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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Texas law permits individuals to erase or destroy arrest records in some situations. This process generally referred to as expunction, allows individuals who were never convicted of a crime to prevent their arrest records and related documents from showing up on criminal background checks. An Austin expunction lawyer may be able to advise you about whether your records are eligible for expunction.
Expunction can allow you to obtain a better job more easily, seek new career paths, get credit, and find suitable housing. While expunction may be available only for limited types of records, the impact on the lives of those individuals can be substantial. Consulting a knowledgeable defense lawyer for more information may be useful to you.
Austin Expunction and Arrest Records
In qualified situations, the expunction process may permit individuals to have certain arrest and related records destroyed and removed from public view. Although this remedy is somewhat limited, it is useful for certain people. An expunction attorney in Austin may be able to provide assistance in determining whether certain arrest records are eligible for expunction.
Tex. Crim. Pro. Code § 55.01 outlines the circumstances in which someone can request expunction of their arrest records. Primarily, if a person was found not guilty of criminal charges during a trial, they can use expunction to eliminate their records. Although relatively rare, those whose convictions were later pardoned also can seek expunction of their records.
Expunction also is a potential remedy when the state mistakenly filed criminal charges against a person based on false information, such as mistaken identity, or when someone completed a pre-trial intervention program that resulted in the dismissal of their charges. Expunction also may be available if criminal charges are no longer pending and certain periods have elapsed since the arrest and filing of charges.
Who is Ineligible?
Individuals with arrest records are generally ineligible for expunction. This includes anyone whose arrest records led to a criminal conviction unless the conviction was for a Class C misdemeanor.
Someone who previously obtained expunction for their records may not seek expunction if they are arrested on another charge in the future. They also may not seek expunction if they fled the jurisdiction while out on bail after an arrest, violated the terms of their community supervision, or are potentially facing prosecution for a related offense arising out of the same episode.
Records of arrests that led to a criminal conviction or those stemming from arrests that resulted in probation or community supervision orders do not qualify for expunction. Other ineligible arrest records also include those that relate to criminal charges dismissed following deferred adjudication.
Expunctions vs. Petitions for Non-Disclosure
While expunction is not a remedy for any records related to a criminal conviction, individuals may be able to seek an order of non-disclosure for those records. Although an order of non-disclosure does not destroy or erase records, it does seal them. Courts and law enforcement officials, however, will still be entitled to view the records.
One of the most significant benefits of seeking an order of non-disclosure according to Tex. Gov. Code § 411.071 et. seq. is the ability to prevent the records from showing up during a criminal background check by a prospective employer or landlord. This can enhance the ability of a person with criminal convictions to get a second chance to better themselves. An order of non-disclosure, however, is up to the discretion of the judge, so it may be best to work with an Austin expunction attorney.
Look to an Austin Expunction Attorney for Assistance
Expunction is a potential remedy for individuals with certain qualifying arrest records. If you qualify for relief, you can clean up arrest records that appear on background checks and more successfully move on with your life. An Austin expunction lawyer may be able to give you advice and assist you throughout the process of expunction.
Even if you do not qualify for expunction, an order of non-disclosure may have similar results on records related to selected criminal convictions. Taking advantage of the legal mechanisms to improve your criminal background check results can benefit you in many ways in the future. Call today to learn more about your options.