This article continues our series on firearms rights in Oklahoma. In this series of articles, we look at how your criminal record can restrict your gun rights. In the previous article, we explained how an expungement does not restore your gun rights in Oklahoma. However, there is a solution to your problem: it’s called the pardon process, and we can help you with that.
This article explains how pardons work and how to use both legal tools, the pardon process and the expungement process, to serve your goals and objectives.
Convicted Felons cannot possess Firearms in Oklahoma
Under both State and Federal law, a person loses their right to own and possess a firearm after they are convicted of a felony crime. In Oklahoma, state law makes it illegal for a convicted felon to even be in proximity of a firearm so as to be considered as having control over it.
These firearm restrict laws are a source of terrible pain and injustice to many people in Oklahoma, given the breadth of what encompasses a felony these days.
For instance, larceny of property over $50 was considered a felony back in the 1990’s in Oklahoma. That means your average shoplifter at the mall in Oklahoma back in the 1990’s was committing a felony. Hard to believe but it is true.
There are many other similar instances of non-violent crimes that were classified as felonies at one time in Oklahoma. No wonder we have so many regular people with felonies on their record in Oklahoma.
The good news is that there is a legal process to restore your gun rights in Oklahoma, even if you have a felony conviction on your record.
The Pardon Process can restore your gun rights in Oklahoma
If you have lost your gun rights due to a felony conviction in Oklahoma, there is a legal solution to your problem You may seek a pardon of your conviction with the governor’s office. If the governor grants your pardon, your gun rights are restored.
The legal process of seeking a pardon in Oklahoma
You do not need to hire a lawyer to apply for a pardon. You may complete the application process on your own.
The process requires completing a written application and submitting it to the proper office. There will also be an investigation done into your background, by a retained investigator.
Your application will eventually make its way to the pardon and parole board for review. Thereafter, the pardon and parole board will make a recommendation regarding your application. The final decision rests with the governor.
Hiring a Lawyer to Handle Your Pardon can ensure the best outcome
You may also hire a lawyer to handle the process for you. The entire process can take 12 to 18 months. Having legal counsel available to monitor the process and handle any issues that may arise is something many clients prefer. It relieves the client of having to worry about doing anything correctly or doing something that may risk a denial.
Pardon applications are routinely denied for minor errors, such as a gap of employment or gap in residential history. It’s not uncommon for people to overlook these minor details, mainly because they are unaware of the significant consequences. But yes, you can have your application denied because you failed to list a two month gap in residence history. Those types of minor errors are easy ways for them to deny your application.
When you hire an attorney, you relieve yourself of having to worry about doing it correctly. And you put liability on another agent to ensure it is done correctly.
Contact Oklahoma Pardon Attorney to restore your gun rights
If you are interested in seeking a pardon for the purposes of restoring your gun rights, contact our office at 405-701-6016. You may also send us an email.
You can text us at 405-701-6016 if you would like more information on the pardon process in Oklahoma.
Do you need to get an Expungement first before getting a pardon?
Historically in Oklahoma, you needed to first obtain a pardon of your felony conviction before getting an expungement of it. Convicted felons could not go straight to the courthouse and file to have their records sealed. They first needed to have the governor pardon their conviction to even have the right to file in court.
Thankfully, that law has changed.
Persons with felony convictions in Oklahoma can now file for an expungement without having first been granted a pardon. This is nice because it frees you up to decide what order you would like to use these two legal tools.
You could choose to spend the time – close to two years in some instances – of first obtaining your pardon from the governor. And then you could go to the courts to expunge your records.
Or you could file for an expungement first, maintaining copies of everything. And then later pursue a pardon, using the files you maintained.
Alternatively, you could pursue both at the same time and see which one finishes first. (It will in all likelihood be the expungement, due to the quicker legal processes involved).
The Difference between a Pardon and an Expungement?
A pardon is restoration of your rights, granted by the governor under the constitutional powers given to the executive branch.
When you receive a pardon, you get back the rights you had previously lost, such as the right to own, possess, and carry a firearm.
An expungement is a court order that seals public records. This is a completely separate, but very important distinction. If you receive a pardon of your felony conviction, you now have your rights back. But all of the records related to your felony conviction – the arrest records, the booking photos, the Department of Corrections files – are still open to the public.
Worse yet, every time someone does a background check on you, they will see your felony conviction. Persons and agencies who pull background checks will categorize you as a felon even though you are not. This is because a pardon restores your rights, but it does not order government agencies to seal their files.
So every time a public request is made regarding those files, your information is shared. That is the law. Open records. But unless the person seeking the records is also asking for pardon records, they won’t ever see the pardon.
Expungements are more important than pardons for background check purposes
If your primary objective is to pass a background check, in any context other than purchasing a firearm, you will want to prioritize an expungement over getting a pardon. This is not to discourage you from getting a pardon, which is crucial to getting your gun rights restored.
But if you are in a position of having to pick one or the other in the short term, and you need to pass a background check for a job, apartment, school internship, you will want to get an expungement done first.
Our office routinely completes expungements in 60 to 90 days, sometimes sooner. We handle everything, our clients never have to appear in court. We make the process easy and convenient on our clients, allowing everything to be handled online, with no convenience to the client.
If you are interested in getting a pardon or an expungement, you can contact us for more information:
- Contact us by email
- Text 405-701-6016
- Call 405-701-6016