Posted By Ed Chernoff on Aug 29, 2012 12:29pm PDT
Back in the day, there wasn’t as much concern from clients about erasing their criminal record. This was especially true when the case had been dismissed. The client felt comfortable with a notation of dismissal, since he felt the result was all that really mattered. As the years progressed, more and more clients became concerned about the traces left by their arrest, charge and prosecution. What accounts for the difference in attitude?The damage from a criminal record hasn’t changed through the years. It effects nearly every dream a person has: jobs, housing, licenses and relationships. This was true in the 80’s as is it is today. What has changed, however, is the ease and speed by which criminal information can be obtained. An employer no longer has to take a trip down to the District Clerk’s office or pay a large fee to an investigative agency to look into someone’s criminal background. This information is now instantaneous and cheap. It literally takes the click of a mouse.Technology has reached the point where a single thumb drive can contain a hundred thousand individual criminal records. Back in the 80’s when I worked in the District Attorney’s Office, it was entirely possible not to be fully aware of a defendant’s criminal record. This was especially so when the culprit had out of state charges. That has ended.
Now, I have many clients come to me because they were denied credit or refused an apartment lease as a result of a past criminal record. Because of the ease in obtaining this information, I can see it being used in all sorts of decisions. Marriage agreements? Day Care approval? And these organizations may not care whether the case was ultimately dismissed. In this day and age there is a “better safe than sorry” mentality.
In Texas, a felony case is not necessarily expungable, even after a dismissal. Unlike other States, a deferred adjudication is not eligible for an expunction. (Although some relief may be granted under the non-disclosure statute.) The best course of action is to give us a call at Chernoff Law and let us investigate the possibility of erasing your record. Who knows? In three months, you may be celebrating a clean criminal record once again!