If you plan to apply for college, or if you have a degree, but plan to move on up to graduate school or pursue a career in law, medicine, nursing, or engineering, this article has important information for you.
As we’ve previously discussed, about a third of young adults have a criminal record. And because more and more people are pursuing higher education, having a criminal record can hurt your chances of getting accepted, especially in Oklahoma colleges. This is a simple result of supply and demand.
There is a limited supply of seats at the school you want to attend. But there is an increased demand of students trying to gain acceptance. Because the universities have an over supply of applications, they can be as picky as they want. And a criminal record of any sort – even an arrest but you were never charged – can be enough to convince the overworked admissions staff to throw your application in the denial pile.
In this article, I will explain how a lawyer can help you continue your educational journey by legally sealing your records and preventing the colleges and universities from seeing your history of arrests.
Oklahoma Law allows Students to seal certain information from public access
In Oklahoma, we have a legal process of sealing records from public access. This process is called an Expungement of Records. The way it works is simple: if you qualify, you may ask the court to order your records be sealed shut from public access. If the court grants your request, then your records are now confidential. Any requests from the public to access those records will be denied. The public will be told that no such records exist.
It gets better. You can legally deny that the events ever happened. That means when you are filling out a college application that asks “have you ever been arrested?” you can check the box “No.” In a job interview, you can with good conscious (and with the protection of the law) tell the employer, “No, I’ve never been arrested or ever been in trouble with the law.”
So how can you get your records expunged?
First, you need to verify that your records are eligible. In Oklahoma, you can expunge any type of misdemeanor, but only non-violent felonies. And with non-violent felonies, the outcome must have ended in a deferred sentence that was completed and dismissed. If you have questions about whether your case is eligible, consult my previous blog articles or complete this form and I will let you know.
Once we’ve determined that your records are eligible for expungement, we simply need to get started with the process.
How to hire an expungement lawyer, how much does it cost, and how long does it take
The first thing to do is to contact us. We will schedule a phone consultation. We will analyze your case, determine eligibility and let you know. Then we will quote you a price and let you know how much all the court costs will be. I do expungements for as low as $499, plus court costs.
You can pay us online or in person at the office. All of this can be done the same day you contact us. Essentially, we can accept you as our client all online.
Once we’ve received payment and written authorization from you, we will start your case. We will file your petition for expungement with the court and immediately notify all law enforcement departments about your expungement case. We will start working with the district attorneys and lawyers at OSBI to clear up any issues that may arise. We will then propose an order of expungemetn and circulate it among all the government lawyers for signature. After we collect all the signatures, we will submit the order to judge for final approval.
Once the judge signs the order, we send certified copies to the District Attorney, OSBI, and all law enforcement agencies, notifying them to seal all records related to our Client. This entire process usually takes about 45 days.
At this point, you have nothing left to worry about. Your record has now been sealed by court order. No member of the public may access it. If the public inquires about it to any government agency, whether OSBI, the court clerk, sheriff or police, they will be told no record exists.
Now, when you apply to law school, or medical school, you don’t have to worry about them finding out about your past. That is history. Top secret history.