In addition to potentially resulting in jail time and fines, any type of conviction will go on a person’s criminal record. Having a criminal record can make it difficult to find housing, secure employment, and apply for educational or training programs. It can also have serious repercussions on someone’s personal life. Fortunately, it is possible for those who are convicted of relatively minor offenses to expunge or seal their criminal records, so that certain parties, namely employees and landlords, won’t be able to access that information when conducting a background check. This is only possible, however, for those who go through a specific process, so if you have questions about sealing your criminal record, it is important to contact an experienced Houston misdemeanor crimes lawyer who can walk you through your legal options.
Criminal Record Expungement in Texas
Those who are able to successfully expunge their criminal records can ensure that any record of their offenses won’t be visible to the public. This option, however, is only available to those who fulfill certain requirements. For instance, if a person was arrested for a misdemeanor crime, but never convicted he or she could qualify for expungement. This includes those who:
- Had their charges dismissed at trial;
- Were acquitted by a judge;
- Were arrested, but never charged with an offense; or
- Were convicted, but later pardoned or deemed innocent.
Even when a person qualifies for expungement, he or she must wait a certain amount of time before requesting it. The length of this waiting period depends primarily on the severity of the crime for which a person was arrested. For instance, those who are arrested for committing a Class C misdemeanor, which is the least serious type of misdemeanor, must wait 180 days after being arrested to apply for expungement. For Class A and B misdemeanors, on the other hand, the waiting period is one year.
Record Sealing in Texas
Fortunately, individuals who don’t qualify for expungement could still be eligible for another form of record sealing, known as a deferred adjudication. Deferred adjudication is a type of plea bargain where a person pleads guilty or no contest to an offense in exchange for complying with certain court requirements, like community supervision or probation. When a criminal record is sealed in this way, only government authorities will have access to it. Most misdemeanor records can be sealed immediately, unless the crime is categorized as a sex offense or domestic violence. Those who are convicted of serious misdemeanors, on the other hand, must wait for at least two years before requesting an order of non-disclosure.
Do You Have Questions About Expunging Your Criminal Record?
Contact the experienced misdemeanor crime lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for a review of your own situation and help with expunging or sealing your criminal record. You can reach a member of our legal team today by calling our office at (281) 280-0100 or by completing one of our online contact forms. We serve clients in Houston, Galveston, and League City.