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OK Senate Approves Bill Requiring Criminal Background Checks

Legislation that would require public candidates to disclose if they have a criminal background is one step closer to being signed into law, as the Oklahoma Senate voted 43-0 for the measure on March 11 and sent it to the House for consideration. According to those in support of the bill, the public has a …

Legislation that would require public candidates to disclose if they have a criminal background is one step closer to being signed into law, as the Oklahoma Senate voted 43-0 for the measure on March 11 and sent it to the House for consideration. According to those in support of the bill, the public has a right to know if a candidate has been in trouble with the law in the past. Although the measure is not yet official, anyone can see the impact Senate Bill 287 could have on those with a criminal record who wish to serve in elected office in Oklahoma. If you have been arrested for a crime in Oklahoma and you are facing a misdemeanor or felony conviction, consult our reputable criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center today to discuss your possible defense options.

How Senate Bill 287 Could Affect You

The proposed bill, authored by Senator Susan Paddack of Ada, Oklahoma, would require additional information to be declared on public candidacy forms, instead of current forms that ask little more than a candidate’s name, age, address and what office they are seeking. Among other things, the proposed legislation would require individuals seeking public office to disclose if they have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, or if they are currently named in an outstanding warrant for arrest in any state. Candidates would also be required to name the offense, list the date of the conviction, and include the date when their ability to run for office was restored if they were temporarily restricted from doing so.

Bringing Transparency to Public Office

“Those who seek and serve in elected office are held to a higher standard, as they should be,” said Paddack in a news release. “They have a position of power in our communities and our state, and they have the responsibility of making and examining the rules and laws all of us must follow. Because of this position of power and trust, I believe it is in the public’s interest to know from the start whether a candidate is a law-abiding citizen or whether they have a criminal record.” According to Paddack, the state of Oklahoma currently requires more information from individuals seeking gubernatorial appointments than from candidates for public office.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help

As Paddack and other Oklahoma officials seek to bring more transparency to positions of public office, it is important that individuals throughout the state recognize how severely a felony or misdemeanor conviction on their criminal record could affect their future, particularly those who wish to seek positions in public office. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Oklahoma, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of our qualified criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center. Our law firm is located in Oklahoma City, and our lawyers have extensive experience protecting the legal rights of individuals charged with criminal offenses throughout the state.

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