Use the Texas Expungement Process to Seal Criminal Records
What’s your New Year’s resolution? A better job or a new place to live? A return to school, so that you have better job skills? When you have a criminal record hanging over your head, those can be unreachable goals. When you have to report a prior conviction on a job or apartment application, it can really limit your options. In addition, a criminal record can disqualify you for some types of student financial aid. What if you could do something to remove that blemish from your past? Under the Texas expungement law, you may be able to do just that.
What is Expungement?
An expungement in Texas is the permanent removal of information about an arrest, charge or conviction from a person’s criminal record. If an expungement is granted by the court, the information is removed from the record and the person obtaining the expungement can legally deny that the arrest, charge or conviction ever occurred.
Expungement is available in Texas on a limited basis. You can never expunge a conviction, unless the conviction resulted from identity theft, the conviction was subsequently overturned on appeal or you received a pardon from the Governor or the President.
The records related to the following events are generally available for expunction:
- Arrest for any crime for which the person was not formally charged
- Any criminal charge (misdemeanor or felony) that was dismissed and not re-charged (although your record will not be expunged if the statute of limitations has not yet expired)
- Qualifying misdemeanor juvenile crimes
- Some alcohol offenses involving minors
- Conviction for not attending school
In addition, you will not qualify for expungement if you have received deferred adjudication or probation, or if you have been convicted of a felony within five years of the event you want expunged.
How to Apply for and Get Your Record Expunged
Obviously, the first step is to look at the statute and make certain you qualify. You must than file a Petition for Expunction in the district court. The petition includes information identifying you, documents the offense charged and identifies when the alleged offense took place. You also need to notify the court of the identity of the arresting officer and department, as well as any agency or entity that has a record of the arrest. If you were charged, you’ll also need to identity which court heard your case, the docket number of the case, the final resolution, and the date the matter was resolved. All this information must be notarized and submitted to the court.
As a general rule, your application for expungement will be filed with the same court in which the original criminal matter was heard. Once you file your petition, the court will schedule a hearing, and will provide notice to all interested parties, including arresting agencies, who can then come to the hearing and give testimony regarding the requested expunction.
Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.