The new year can symbolize a clean slate and a fresh start. But if you’ve faced trouble with the law, it can start to feel like the past is following you around forever. This year there are steps you can take to resolve legal issues so that you have peace of mind walking into the year with confidence. Make a resolution to work on clearing up your record so you can have the fresh start you’ve been dreaming of.
If you’ve been convicted of a crime, done jail time or gotten into legal trouble of any kind, you probably don’t need to be reminded that these things can end up on your permanent record. This can mean public access to your crimes, which can show up on background checks for jobs, state websites, and more. Public access to your records can make it challenging to find new employment, lease an apartment, apply to college or scholarships, qualify for loans, or obtain US citizenship.
In some cases, there are things you can do to help clear your record. If you’ve been to trial for a criminal case and achieved favorable results, you might qualify to have your record expunged or for non-disclosure of your records.
What Is Expunction?
Having your record expunged means that all traces that an arrest or criminal charges were formed against you are erased from your file. To make this happen, you must first file a civil petition to the criminal district court. If the petition is granted, your record will be clean, and you will be able to legally deny that you were charged with the crime that was cleared. You can do this either by having your record expunged or by entering into a non-disclosure agreement, which essentially keeps all of your records sealed and private so that the public cannot access them.
You could be eligible to have your record expunged if the charges against you were dismissed or deferred, you were found not guilty, you completed a pretrial diversion, or you were convicted and later pardoned by the Governor of Texas.
In Texas, you are required to wait a certain amount of time before you can file for an expunction. Waiting times vary based on each situation and include the following:
There are, however, some crimes such as DUI’s and certain felonies that cannot be erased or sealed from your record. Other factors, such as your criminal history as a whole, might also affect whether or not you can have your record expunged.
If you want to start the year off on the right foot, reach out to a qualified defense attorney who can handle expunging your record. While it may be tempting to read online about how you can do this yourself, an experienced lawyer who has dealt with expungement in the past will be your best bet at achieving the results you want.
Christopher T. Gore is an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney and can help you through the process of petitioning to have your records expunged. Contact his office to learn more about how he can help you start and finish the year off right.