Criminal Record Expunction In Texas: What To Know About Clearing Your Record
Good people can sometimes do bad things, or make a mistake that creates a criminal record. Even a seemingly minor mishap can lead to an arrest, charge, or conviction. These become part of the public record and can haunt a person for years down the road. Some consequences of an arrest, charge, or even a juvenile offense can include problems with:
- Applying for jobs
- Applying for bank loans
- College applications and scholarship applications
- Applications for housing and apartments
This is true even if charges were eventually dropped – the stain of the arrest can remain for years. It’s not fair, but sometimes a lone incident can lead to a multitude of problems and deprive someone of important opportunities in life.
Fortunately, Texas law recognizes this and provides an opportunity for individuals to clear up their records in certain situations through a process called expunction. An expunction is a judicial order that certain records regarding an arrest be destroyed, or sent back to the District Clerk for destruction. While many convictions cannot be wiped from a person’s record completely, information about an arrest, charge, or conviction (in some instances) can be removed from permanent records if they meet certain criteria. This can allow a person to move on with their life as if the incident never occurred.
Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines the arrests and offenses that can qualify for expunction in Texas. Criminal records eligible for expunction include:
- Arrests that never led to formal charges;
- Criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed;
- Arrests and charges resulting in acquittal or not-guilty verdicts;
- Conviction of a minor regarding certain alcohol-related offenses;
- Arrests, charges, or convictions due to identity theft, where another individual was eventually charged or convicted of the crime;
- Truancy convictions for juveniles;
- Certain other misdemeanor juvenile offenses.
To have these records cleared, you will need to follow certain procedures and obtain an Order of Expunction. In some situations where expunction is not available due to the nature of the offense, it may still be possible to obtain an Order for Nondisclosure. The Nondisclosure Order does not destroy all records of the offense, but it does limit public accessibility of the information. For example, this may prevent a landlord from seeing an offense you were charged with years ago, and denying your application because of it. However, the Order for Nondisclosure does not prevent a government agency or court from reviewing the records and potentially holding them against you.
If you or a family member believe that an Expunction may be appropriate, the first step is to file a Petition for Expunction with the District Court that houses any records of the arrest. This is a critical step, and any errors could delay or even prevent you from obtaining the relief that you seek. An attorney that has obtained expunctions for others in the Pearland, Texas area can guide you through this process and make sure each step is taken correctly. Ultimately, this can result in a clear record and better opportunities for you in the future.
Contact a Pearland, Texas Defense Attorney To Discuss Expunction Options
Sometimes, a mistake made in the past can follow a person for years through adulthood – fair or not – due to a mark on your criminal record. Everyone deserves a second chance to move on from the past and set the record straight. If you were arrested or charged with an offense and believe you may be qualified for an Order of Expunction, don’t hesitate to take action today – talk to a qualified Pearland criminal defense attorney who will make your voice heard in the justice system. Contact the offices of Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today online or call 832-243-6153 to evaluate your options and discuss your next steps.