A criminal record can seriously impact your life, even years after your arrest. Even if you were never convicted, your arrest can show up in background checks, may need to be declared on employment applications, and can interfere with activities like getting a job or renting a place to live. In light of these many potential issues, it may be beneficial to have your criminal record expunged, with the aid of a criminal lawyer. Criminal record expungement in Texas is only possible for some people under certain circumstances. However, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can give you insight into whether you are eligible for expungement, and help you to successfully complete the process if you are.
What is a criminal record expungement in Texas?
A criminal record expungement (also known as an expunction) is the destruction of records associated with a prior arrest. For example, if you were arrested for a DWI and receive an expungement, all records associated with that arrest are deleted so that no one can access them in the future.
The result of an expungement is that most of the detrimental impacts of an arrest are removed from your life. For example, the arrest will no longer show up on background checks and need not be reported on employment applications or other forms. You do not need to declare your arrest to anyone, and it will be as if you were never arrested at all.
In order to fully understand how an expungement can help you, it is best to consult a criminal lawyer who is experienced in dealing with these types of procedures and can give you accurate counsel regarding whether this option is the best one for you. A criminal lawyer can help you not only put an arrest in the past, so that it cannot affect you in the present, but also make it easier for you to live your life in the future.
Who is eligible for criminal record expungement in Texas?
In Texas, you cannot get your record expunged if you have been convicted of a crime (though a skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you manage your conviction in other ways). However, expungement is a possibility if you have been arrested but were not convicted. There are a number of reasons that you may have experienced an arrest but not a conviction. Here are just a few:
- Charges were dismissed
- Charges were never filed
- You were acquitted
- You were pardoned
- You were convicted and later found innocent
- A grand jury failed to indict you
- And more
Because eligibility for expungement occurs only under very specific circumstances, you need a criminal defense lawyer to help you determine your eligibility and pursue the expungement on your behalf. However, if you feel as if your situation might qualify, do not hesitate to contact an attorney to find out more.
What is the waiting period to pursue an expungement?
Even if you are eligible for an expungement, you may not be able to pursue one right away. Often, there is a waiting period between the time of your arrest and your pursuit of an expungement. The exact length of that waiting period varies. For example, you may need to wait a shorter period of time if you were arrested for a misdemeanor than if you were arrested for a felony.
In order to ensure that you have waited the appropriate length of time, it is best to consult a criminal defense attorney. This professional can tell you what the waiting period is for your particular arrest, and can assist you in pursuing the expungement as soon as you are able. Because there is no waiting period on consulting with an attorney, do not hesitate to reach out to a criminal lawyer as soon as you have any questions about the process.
Are criminal record expungements expensive?
Obtaining an expungement for an arrest does come with a cost, usually of less than $3,000. At the least, there are several hundred dollars worth of legal fees, court fees, and other fees associated with the process. In addition, you will need to pay attorney’s fees for any legal assistance you receive.
However, this expense may be well worth it because of the positive effects a criminal record expungement can have on your life. In addition, you should consider the support and assistance a criminal defense lawyer can provide you during the process. From meeting deadlines to answering questions to facilitating the process, the attorney can more than earn the fees you pay for their services.
What can a criminal defense attorney help with regarding criminal record expungements?
If you are considering the pursuit of a criminal record expungement, you should consult with a criminal lawyer. While you can pursue an expungement on your own, the process can be confusing and complicated. Errors can force you start the process over and delay the expungement.
A criminal defense attorney, however, can offer you services that allow you to more quickly and easily pursue your expungement. Here are just a few of the services they can provide:
- Meeting deadlines
- Filing paperwork
- Pursuing expungement on your behalf
- Determining your eligibility
- Answering your questions
- And more
If you think you may be eligible for a criminal record expungement, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of David M. White. We have years of experience pursuing such expungements, as well as filing appeals for convictions and providing vigorous defense for those who have been arrested.
We can help you to pursue expungement and a favorable outcome for your situation. And, if you do not qualify for an expungement or have recently been arrested, we can assist you in other ways, from defending you in court to filing appeals on your behalf so that you can get on with your life as soon as possible after an arrest.