As many Oklahoma residents have discovered, the penalties imposed on those convicted of crimes often represent only the beginning of their troubles. While few look forward to paying fines or serving time in jail or prison, these concrete punishments are at least always temporary.
In many cases, life after release from serving a sentence becomes a lot more difficult than it was in the past, as well. A single conviction can haunt a person for many years thereafter, with everyone from employers and landlords to personal acquaintances taking it negatively into account. Fortunately, there is an established process for cleaning up the record of anyone a court judges to be deserving of such treatment.
Expungement Can Afford a Fresh Start
Not everyone who has been convicted of a crime will qualify for this option, with courts taking into consideration factors such as age and the seriousness of the illegal activity. With the aid of a lawyer, however, many Oklahoma residents each year do find themselves becoming eligible to have evidence of past convictions expunged from their records.
The first step, in every case, is to obtain a court order directing that this process be carried out. The attorney representing the individual seeking expungement will need to make a persuasive argument in court, including by demonstrating that it no longer serves the public interest to keep the record as-is.
Once the presiding judge has been persuaded and the order issued, the actual expungement can then proceed. This will involve removing the record from at least one of two sources commonly used to investigate the criminal backgrounds of Oklahoma residents. The first, On Demand Court Records, or ODCR, is run by a private business, with the second, Oklahoma State Court Network, or OSCN, being maintained by the government.
A Fresh Start Brings True Freedom
For many who work through this sometimes challenging process, things become a good deal easier, as a result. It can seem as if serving the sentence imposed after a conviction ought to settle the matter for good, but that rarely proves to be the case. Instead, it is by seeking expungement of the associated criminal record that those who have been convicted most often become truly free once again.