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HB2397: 2016 Expungement Amendments Bill Introduced

We are proud to announce the introduction of HB2397 into the Oklahoma House of Representatives. This bill, written by Michael A. Risley, will serve as the 2016 expungement amendments bill.

Our office would like to take this opportunity to thank Representative Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville) for his wisdom in recognizing this as a good bill. We would also like to thank the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Civil Divisions of the Oklahoma & Tulsa County District Attorneys Offices for their feedback and suggestions on bill language. Together, we are making a brighter future for Oklahoma.

HB2397 will do the following: 

1. Separate out "fine-only" misdemeanors from misdemeanor suspended & jail sentences, and make them expungeable as soon as the fine is satisfied.

Currently, if you receive a misdemeanor ticket in Oklahoma and pay the fine without receiving any probation, you cannot have that record expunged for 10 years. That is entirely too long - a misdemeanor which is the functional equivalent of a traffic ticket should be expungeable as soon as the fine is satisfied.

2. Normalize the wait times on expungements, so that the worse your sentence was, the longer you have to wait.

If you receive a felony deferred sentence in Oklahoma, you cannot have that expunged for fifteen years. If you receive a felony conviction, which is theoretically a harsher sentence, you have to wait ten years. That doesn't make any sense. The more severe the crime was, the longer the wait time on the expungement should be. The current wait times (in order of severity) are all over the map: 

Misdemeanor Fine: 10 Years
Misdemeanor Deferred Sentence: 1 Year
Misdemeanor Suspended/Jail Sentence: 10 Years
Felony Deferred Sentence: 15 Years
Felony Suspended/Jail Sentence: 10 Years and a Governor's Pardon

HB2397 will modify the required wait times for expungements so that they scale appropriately:

Misdemeanor Fine: Immediate
Misdemeanor Deferred Sentence: 1 Year
Misdemeanor Suspended/Jail Sentence: 6 Years
Felony Deferred Sentence: 10 Years
Felony Suspended/Jail Sentence: 10 Years and a Governor's Pardon

3. Remove misdemeanor convictions from the expungement analysis for deferred sentences and require notification of the "prosecuting agency" instead of the "district attorney". 

This is more of a technical point for expungement attorneys, but it is still important. HB2397 will remove the conviction analysis from deferred sentence expungements - so that pesky traffic fine won't stop the expungement of a deferred DUI. Furthermore, it will require notification to the "prosecuting agency" instead of the "district attorney", so you won't have to waste the District Attorney's time with notification on Municipal and Attorney General expungements.

For those interested, you can review the actual language of the bill on the Oklahoma Legislature's website, here: HB2397 Bill Versions.

Keep on keepin' on,
Michael



Michael Risley | Tuesday, February 09, 2016 | Go Back