Being arrested, charged, and potentially convicted of a crime can have long-term consequences. In fact, even if you’re not convicted, an arrest can show up on your record for years—or decades!—to come, impeding your ability to get a job, secure housing, and pursue other opportunities. Those who are facing criminal charges or who have been convicted of a crime may have questions about how long an arrest or conviction stays on their record, as well as whether or not a criminal record can be expunged. Here’s an overview of what you should know about expunging a criminal record in Texas—for more information, call the law office of Tad Nelson directly.
What Is Expungement?
To expunge something means to remove or erase it completely. When it comes to a criminal record, expungement is the process of destroying the record so as if it never existed in the first place. This is different from sealing the record, a process in which a record is made private, but is not completely deleted.
What Are Texas’s Expungement Laws?
Being able to delete your criminal record may sound too good to be true, and for many people, it is. According to the Texas Bar Association, the only records that are eligible for an expunction in Texas include:
- An arrest for a crime in which charges were dropped;
- Certain misdemeanor offenses;
- Conviction of a minor for certain alcohol offenses;
- Conviction for failure to attend school;
- Arrest of a person that is not charged;
- Conviction of a crime that is later acquitted; or
- Conviction of a crime that is later pardoned.
The Expungement Process
If your case falls into one of the categories above, you may be eligible for expungement. In order to file for expunction, you will need to file an application—called an Application for Expunction—in the arresting county. The application needs to be accompanied by a fingerprint card. From here, a hearing date will be set. If you grant all of the necessary requirements for expunction, it will be granted by the court and an Order of Expunction will be issued.
Do I Need to Work with a Criminal Defense Attorney?
Regardless of where you are in the criminal process, working with a criminal defense attorney is wise. You should work with an attorney as early on in the process as possible; securing a conviction of not guilty or having charges against you dropped is better than having to expunge a record later on. If you’re already well past that, working with an attorney who can guide you through the expunction process and your eligibility is recommended if you are seeking to have your record deleted.
Call Our Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have questions about your rights as someone who’s been arrested, charged with a crime, or convicted of a crime, our criminal defense attorney can help. Serving Houston, Galveston, and League City and the surrounding areas, our Texas criminal defense lawyer will work hard for you. Please call us today for a free consultation.