Can I Expunge a Protective Order?

Expunging a protective order

Expunging a protective order can seem like an impossible thing, depending on the situation. However, it’s not impossible for a lot of people seeking one. Protective orders serve as vital legal instruments to safeguard individuals from domestic violence, harassment, stalking, and other forms of abuse. However, circumstances may change over time, leading individuals to seek the expungement of these orders. This article examines the legal framework governing the expungement of protective orders in Creek County, exploring the eligibility criteria, procedural requirements, and implications of expungement.

What Exactly is an Expungement?

Expungement refers to the legal process of sealing or erasing records of certain offenses or legal proceedings. There are many types of expungements, but Oklahoma law has a specific section in the statutes that covers protective order expungements. This is known as 22 O.S. § 60.18, which outlines the criteria that Oklahoma requires for one. Additionally, the statute lays out what will disqualify you from expunging the protective order. While expungement laws vary by jurisdiction, they all generally aim to provide individuals with a fresh start by removing the stigma associated with past legal actions.

Eligibility for Expunging a Protective Order

In Creek County, individuals may seek the expungement of protective orders under certain circumstances. However, it is essential to understand that expungement is not automatic and requires compliance with specific legal requirements. The eligibility criteria for expungement of protective orders in Creek County typically include:

  1. Time Period: A certain period must elapse since the issuance of the protective order. This period may vary depending on the nature of the order and other factors.
  2. Compliance: The petitioner must demonstrate compliance with the terms and conditions of the protective order during the specified period.
  3. No Violations: The petitioner should not have any subsequent violations of protective orders or involvement in criminal activities during the eligibility period.
  4. Good Cause: The petitioner must establish good cause for expungement, such as changes in circumstances or rehabilitation.
  5. Notifying the Plaintiff: The person who initially filed the protective order must be sent notice of the intent to expunge the order. If you are unwilling to do this step an expungement wouldn’t be an option for you.

Additionally, an expungement doesn’t automatically give you your gun rights back. In most instances, a pardon is a requirement for having access to guns again. An attorney will be able to review your eligibility with you. This will let you know if one or both options are necessary to restore your rights.

Procedure for Expunging a Protective Order

The process for expungement of protective orders in Creek County generally involves the following steps:

  1. Petition Filing: The petitioner files a petition for expungement with the court that issues the protective order. The petition must include relevant details, such as the case number, date of issuance, and reasons for the expungement.
  2. Notice to Plaintiff: The person seeking an expungement must notify the original filer of the protective order. The exception to this would be if the plaintiff is deceased at the time of filing the petition for expungement.
  3. Hearing: The court schedules a hearing to consider the expungement petition. Both parties may present evidence and arguments supporting their positions.
  4. Judicial Decision: The court evaluates the petitioner’s eligibility and the respondent’s objections, if any, before issuing a decision on the expungement petition.
  5. Expungement Order: If the court grants the expungement petition, it issues an order sealing or erasing the records of the protective order. The petitioner may then proceed with the expungement process as directed by the court.

It’s important to note that the court could negatively view any prior felonies or protective orders against you. This could be used as a means to deny the expungement. Hence, expungements are a path to cleaning your slate, not to encourage recidivism. The courts looks at a person’s willingness to change their behaviors. As such, they will take that into consideration when making their final determination.

Implications of Expungement

Expungement of a protective order in Creek County carries significant legal implications. Some of these may include:

  1. Removal of Stigma: Expungement allows individuals to move forward without the stigma we often associate with a past protective order.
  2. Access to Employment and Housing: Expungement may enhance opportunities for employment, housing, and other aspects of life by removing barriers posed by the existence of a protective order on public records.
  3. Legal Obligations: Expungement does not necessarily relieve individuals of legal obligations, such as child support or other court-ordered provisions associated with the protective order.
  4. Scope Limitations: Expungement typically applies to public records, but certain entities, such as law enforcement agencies and courts, may retain access to expunged information for specific purposes.

When taking these into consideration, you should consult with an expungement lawyer. They will be able to guide you through the process, as well as file all the appropriate forms. Doing this on your own could prolong the process, or result in significant errors that could cost you.

Creek County Expungement Lawyers

Expunging a protective order in Creek County provides individuals with an opportunity to overcome the burdens of past legal proceedings and move forward with their lives. However, the expungement process is governed by specific legal requirements and procedures. Thus, necessitating careful consideration and compliance. By understanding the eligibility criteria, procedural steps, and implications of expungement, individuals can navigate the process effectively and pursue a fresh start free from the constraints of past protective orders.

Our Creek County expungement lawyers have seen every instance of expungements, including protective order ones. We will walk you through the process step by step, ensuring the protection of your rights. From the beginning when we file the petition, to the final hearing, we have your back. For a free and confidential consultation, call our Creek County Attorneys now at 918-209-3709, or reach us through our Ask A Lawyer page.