Senate Bill 650 (2018), the request bill drafted by Governor Fallin's Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force, has been signed into law by Governor Fallin. It will come into effect on November 1st, 2018. The bill will make one major change to Oklahoma's expungement laws:
- You are no longer required to have a Governor's Pardons to expunge a single felony conviction
This is an exciting development! However, please be aware that there are several important points to make about this change:
- First and foremost, please note that an expungement DOES NOT restore the civil rights lost from a felony conviction, including the right to own a firearm, the right to receive an SDA (concealed carry) license, and the right receive a work license, among other things. The expungement will remove the record from the view of the public and employers, but you are still required to go through the pardon process if you want your civil rights restored.
- Second, a Governor's Pardon is still required to expunge two felony convictions, and three or more felony convictions are still not eligible for an expungement.
- Finally, despite a recommendation from the Justice Reform Task Force that violent felonies be expungeable at some point in an offender's life, that language did not survive the Committee process and was not in the final bill. Violent felonies are still not eligible for expungement at this point.
The bill had previously died in Committee in 2017 (likely, we think, because of the violent felony issue), but was resurrected by the House this year. The new bill passed the the House on a 60-28 vote and the Senate on a 38-0 vote. Previous expungement amendments, drafted by Michael A. Risley in 2014 and 2016, passed on similar votes, demonstrating the strong bipartisan support for non-violent expungements that we have in Oklahoma. Curious to see how your representatives voted? Find your representative and then cross-check their names in the voting roll call links above.
We are, as always, very thankful to our colleagues on the Justice Reform Task Force, in law enforcement, and in the Legislature for their efforts and hard work in making the future brighter for those who have made mistakes and paid their dues.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if you want to know if you will qualify for expungement after Nov. 1st, 2018, give us a call at at 405.801.2116, or get in touch.
Thanks for reading,