As a Dallas criminal defense attorney, Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC works hard to provide clients with the best possible outcome after a criminal charge. Even a minor drug arrest on your record can have serious repercussions as you look for a job or housing later in life. When it is legally possible, our team can help you remove a drug charge from your record.
What is Expungement?
An expunction of a criminal charge means that it is erased from your record. When a potential employer, housing provider, or law enforcement agency does a background check, the expunged charge will not appear.
An expungement is an option if have not been convicted of a crime or have been pardoned after a conviction. For example, if you were arrested for opiate possession, you might be found not guilty if you produce a valid opioid prescription. The court would then remove the charge from your record.
If you enter a plea of guilty or have been found guilty of a crime, expunction is not an option. Whether the sentence is jail time or community supervision, the charge remains on your record.
When Can I Request an Expungement?
A ruling of not guilty or a pardon of a previous conviction should result in an immediate expungement. The court has found that you did not commit a crime, and there is no reason for it to remain on your record.
In some cases, the court will decide not to follow up on an arrest. If a charge against you is no longer pending in court, you can request the court to clear it from your record. In this case, there are some time restraints involved that depend on the severity of the charge.
- Class C Misdemeanor: 180 days after the arrest date
- Class A or B Misdemeanor: One year after the arrest date
- Felony: Three years after the arrest date
When the statute of limitations expires on your charge, you may also request an immediate expungement.
Am I Eligible for a Petition of Nondisclosure?
For first-time offenders, the court may choose a sentence of deferred adjudication. While completing this period without incident can keep a conviction off your record, it does not automatically clear it. However, you can make a petition for nondisclosure. This action will remove the charge from searches carried out by employers and housing providers, but it will remain visible to law enforcement agencies.
An Experienced Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested on a drug charge, our team can help you navigate the legal process. For drug possession charges, we will present the court with defensive evidence such as medical marijuana or opioid prescription. When a request for expungement is appropriate, we will take any necessary steps to clear your record. If you need help with a criminal case in Dallas, contact Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC.