A criminal record can follow you throughout your life, causing you to struggle to get hired for jobs, find reasonable housing, or to afford simple necessities like auto insurance.
Criminal arrests are public record, and anyone has the ability to discover that you have faced legal issues in the past most of whom will jump to conclusions about your character even if your issue occurred years ago and you have long since paid your dues. However, your mistakes should not have to follow you like a shadow for the rest of your life.
Fortunately, the State of Texas offers the opportunity for a clean slate under certain circumstances. Expunction is a legal process by which the court erases events from your criminal record. If you are granted an expunction, the legal blemish will no longer appear on your public record and you can legally deny that the event ever occurred.
This legal relief is not available to anyone who has been arrested or charged with a crime, though, and there are very specific circumstances in which a court may be willing to grant an expunction.
Arrest for a crime that was never charged If you were arrested for a crime, but never actually charged for any reason, the arrest will still go on your criminal record. You can seek an expunction to remove the record of that arrest ever occurring.
Criminal charge that was dismissed If criminal charges are filed against you and the case goes to trial and you win, or if the case is dismissed before it even goes to trial, you can have any evidence of the arrest or charges expunged from your record.
Juvenile offenses In general, most offenses committed by kids under the age of 17 can be granted an expunction. This is generally reserved for misdemeanors, convictions of Failure to Attend School, and certain alcohol related offenses like underage drinking.
Arrest, charge, or conviction due to identity theft If your identity is stolen, and the thief commits crimes with your identity, and you are subsequently arrested, charged, or even convicted of those crimes as a result, you do not deserve to have those legal actions on your record since they were actually committed by someone else. If the identity thief is arrested, charged, or convicted of the crime you should be able to receive an expunction.
Acquittal on appeal If you were convicted of a crime, and subsequently won an appeal in the Criminal Court of Appeals or trial court that resulted in your acquittal, you can have the conviction and other associated legal black marks removed from your criminal record via expunction.
Convicted and pardoned Under most circumstances, if you are convicted of a crime and later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States, you might be able to have the record of your conviction expunged.
Keep in mind, even if you fulfill one of the above criteria, it is not a guarantee that you will be granted an expunction. Certain crimes, such as sexual assault, are never eligible for expunction. Neither will the court grant an expunction to an adult who received deferred adjudication or probation and was convicted of a felony in the past five years. Finally, expunction of felonies that were dismissed cannot occur until after the alleged crime’s statute of limitations has expired.
The Medlin Law Firm can fight to have your record expunged so you can receive a clean slate. Don’t let criminal issues in your past impact your for the rest of your life. Give us a call and let us help!