You may have heard the terms deferred sentence, suspended sentence, prison sentence, paper time… what do these all mean?
In this blog post, we will explain the various types of sentencing in Oklahoma criminal cases, and how the type of sentence affects your ability to expunge the case.
How a criminal case is resolved in Oklahoma Courts
In Oklahoma, the state files information alleging a crime was committed and describing the evidence that would support the allegation.
The defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing to see the evidence, and is further entitled to a trial by jury to hear the evidence and determine if the defendant is guilty.
The defendant may also plea guilty to the charge and ask the judge to sentence him/her, or the defendant may negotiate a sentence with the prosecutor in exchange for pleading guilty.
The plea and sentencing stages are generally separated into two separate hearings. If the case went to trial, the jury would render a verdict, and if it was guilty recommend a punishment/sentence.
After a hearing or verdict finding the defendant guilty, there is usually a second hearing to determine sentencing. At the sentencing hearing, the court will enter the Judgement and Sentence the defendant.
Types of Criminal Sentences in Oklahoma Courts
The Judge can sentence a person to pay a fine or serve a term of imprisonment.
The judge may suspend the sentence. This means that the judge will issue a sentence for a term of years or days, but may “suspend” a portion of the sentence, meaning you will not have to serve that amount of time in prison.
An example would be a five-year suspended with all but the first six months suspended. That would mean that the defendant would serve six months, and the remaining four and a half years would be served out of prison. The suspended portion can be supervised or unsupervised.
The Judge may also defer sentencing. This means that the judge will delay sentencing until a future hearing, and in the interim leading up to the hearing, the defendant will be put on probation, and possibly required to follow a list of probation requirements. If the defendant successfully completes the terms of the deferred sentence, then at the sentencing hearing, the Judge will not sentence the defendant but instead will dismiss the case.
The Judge may require the Defendant to enter a Drug Court program as part of the sentence. This will require the Defendant to regularly attend the drug court proceedings, comply with all requirements, and at the conclusion have the case dismissed by the Drug Court.
How the Court’s criminal sentence affects your ability to expunge your record in Oklahoma
Of any of the types of sentences explained above, any one of them can still be expunged if the case was a misdemeanor or non-violent felony. The only difference will be the waiting period.
If you received a suspended sentence, whether it was for a misdemeanor crime or a felony crime, your case can be expunged five years after the suspended sentence ended.
However, if you have two felony cases, then the time period is ten years after the last felony sentence ended.
If you received a deferred sentence, and successfully completed the deferred sentence, then you can expunge your case as follows:
- Misdemeanor charges can be expunged one year after the deferred sentence ended;
- Non-violent felony charges can be expunged five years after the deferred sentence ended.
If you have a combination of cases including felony deferred sentences and felony suspended sentences, then you must expunge the suspended sentence first, which will then qualify you for the deferred sentence expungement.
However, there is no waiting period for expungement if your case was dismissed by a Drug Court. This is great news for those who participated in a Drug Court program in Oklahoma. If you completed a drug court program, and the case was dismissed at the completion of the program, then you may immediately expunge your case without waiting any amount of time.
How to hire a lawyer to expunge 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.