Expunction is the only means of completely removing arrest records from the view of the public. However, these records include only those that are public or those maintained by law enforcement agencies and courts. To see if your arrest records qualify for expunction, you may wish to contact a Collin County expunction lawyer for advice.
The most significant benefit of obtaining an expunction is preventing prospective employers and others who conduct background checks from viewing records of an arrest. An expunction may enable you to find better jobs or pursue specific careers with fewer difficulties. A practiced defense lawyer could help you through complex expunction procedures to give you the best chance of success.
Expunction of Arrest Records in Collin County
Tex. Crim. Pro. Code § 55.01 provides a limited means of expunction that allows individuals to have qualifying records related to arrests destroyed and made inaccessible to the public. The expunction process can make a huge difference in the professional and personal lives of those who are eligible. An expunction attorney in Collin County may be able to assess arrest records and determine whether the expunction process is an available remedy.
Individuals who were acquitted or found not guilty following a trial on criminal charges can take advantage of expunction. Anyone convicted on criminal charges, but later pardoned, also can seek relief through expunction of these records.
Additionally, expunction may be available for situations in which the state filed inappropriate criminal charges against someone based on incorrect information, such as mistaken eyewitness identification or false testimony. Expunction also can be a remedy when a person completes a pre-trial intervention program that results in the dismiss of their criminal charges. A final situation that may qualify for expunction is when someone is arrested, but criminal charges are not pending, and a certain amount of time has passed since the incident.
Records that Are Ineligible
If an arrest leads to a criminal conviction, a person cannot seek expunction of those arrest records. The only exception is for a Class C misdemeanor conviction, which does not disqualify the records from expunction. There is a list of other people whose arrest records are ineligible for expunction, including those who:
- Previously obtained expunction for their arrest records
- Fled the jurisdiction after being released on bail following an arrest
- Violated the terms of their community supervision
- May face prosecution for a related offense arising out of the same episode of criminal conduct
Additionally, records related to arrests that ended in a sentence of probation or community supervision do not qualify for expunction. Even if someone is placed on deferred adjudication for a criminal offense and the charges are dismissed after successful completion of the program, they still are not eligible to seek expunction of those records; only a deferred prosecution would make individuals eligible for expunction.
Expunction v. Petitions for Non-Disclosure
Although expunction is not available for arrest records that led to a criminal conviction or for records arising out of various other circumstances, a person alternatively may be able to obtain an order of non-disclosure under Tex. Gov. Code § 411.071 et. seq. for certain records. An order of non-disclosure “seals” records, with exceptions only for courts and law enforcement officials, who still can view the records as needed.
However, not everyone who is technically qualified for an order of non-disclosure may receive one. Judges have the authority to issue an order of non-disclosure if they believe doing so would be in the best interest of justice. It is a discretionary exercise of power, not a mandatory one.
Call a Collin County Expunction Attorney for Legal Assistance
If you wish to improve your future professional and personal prospects, you may want to seek expunction of your arrest records. While this remedy is limited, it can be beneficial for those who qualify for this form of relief. A Collin County expunction lawyer may be able to assist you in determining whether expunction is an available remedy in your situation.
Background checks by employers, landlords, and schools are commonplace, and arrest records can cause employers to overlook you in favor of others who have no records of arrests. If your records are eligible for expunction, you may be able to place yourself in a stronger position in today’s competitive job market. Call today to learn more.