O.J. Simpson is one step closer to being a free man ... his official parole hearing date has been set for July 20.
A rep for the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners has confirmed the date and says if things go well, Simpson could be released as early as October 1.
Simpson will not attend the hearing in person -- he will be videoconferenced in from the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada.
69-year-old Simpson was arrested in 2007 on several armed robbery and kidnapping charges after stealing sports memorabilia from a Vegas hotel room. He was convicted in 2008 and has been locked up ever since.
He was sentenced to 33 years in prison, with the eligibility for parole after 9 years.