say you were arrested on July 1, 2010 for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. The State has until July 1, 2013 to file a criminal charge in district court. If they do not file charges in court by that deadline, then they lose the power to ever charge you with the crime and you have the right to be free of those charges. (If a prosecutor was to file a charge out of time, your lawyer would file a motion to dismiss and cite the applicable statute of limitations. The trial judge then would be required to dismiss the case).
When can you expunge a charge that was dismissed in Oklahoma?
If your charges were dismissed in Oklahoma, and the statute of limitations has expired, then you can move to immediately have your case expunged.
In a typical case that comes to our office, we generally do not have to wait, even if the statute of limitations has not technically expired.
The reason is that if the prosecutor dismissed the charges, it is likely that they realized they did not have a good case and did not want to push it all the way to trial. Maybe they lacked the evidence; maybe they realized that the arresting office was wrong. Ultimately, they became convinced that this person should not be charged and the case should be dismissed. Therefore, they dismissed the case so they could move on to working other cases. And if they have no intent to re-file, then the case can be expunged.
That is why I stated that if the prosecutor dismissed your case, we can usually expunge it immediately. Because if they dismissed, it they probably don’t intend to file it again even if they legally can.
In situations where this is not clear, we can simply ask the prosecutor if they have any intent to re-file. If they respond to an email stating they don’t intend to re-file, well, that settles that issue. Time to proceed with the expungement.
In the next article, we will discuss the other two type of dismissals: drug court and deferred sentences.
How to get started on getting your Oklahoma state or municipal charges expunged!
If you would like to get your case expunged, call or text (405) 701-6016, or send us an email. We will need information, such as your full name, date of birth, and information about your charges, such as what city/county it appeared in. We can look all of this up for you, you don’t need to have it memorized! Once we confirm your case, we can accept payment online and get started that same day.
If you need any information at all about the expungement process, simply call (405) 701-6016 or send us an email.