Fort Worth Expunction Lawyer
Criminal records come with some obvious consequences, including heavy fines and potentially time in jail or prison. However, there are often more subtle consequences of a criminal record as well that can follow you for life, limiting job opportunities or stalling educational options.
All of us make mistakes; however, those mistakes do not always have to follow you forever. If you have a criminal record, a Fort Worth expunction lawyer could be an advocate for your rights as you explore the state’s expunction process.
What is Expungement?
Expunction is basically the deletion of a criminal record. If someone’s criminal record is eligible for expunction and their request to have it expunged is approved, then for most intents and purposes they now have a clean record when speaking to employers, educational services, or anyone else who asks.
Found in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, expunction can be a confusing process. Importantly, not all records will be eligible for expunction. Some common examples of charges and convictions that may be eligible for expunction include:
- Certain alcohol-related offenses that occurred while the defendant was a minor
- Certain misdemeanors that are not disqualified
- Convictions that were later overturned by a Court of Appeals
- Charges that resulted in the successful completion of a diversion program
- Charges that have been dismissed
Each of these has important qualifying factors that must be met in order for expunction to be an option. An expunction lawyer in Fort Worth could further explain the law as it might apply to an individual’s criminal record and circumstances.
What Records are Not Eligible for Expunction?
Certain offenses will not qualify for expunction. These may include:
- Violent felonies like murder
- Driving under the influence
- Vehicular homicide
- Sex-related crimes like prostitution
- Charges for which the offending person is still completing a diversion program or other probationary requirement
This is not an exhaustive list, and a Fort Worth expunction lawyer could work with a client to explore whether their criminal record is eligible for expunction or other alternatives.
What to Do If Expunction is Not an Option
If someone cannot have their record expunged, then there may be certain alternatives available. Texas law allows individuals to file a Petition for Nondisclosure, a process which is commonly referred to as having your record sealed.
A person who is eligible for this process could work with a lawyer to create their Petition for Nondisclosure and file it appropriately. If it is accepted, then their record will remain with the state, but it generally cannot be accessed by private agencies absent a court order to open it.
Typically, nondisclosure is available for individuals who completed deferred judgment programs after a guilty or no contest plea. It is important that anyone applying for nondisclosure has no subsequent convictions after the incident that they are requesting to have sealed, as this may prohibit them from being able to complete the process.
Work with a Fort Worth Expunction Attorney Today
The expunction process can be intimidating, especially with so much at stake. However, you do not have to face the process alone. An attorney who understands how the expunction process works could work with you to help you understand whether your record may qualify for expunction or another alternative.
You and a Fort Worth expunction lawyer could work together to create an appropriate argument for the state, making sure to meet the conditions required for a successful petition. In the long run, this could save you time and money by helping you avoid costly mistakes. If you are considering expunction, get in touch with a local attorney today to find out more about your options.