How to Know If You Are Eligible for an Expunction (Expungement) in Texas
Having a criminal record can have a detrimental impact on your life. Such consequences range from social to financial. They include limited access to loans, higher insurance premiums, your ability to access apartments, and limited employment opportunities. Not to mention your reputation.
Fortunately, in Texas, the legislation offers individuals with your predicament a leeway. By using it, you can have your records sealed or erased. However, it’s important to note that the ability to get your criminal record deleted or sealed is governed by state law rather than the constitution.
An expunction in Texas is given to individuals arrested or charged with a criminal offense wrongly; if granted, the person can deny that the arrest ever happened. With an expunction, all government records of arrest and prosecution will be destroyed.
Expunctions are the most effective way to remove a criminal record in Texas, but not everyone is eligible. Read on to find out if you are eligible for an expunction.
The Eligibility Requirements for an Expunction in Texas
While the option for the expunction of criminal records exists, not everyone with a criminal record is eligible. Some of the requirements you must meet to qualify for an expunction in Texas include:
- You were arrested but not charged with a crime
- The charges against you were dismissed
- You were found not guilty of the charges against you
- Your case was no-billed by the grand jury
If you do not meet the above criteria, there are other options available that may help clean your criminal record, including:
- Orders of Non-Disclosure
- Deferred Adjudication
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. They’ll help you navigate your options and determine if you are eligible for an expunction.
Procedure for Expunction in Texas
If you meet the eligibility requirements for an expunction in Texas, the process to have your criminal record erased is as follows:
- You must file a petition for expunction in the court where you were charged
- The district attorney’s office will be given notice of your petition, and they will have an opportunity to object
- If there are no objections, there’ll be a hearing, and the judge will determine whether or not to grant your request
- If your petition is granted, the court will issue an order of expunction
Once you have been granted an expunction, it is important to understand that while your criminal record will be erased, there are some exceptions. These include:
- You can still be required to disclose your criminal history on a job or licensing application if the law requires it
- You may still have to disclose your criminal history if you are running for public office
- You can still be required to disclose your criminal history if you are applying for a job in law enforcement, as a peace officer, or with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
- A judge can still consider your prior criminal record when sentencing you for a new offense
Crimes That Cannot Be Expunged in Texas
Some crimes cannot be expunged in Texas, no matter how long ago they occurred or how minor they may seem. These include:
- Indecency with a child
- Violation of a protective order
- Unlawful restraint
- Aggravated assault
- Violent crimes
- Certain sex offenses
If you have been convicted of one of the above crimes, you will not be eligible for an expunction.
However, other options may be available to you, such as a pardon or an order of non-disclosure. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options and determine the best course of action for your unique situation.
When an Expungement May Not Be Right for You
Even if you are eligible for an expunction, there are some situations when it may not be the right decision for you.
For example, if you have been arrested for a crime but have not yet been convicted, an expunction may not be right for you. This is because if you are later convicted of the same crime, the expunction will be reversed, and your criminal record will become public again.
Additionally, if you seek employment in a field requiring background checks, such as law enforcement or teaching, an expunction may not be right for you. This is because while you may erase your criminal record, you may still have to disclose your criminal history on a job application.
If you are unsure whether or not an expunction is right for you, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your unique situation.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you are eligible for an expunction, erasing your criminal record can be complex. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and ensure your rights are protected.
An attorney can also help you understand your options if you are not eligible for an expunction. There may be other options available to you, such as a pardon or an order of non-disclosure. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options and determine the best course of action for your unique situation.
How Much Will an Expungement Cost in Texas?
The cost of an expunction in Texas will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. However, you can expect to pay court fees, attorney fees, and other costs associated with the expungement process.
In some cases, a judge may waive your court fees if you cannot afford to pay them.
How Long Does It Take?
The amount of time it takes to expunge a criminal record in Texas will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. However, you can expect the process to take several months.
If you are seeking employment and need your criminal record erased as soon as possible, you may be able to request an expedited hearing.
Get Your Records Expunged by Starr Law, P.C. Criminal Defense Attorneys
An expunction is a powerful tool that can help you move on from your past and put your criminal record behind you. If you think you may be eligible, seek legal counsel and support.
At Starr Law, P.C., our experienced criminal defense attorneys have helped countless clients expunge their criminal records. We understand the laws surrounding expunctions and can help you navigate the legal process.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation to see how we can help you.