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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
It is important to clear up any potential confusion in relation to the expunction of dismissed charges in Texas. What is important here for being eligible for expunction is when and why your charges were dismissed.
Sometimes people are arrested for more than one charge. Sometimes when people go to court they might enter a plea of guilty or a deferred adjudication on a different charge than originally arrested. If that is the case then an expunction might not be possible. Speaking with an experienced expunction attorney about your chances of sealing or expunging your record may benefit your case.
Impact of Dismissal on Record Expungement
If someone’s charges were dismissed because they completed community supervision successfully as a term of deferred adjudication, that does not qualify record expungement. Another non-qualifying factor includes probation. Being on probation implies that something happened beyond the arrest to imply someone is guilty as charged, even if the person has turned their life around despite the charge.
Someone can seek expunction if they were charged with something that was later dismissed, they are not convicted, or if they were not subject to any community supervision. This could happen either through pretrial negotiations or in court. If someone’s charges are dismissed, an attorney might suggest seeking expunction of dismissed charges in Texas.
How Can Criminal Records be Diminished?
The person with the criminal record is not the only one who may want to make the incident disappear. If an individual were charged based on false information or mistaken identity, prosecutors, law enforcement, and other members may want to put the whole unfortunate incident behind them as well.
Role of Burden of Proof
As long as the record of someone’s case is no longer necessary for any criminal investigation, it is a damaging blip in everyone’s past. Another big reason someone’s indictment or information can be quashed or dismissed is because of lack of probable cause. While expunction of dismissed charges in Texas is a civil procedure, criminal prosecution is a completely different creature.
The burden of proof rests on the prosecution, meaning, they need to prove probable cause to arrest someone in the first place. With a capable lawyer in your corner and a strong case, you can walk away from your charges without conviction or probation, and then you can seek to expunge any and all evidence it ever happened.
Dismissal by Expunction Cases Involving Theft Crimes
Identity theft is another reason charges may have been filed and later dismissed. If someone gave another person’s name instead of their own at the time of their arrest or investigation, the other person might reap the consequences for something that they did not do.
In today’s world, identity theft is rampant and it is not uncommon for someone else’s name to be implicated in a crime they had no connection to or even knowledge of. Mistaken identity and charges based on false information should not be permitted to haunt someone for the rest of their life.
Understanding Law Enforcement’s Impact on Sealing Records
In some cases, charges may be filed against someone even if they were not arrested because someone else led law enforcement to believe they were someone else. In this circumstance, if the individual can prove that they were not actually the person arrested, they can also seek expunction of dismissed charges in Texas. While the charges do not technically equal an arrest, an arrest did happen and for all the arresting officers and your records know, it was you who was arrested.
On the same note, if misleading evidence was presented to the jury or your charge came as the result of entrapment, that is a failing on the side of law enforcement and the prosecution, and can be expunged from your record so long as no conviction or probation resulted from it.
If charges were filed against you and then dismissed, what that really means is somebody else messed up. Someone gave false information, someone believed and acted on false information, someone arrested you without probable cause, or someone broke the law to entrap you. Seeking expunction can keep the consequences of someone else’s mistakes out of your future for good.