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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Are Texas expunction or non-disclosure options for you? It is prudent to consider this question seriously before consenting to any plea agreement, no matter how attractive that agreement might sound to you at the time. An experienced legal advocate can help you explore your options, can help you in your attempt to get a second chance at life.
Determining Long-Term Goals
Before agreeing to anything, an individual should sit down with their lawyer and hash out their long-term goals. For example:
- What does the person want their life to be like after all is said and done?
- What is the best possible outcome?
- Does the person hold, or are they working toward, any professional licenses that might now be in danger?
- What are the person’s needs, and those of their family?
- Is immigration status a factor?
- How strong is the individual’s case?
These are all questions someone can explore with their lawyer so they can advise the individual on how to best proceed.
If a squeaky-clean record is something important to an individual, a conviction is something they want to avoid at all costs. If a person’s lawyer can challenge the arrest and get the charges against them quashed, all they have to do is wait until the waiting period associated with the charge they were arrested on is up and petition for expunction.
If a person was only held in custody and charges were never filed against them, all they have to do is wait out the statute of limitations or associated wait period (more on this in the next chapter) before petitioning for expunction.
Whatever the individual and their lawyer can do to avoid a conviction—and do so without deferred adjudication— they should do so they can petition to get their arrest record expunged.
Petitioning For Non-Disclosure
If conviction is something a person cannot avoid but also cannot afford to have on their record, the individual and their lawyer can work strategically to set a person up to ultimately be eligible for non-disclosure. Deferred adjudication or negotiating probation instead of time behind bars may be the best option for them. It is not ideal, but it is still an effective long-term option.
Once a person completes the mandated waiting periods, and if the individual is convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for anything other than a fine-only traffic violation during this time, they can petition for non-disclosure of the charges brought against them, the conviction, and all other documentation pertaining to this incident and its investigation. A person’s lapse in judgment will not follow them into their job interview, college application, or on their first date.
Value of a Texas Expunction Attorney
If you have the option to start fresh after an arrest or conviction, you should take it. An arrest is not the end of the world. Deferred adjudication is not going to ruin your life. Work with your lawyer to determine whether Texas expunction or non-disclosure options are for you. Qualified legal counsel can help you make the most of your situation and the opportunities you have at your disposal.