Whether you are searching for a new job, seeking housing, or applying to graduate or professional school, you want to be confident that you have a clean criminal background. You may be shocked to learn that even if you do not have a criminal conviction, any arrests may still show up on a criminal background check. Fortunately, an Allen expunction lawyer may be able to help clean up your record.
In limited situations, individuals can obtain a court order of expunction, which orders law enforcement agencies to destroy arrest records, making them inaccessible to the public. An experienced criminal defense attorney could determine if expunction is an option for your situation and provide guidance at every step of the process.
Qualifying for Expungement
Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.01, a court may order that government agencies remove and destroy qualified arrest records. The expunction process helps to ensure that arrest records do not reflect negatively on individuals who are seeking employment or new careers.
Although expunction is available in some circumstances, it is not a broad remedy for everyone with arrest records. The only individuals permitted to seek expunction are those with arrest records that resulted in:
- Criminal charges on which a judge or jury found the individuals not guilty
- Criminal charges on which a judge or jury found the individuals guilty, but for which they later received a pardon
- Criminal charges later dismissed due to incorrect facts, such as mistaken identity or falsified test results
- Criminal charges that were dismissed following completion of a pre-trial intervention program by the charged individuals, or deferred prosecution
Additionally, expunction may be available if an arrest never led to the filing of criminal charges and an appropriate amount of time has passed. This period differs according to the nature of the charges. The waiting period is 180 days for a Class C misdemeanor, one year for a Class A or B misdemeanor, and three years for a felony. An expunction lawyer in Allen may be able to evaluate arrest records and determine whether they qualify for expungement.
No Expunction for Criminal Convictions
Only arrest records qualify for expunction. If an arrest led to a conviction, other than on a Class C misdemeanor, the records are ineligible for this form of relief. Additionally, various situations make arrest records unsuitable for expunctions, even if they meet all other necessary criteria. Arrests cannot be expunged if they:
- Resulted in charges that ended in a sentence of probation or community supervision
- Resulted in charges that ended in deferred adjudication and dismissal
- Could result in prosecution for an offense related to the same episode of criminal conduct
- Occurred after the individuals already received an expunction order for previous arrests
Individuals have one shot at an expunction during their lifetimes, so getting the process right the first time is essential. An Allen expunction attorney may be able to guide individuals through the process and ensure all documentation is filed correctly and on time.
Focus on the Future with an Allen Expunction Attorney
Obtaining an order of expunction with the help of an Allen expunction lawyer allows you to state that you were never arrested or charged with a crime. This can improve your job prospects and educational opportunities.
Although expunction is not a remedy for everyone, it is worth looking into as a means of removing unwanted arrest records. Expunction may allow you to focus on your future without fear of reprisal for past mistakes. Call a reputable attorney today to discuss your case.