When you have been arrested, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense, you will have a criminal record that you may need to disclose in particular circumstances. Depending upon the specific offense and whether or not you were convicted, you may be required to provide extensive information about your criminal record, particularly in the case of certain sex crimes. In addition, potential employers, landlords, lenders, and others may be able to access information about your criminal record in order to make decisions about hiring, renting you a home, or lending money or extending credit.
In order to avoid having your criminal record known to the public, you may be interested in learning more about expunctions under Texas law and your ability to have your criminal record expunged. A Dallas criminal defense lawyer at our firm can explain more about eligibility for expunction.
What is Expunction?
Seeking to have a criminal record expunged, known as expunction in Texas, is a process through which to remove a criminal record entirely. Expunction is a process in which, for all intents and purposes, the existing criminal record is destroyed. You should know that expunction and nondisclosure are often discussed together, yet these processes are different. Nondisclosure, which is known as record sealing in many other states, can conceal your criminal record from the public, but certain licensing agencies and government agencies can still access information about your criminal record. For example, while a nondisclosure may prevent a potential employer or neighbor from accessing information about your criminal record, a state or federal law enforcement agency can still access the information.
Expunctions are much more difficult to obtain than a nondisclosure, and only certain offenses are eligible. More offenses can be sealed from the public with a nondisclosure, but it is important to seek advice from a criminal defense lawyer in Texas about your eligibility.
You can only seek an expunction in certain scenarios, including the following:
· You received a deferred adjudication for a Class C misdemeanor;
· You were arrested for an offense but charges were never filed;
· You were arrested for and charged with an offense, but the charges were dismissed;
· You were acquitted; or
· You were pardoned.
To be clear, expunction is not possible for any type of conviction, although nondisclosure may be possible in situations involving convictions. To be eligible for an expunction under one of the categories listed above, you will also need to wait for the specific amount of time identified by Texas law. To seek an expunction, you should note the following waiting periods: 180 days for Class C misdemeanors, 1 year for Class A and Class B misdemeanors, and 3 years for felonies. If you are in fact eligible for expunction, you can work with a lawyer to file an Application for Expunction. If the application is granted, you can receive an Order of Expunction.
Contact Our Dallas Expunction LawyersIf you were arrested for or charged with a criminal offense in Texas, you may be eligible for expunction. One of our Dallas expunction attorneys can assess your case for you today. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC to learn more about how we can assist you with expunction or nondisclosure in Texas.