Expunging Misdemeanor and Felony Records
Are you still paying the consequences for a stupid mistake you made a few years back? We’ve all done things without thinking, and it can be a real blessing when we’ve learned the error of our way without hurting someone else or facing criminal charges. A criminal record, of any kind, can make it difficult to find the job you want, to get credit, to live in a nice apartment and even to qualify for assistance with higher education. Fortunately, in Texas, the expungement process is available for many types of records. With expungement, you seek to erase or limit access to certain criminal records. Records that are expunged are no longer accessible by employers and others. In most instances, you can even tell others that you were never arrested or charged (except when you are testifying under oath).
Now that you’re interested, you probably have some questions—
- How do you expunge a criminal record in Texas?
- Are there restrictions on the types of records that can be expunged?
- What types of records may be expunged?
- How do I know if I qualify for expungement
Here are the situations in Texas where you can have prior criminal records expunged:
- You were found guilty of a crime at trial, but the conviction was overturned or you were pardoned
- You were charged, but the prosecutor or the court dismissed the case and the statute of limitations has expired
- You were not formally charged, but only detained or arrested, and you have completed the statutory waiting period
- You were arrested and charged and your case went to trial, where you were acquitted
Expungement is available for both misdemeanors and felonies in Texas. For felonies, if you were detained or arrested, but not charged, you must wait at least three years from the date or your arrest to request expungement. For a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, the waiting period is one year. Class C misdemeanors may not be expunged until 180 days (6 months) have passed.
How Much Will It Cost to Expunge My Criminal Record?
As a general rule, it costs more to expunge a felony than a misdemeanor. The expungement of a felony will customarily cost a minimum of $1,000, but may cost upwards of $2,500 or even more. Misdemeanors can usually be expunged for $1,000 or less.
How Quickly Can I Expect the Expungement Process to Be Completed?
When you file a petition to have a criminal record expunged, you’ll first have to appear before the court. That hearing usually comes about a month after your filing. The court may grant the expungement at the hearing, but it can take upwards of six months for the decision to be registered.
If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may still be able to limit access to your criminal records by seeking an “order of non-disclosure” with the court. This seals your criminal record from the general public while making it available on a very limited basis to specific governmental agencies.
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.