Expunction of Criminal Record
Do you have the right to an expunction?
According to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 55.01, a person arrested and charged with a crime is eligible for an expunction of the case in Texas if any of the following situations has occurred:
- He was acquitted at trial,
- Convicted but pardoned;
- Dismissal of misdemeanor or felony based on mistake, false information or similar reason;
- Indictment no-bill,
- Completion of Pretrial Diversion or veterans program.
Of course, like everything else in life, rules don’t always apply. In practice, the District Attorney’s office and various law enforcement agencies may agree to expunctions even if the statute is not strictly applicable. It is best to speak with a lawyer who prosecutes expunctions in order to see if it is worth it for you to apply.
Effect of an Expunction
An expunction requires a lawsuit in District Civil Court. The lawsuit alleges eligibility for an expunction under the statute and notices each and every entity that created or stored a record of the petitioner’s arrest, charge or legal process through the criminal justice system. This always includes the District Attorney’s office, the District or County clerk, the Department of Public Safety and the law enforcement agency that arrested the petitioner. Other agencies must be served as well and if the criminal lawyer who files the lawsuit does not notice these agencies, then the records of these agencies will not be expunged despite an order of expungement.
After all parties answer the lawsuit, a hearing is scheduled in the District Court. Upon granting of the expunction, the District Court orders each noticed agency to destroy all evidence of any contact, arrest, charge or notation involving the Petitioner for the particular eligible case.
Essentially, what this means is that so far as the government is concerned, the charge and case never happened. In fact, the petitioner can legally claim that he was never arrested and charged. It is important to remember that not all individuals who have records of your arrest and charge are government entities. There are hundreds of data gathering private companies who may have a record of your charge. Further steps must be taken to clean these records.
Can I Expunge a Deferred Adjudication?
The short answer is no. However, The Texas Legislature may change this in the next few years. Currently, the only way to address your record of a deferred adjudication is through a Petition for Non-Disclosure. This process is completely different than expunction, including the court in which it is filed.
Clearing Your Criminal Record for Life
Often times, I’ll ask a jury panel if they are proud of the fact that they have no criminal record. Everyone readily agrees with the importance of maintaining a clean record. Even one smudge on a criminal report follows you throughout life and causes significant financial harm, personal loss and embarrassment. These days, every employer asks about your criminal record. In fact, every employer checks a potential employee’s criminal record since it is so easy and inexpensive to do so with the advent of internet applications. A criminal conviction can affect your ability to obtain employment, education, credit and financial assistance. Many apartment complexes will not rent an apartment to someone with a record.
The consequences of having a criminal record will last with you as long as the criminal record exists. The process of entirely removing a person’s criminal record is called an expungement. An expunction is a powerful remedy. Immediately upon issuance of the District Judge’s order to expunge, it becomes illegal for anyone to disclose your record. All agencies who had any contact with you during the arrest, charging process, prosecution, bonding or booking must completely destroy all trace of your existence in their system . If you are eligible to expunge your criminal record, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney specializing in criminal record expungement like the lawyers at Chernoff Law.
If having a criminal record is adversely affecting your life, it is imperative that you speak with our firm about criminal record expungement. Our founding partner will be able to discuss your criminal record with you and explore the possibility of erasing your embarrassing and undesirable past. We are dedicated to achieving criminal record expungement for our qualifying clients. We invite you to contact our firm at once to discuss the process of criminal record expungement.
Having your criminal record removed through criminal record expungement is the first step in moving beyond your past, but the process can be challenging and complicated. Some record events cannot be expunged. It may be that the only resolution available to scrub your record will be for a Petition for Non-Disclosure. A criminal defense lawyer from our firm will be able to assist you through this daunting legal process and help you attain criminal record expungement. Our legal team is here to assist you with criminal record expungement and will fight on your behalf to remove and destroy a criminal record that is holding you back in life.