Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making the Move

In order to offer our readers a more professional blog, we have moved to wordpress.  Our entries at blogspot will remain active for 2012.  Please visit our new blog located at www.normanokattorneyblog.com

Thanks to all our valuable readers.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tabula Rasa


Expungement of Protective Orders, Removal of Protective Order Record from Public View
Expungement of VPO records
Restraining Orders
Victim’s Protective Orders

An ex-girlfriend files a protective order out of spite.  You endure the humiliating experience of being served the paperwork.  She has no intention of seeing it through and never even shows for court, so the action is dismissed by the Judge.   Unfortunately, despite the dismissal, a record of this event remains easily accessible to the public.  Even if the action was completely frivolous, anyone can find the information and form an impression that you have a history of violent, harassing and/or stalking behavior.
Over 50% of all Protective Order Petitions filed in Cleveland County are dismissed – either due to the Petitioner’s failure to appear in court or because the Judge decides to dismiss the Petition.   
An old Protective Order filing, even if dismissed, can come back to haunt you.  When attempting to purchase a firearm, gain employment, child custody, adoption, or admittance to an educational institution, this record may appear and require explanation. 
Call the Law Office of Cindy Allen to discuss expunging the Protective Order record and protecting your good name.
Oklahoma Statute Title 22 Section 60.18 - Expungement of Victim Protective Orders states:

A. Persons authorized to file a motion for expungement of victim protective orders (VPOs) issued pursuant to the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act in this state must be within one of the following categories:

1. An ex parte order was issued to the plaintiff but later terminated due to dismissal of the petition before the full hearing, or denial of the petition upon full hearing, or failure of the plaintiff to appear for full hearing, and at least ninety (90) days have passed since the date set for full hearing;

2. The plaintiff filed an application for a victim protective order and failed to appear for the full hearing and at least ninety (90) days have passed since the date last set by the court for the full hearing, including the last date set for any continuance, postponement or rescheduling of the hearing;
3. The plaintiff or defendant has had the order vacated and three (3) years have passed since the order to vacate was entered; or

4. The plaintiff or defendant is deceased.

B. For purposes of this section:
1. "Expungement" means the sealing of victim protective order (VPO) court records from public inspection, but not from law enforcement agencies, the court or the district attorney;

2. "Plaintiff" means the person or persons who sought the original victim protective order (VPO) for cause; and

3. "Defendant" means the person or persons to whom the victim protective order (VPO) was directed.
C. 1. Any person qualified under subsection A of this section may petition the district court of the district in which the protective order pertaining to the person is located for the expungement and sealing of the court records from public inspection. The face of the petition shall state whether the defendant in the protective order has been convicted of any violation of the protective order and whether any prosecution or complaint is pending in this state or any other state for a violation or alleged violation of the protective order that is sought to be expunged. The petition shall further state the authority pursuant to subsection A of this section for eligibility for requesting the expungement. The other party to the protective order shall be mailed a copy of the petition by certified mail within ten (10) days of filing the petition. A written answer or objection may be filed within thirty (30) days of receiving the notice and petition.

2. Upon the filing of a petition, the court shall set a date for a hearing and shall provide at least a thirty-day notice of the hearing to all parties to the protective order, the district attorney, and any other person or agency whom the court has reason to believe may have relevant information related to the sealing of the victim protective order (VPO) court record.

3. Without objection from the other party to the victim protective order (VPO) or upon a finding that the harm to the privacy of the person in interest or dangers of unwarranted adverse consequences outweigh the public and safety interests of the parties to the protective order in retaining the records, the court may order the court record, or any part thereof, to be sealed from public inspection. Any order entered pursuant to this section shall not limit or restrict any law enforcement agency, the district attorney or the court from accessing said records without the necessity of a court order. Any order entered pursuant to this subsection may be appealed by any party to the protective order or by the district attorney to the Oklahoma Supreme Court in accordance with the rules of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

4. Upon the entry of an order to expunge and seal from public inspection a victim protective order (VPO) court record, or any part thereof, the subject official actions shall be deemed never to have occurred, and the persons in interest and the public may properly reply, upon any inquiry in the matter, that no such action ever occurred and that no such record exists with respect to the persons.
5. Inspection of the protective order court records included in the expungement order issued pursuant to this section may thereafter be permitted only upon petition by the persons in interest who are the subjects of the records or without petition by the district attorney or a law enforcement agency in the due course of investigation of a crime.

6. Employers, educational institutions, state and local government agencies, officials, and employees shall not require, in any application or interview or otherwise, an applicant to disclose any information contained in sealed protective order court records. An applicant need not, in answer to any question concerning the records, provide information that has been sealed, including any reference to or information concerning the sealed information and may state that no such action has ever occurred. The application may not be denied solely because of the refusal of the applicant to disclose protective order court records information that has been sealed.

7. The provisions of this section shall apply to all protective order court records existing in the district courts of this state on, before and after the effective date of this section.

8. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the physical destruction of any court records, except as otherwise provided by law for records no longer required to be maintained by the court.

9. For the purposes of this section, sealed materials which are recorded in the same document as unsealed material may be recorded in a separate document, and sealed, then obliterated in the original document.

10. For the purposes of this act, district court index reference of sealed material shall be destroyed, removed or obliterated.

11. Any record ordered to be sealed pursuant to this section may be obliterated or destroyed at the end of the ten-year period.

12. Nothing herein shall prohibit the introduction of evidence regarding actions sealed pursuant to the provisions of this section at any hearing or trial for purposes of impeaching the credibility of a witness or as evidence of character testimony pursuant to Section 2608 of Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

There are many nuances in expungement law.  Contact the Law Office of Cindy Allen to discuss more fully your eligibility for expungement of your protective order record.