It’s hard to put a run-in with the law behind you when it ends up on your criminal record. Certain arrests or convictions might make it harder for you to get a job, housing, or even join the military. While most convictions cannot be removed from your criminal record, some arrests, charges, and convictions can be erased from your permanent record and you can deny that the incident ever occurred. This is called an expunction.
Do I Qualify for an Expunction?
Not everything can be expunged from your record. In Texas, expunctions commonly apply to:
- Arrests for crimes that were never charged;
- Charges that were ultimately dismissed; and
- Charges from crimes that were later acquitted in a trial or appeals court.
This list is not exhaustive, so it’s best to reach out to an attorney to see if your situation qualifies for an expunction.
You also have to wait a certain period of time before you can file an expunction, depending on the charge or arrest you wish to get expunged. If you file an expunction too soon, you run the risk of having the district attorney investigate your case again.
How Do I Get an Expunction?
Even though your criminal case might have been dismissed or never filed, your record does not get cleared automatically. You need to file a petition with a civil court and ask for a judge to sign an order to get your record expunged. The petition requires specific things for it to be effective, such as your identifying information and the names and addresses of the agencies that might have your records.
Just like filing a regular lawsuit, you must pay filing and service fees for an expunction petition. Each county has its own filing fee for expunction on top of the fees you need to pay to provide the district attorney and record-holding agencies with notice.
After you’ve filed your expunction petition, the court clerk will set a hearing date so that you can argue your expunction case in front of a judge. In some cases, you can get the district attorney to agree to an expunction order, meaning you do not have to go to court and argue for your expunction.
Hire an Austin Expunction Attorney
Figuring out if you qualify for an expunction and then properly filing the expunction petition can be complicated. If you don’t do it right, you might clear your record with some agencies but not others.
The team at Stephen T Bowling & Associates has experience successfully getting their clients’ records expunged. If you or a loved one wants to clear their criminal record through an expunction, you need a qualified expunction attorney to help you navigate the process. Contact us today for a consultation.
written by Alexis Guadarrama