Expungement in Texas: Getting Your Criminal Records Sealed

PrisonStarting over can be challenge for anyone who has been charged or convicted of a crime. Even after you have worked hard to pay your dues, a criminal record can cause complications in your effort to rehabilitate your reputation.

In Texas, you will find that having a criminal record can be difficult when you are looking to pursue new prospects, especially when it comes to employment, education, and other similar opportunities. This is when record expungement comes in.

What is record expungement?

Fortunately, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure provides certain individuals with the legal option to have their records sealed. Anyone eligible for expungement can file a petition to have their criminal records cleared or sealed away. This provides them the option to keep records away from future employers, proprietors, and anyone else who might be inclined to do a background check on you.

As David A. Nachtigall explains, “For all practical purposes, there are two ways to remove criminal history information – a petition for expunction or a petition for nondisclosure”. Talk to your lawyer to find out which approach is applicable to your case.

Who is eligible for expunction?

Undergoing this process gives you the best chance to start with a clean slate. Not everyone is eligible for this opportunity, though. It would be more prudent to speak with a criminal defense attorney to learn more about the nuances of the expunction process.

Record expungement is usually only applicable for certain type of cases. You can file for expunction if you have been wrongfully convicted, pardoned, or arrested without being convicted. Acquittals, dismissals, and certain juvenile offenses are also eligible for expunction.

What do you need to file for expunction?

Unless you were acquitted, pardoned, or wrongfully convicted, you have to satisfy a waiting period before you can file a petition to have your record sealed. This will all depend on the particular details of your criminal record. A Class C misdemeanor will require you to wait a total of 180 days, while the waiting period for Class A or a Class B will last for a year. A felony charge will require you to wait for 3 years. All waiting periods start from the date of your arrest.

Going through the process of record expungement can be a helpful choice, allowing an opportunity to start over after serving your time. If you believe that filing for expunction can be beneficial for you, do not hesitate to reach out to a Houston defense lawyer for more information.