Does An Expungement Cover Disciplinary Records?
Can I Expunge A Disciplinary Action?
Today we take a look at whether or not you can expunge previous disciplinary actions issued by a state agency. This question was submitted to the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office (AG) for clarification. On occasion, the AG's Office will receive requests regarding interpretations in the law. The questions deemed worthy of answering receive a written legal opinion.
The legal issue regarding this AG Opinion examines a narrow part of the expungement statute. Section 18(B) of the Oklahoma expungement statute states, 'expungement' shall mean the sealing of criminal records, as well as any public civil record, involving actions brought by or against the State of Oklahoma arising from the same arrest, transaction or occurrence." Because the statute says "civil record" questions exist regarding whether or not these records are eligible for expungement.
Here Is An Example Of What We Wanted To Happen
Let's say you are a licensed nurse in Tulsa. If you received a DUI, there is a good chance the Oklahoma Nursing Board will censure due to the DUI. Ideally, you would hire Tulsa Expungement Attorney Clint James to defend you in your criminal case. After the criminal case, when you are eligible for an expungement, we could expunge your Tulsa criminal case AND your disciplinary issue as well. This would leave you with a completely clear record of the criminal courts and your professional license as well. This is the ideal situation. Unfortunately, this is not what actually happened.
What Actually Happened With This Attorney General Opinion
Unfortunately, the Oklahoma AG's Office interpreted this question to mean that civil administrative records are not within the expungement statute. The AG's Office first examined the use of the word "civil" and whether or not that term was broad enough to include administrative records. Which, they found it did not. This was justified by using the language from another statute which states the Oklahoma Insurance Department has the authority to "prosecute any civil or administrative department." This distinction is what the AG's Office relied upon to draw a line between civil and administrative bodies and records.
Because the AG's Office took several other statutes into consideration, consistency throughout other statutes became a consideration. Other statutes, specifically those governing the State Board of Medical Licensure, require disciplinary records to be publically available pursuant to the Open Meeting Act. This means the disciplinary records are treated differently from other civil records.
The AG's Office summarized the decision as follows, "In sum, we find that the term "civil records," as used in the context of Sections 18 and 19 of Title 22, refers to records of legal proceedings in the State's civil court system and not to records of disciplinary action taken by the State's licensing agencies. Having reached this conclusion, we need not address your second question involving the potential implications of requiring State licensing agencies to comply with an expungement order."
What Can Be Expunged?
Our Tulsa Expungement Attorney and our Oklahoma City Expungement Attorney CAN expunge records of arrests, plea bargains, traffic tickets, and drivers license appeals. If you need help expunging these records contact Clint James at 918-409-0417 or Bob Wyatt at 405-232-0000.