Pearland Criminal Record Expunction/Expungement Lawyer
Everyone makes mistakes. In an ideal world, the criminal justice system would reflect that understanding: Even if someone commits a crime, once they serve their time and pay their dues, they should be given a clean slate. In practice, even a criminal arrest can haunt a person for decades, making it tough to get an apartment, buy a house, get a loan, attend a university, or get a job. Moreover, many people do not even know that arrests can stay on your record for years, even if the charges were dropped. Thankfully, Texas law allows for certain criminal records to be cleared away. If you are eligible for expunction, you can approach employers, banks, and other parties as if you never had an arrest in the first place.
Keith B. French Law believes in second chances. Attorney Keith B. French believes that being arrested for a crime should not derail your life. The Firm’s Pearland expunction lawyer will work with you to wipe your record clean where possible, whether that means expunction/expungement, record sealing, or obtaining an order of nondisclosure.
What Is Expunction?
In Texas, there are two separate processes for removing criminal records from public view. Obtaining an order for nondisclosure will seal your records from the public, which means that potential landlords, employers, and other interested parties will never see your criminal record even if they conduct a background check. Nondisclosure orders are a relatively recent addition to Texas law and are available for certain cases of deferred adjudication.
Expunction, also called expungement, is a legal process that causes the record of an arrest or conviction to be completely wiped clean. When a court orders your record expunged, it will be as if you were never arrested in the first place. Your name will be fully cleared from any taint of the arrest.
Records That Can Be Expunged or Sealed
Not all records can be expunged under Texas law. Whether a record can be expunged depends on the nature of the crime, the legal process that occurred, how much time has passed, and the nature of the defendant. Most criminal convictions other than Class C misdemeanors cannot generally be expunged. The following types of criminal records are eligible for expunction in Texas:
- Arrests in which a person was released without charge
- Arrests and charges resulting in acquittal, including acquittal on appeal
- Charges that were dismissed, except for deferred adjudications of most crimes
- Deferred adjudications of Class C misdemeanors
- Charges that resulted in not guilty verdicts
- Arrests, charges, or convictions of a party by mistake due to identity theft by another individual who is rightfully prosecuted for the crime
- Convictions that have been pardoned by the governor of Texas or the U.S. president
- Convictions of a minor for certain alcohol offenses
- Convictions for Failure to Attend School
- Certain other qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offenses
Certain additional factors dictate whether eligible records can be expunged. For example, a felony charge cannot be expunged, even if dismissed, if the statute of limitations for the felony has not yet expired (meaning that the state still has time to charge the defendant again for the same crime). If a person is acquitted for one charge but was charged and convicted for related offenses, the record of the acquitted arrest cannot be expunged. Talk to the knowledgeable Pearland criminal defense lawyer at Keith B. French Law to find out if your criminal records are eligible for expunction.
Deferred Adjudication and Nondisclosure
An order of nondisclosure prohibits public entities including courts and police departments from disclosing certain criminal records. Defendants, especially juveniles, charged with minor or first-time offenses may be placed on “deferred adjudication” rather than sentenced to jail or prison. Deferred adjudication is a form of probation that allows a defendant to satisfy certain terms, including avoiding criminal conduct for a specified period. If they successfully complete the terms of their probation, the charges will be dismissed. Defendants who violate the terms of their probation can be convicted and sentenced based on the original crime committed.
Records of successful deferred adjudications resulting in dismissal can be sealed under an order of nondisclosure. Certain crimes, such as sex crimes and domestic violence, cannot be protected by an order of nondisclosure even if deferred adjudication dismissal is obtained. Additionally, defendants must not have certain offenses already listed in their criminal records. Talk to a seasoned criminal defense attorney to learn about deferred adjudication and whether your records can be sealed or expunged.
Wipe the Slate Clean With Help from Expunction Lawyer Keith B. French Jr.
If you have been arrested for a crime and are looking to clear your record in Pearland, contact Keith B. French Law, PLLC. Attorney Keith B. French makes sure everyday Americans get the same opportunities and chances to start over as do the wealthy elite. The Firm represents defendants arrested and charged with all manner of crimes, and work to make sure your arrest does not follow you for life. Call Keith B. French Law today for a free consultation and find out how the Firm can protect your rights, your freedom, and your future.