When Can Expungement Be Pursued? What Are the Requirements to Expunge a Criminal Record?
We all make mistakes. Often, we’re able to acknowledge those errors in judgment and move forward with relative impunity. In some situations, though, the consequences of a single lapse in judgment can haunt of for years, or even the rest of our lives. Take a criminal charge, for example. When you have a criminal record of any kind, you can find it difficult to get a good job, enjoy certain educational benefits or find a decent place to live. You may be an upstanding citizen in every way, but pay a price for something you did when you were young and your brain wasn’t fully developed. That’s one of the reasons Texas allows for the expungement of certain types of criminal records.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement (also occasionally referred to as “expunction”) is a legal process that essentially involves erasing or removing a criminal record from a state or federal files. In the state of Texas, there are two ways to remove a criminal record:
- Non-disclosure, where information about any offenses is “blacked out” of the public records and therefore unavailable to individuals
- Expungement, where any and all evidence of a criminal act is totally removed from the record
When a Texas court orders the expungement of a criminal record, anyone holding any such records must physically destroy them. A non-disclosure order seals the records, but does not require their destruction.
How Do You Qualify to Have a Criminal Record Expunged?
To be eligible for expungement, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You never had criminal charges filed against you (you may have been detained and held, creating a record)
- You were charged and convicted, but acquitted on appeal
- You were convicted, but later determined to be innocent
- Charges were initially filed against you, but were later dismissed
- You were arrested, but never prosecuted (the prosecutor must approve the expungement)
- You made a successful plea bargain
- A grand jury failed to indict you
- Your only criminal convictions were for misdemeanors while you were a minor
- You have been pardoned by the governor or President of the United States
As a general rule, if you have been charged and convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, or with a felony, you can only ask the court for a non-disclosure order. Your criminal record may not be expunged.
How Soon Can You Seek an Expungement in Texas?
All offenses have a mandatory waiting period before a qualified individual can ask for an expungement. With Class C misdemeanors, you must wait at least six months. With Class A and Class B misdemeanors, the waiting period is one year. All felony charges require that you wait three to five years before seeking expungement.
Contact the Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the fear and anxiety that you can experience when under investigation for or charged with a crime. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the criminal laws and procedures in Texas and will use our skill, knowledge, experience and resources to protect your constitutional rights. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective criminal defense lawyer, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.