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If you have been charged but not arrested for a criminal offense and it remains on your record, you may wonder about the possibility of qualifying for Texas expunction. If you are wondering if expunction is for you, there are certain questions that can help you gauge your eligibility. It is important to consider whether you were arrested, whether you were convicted or not, and if it is a new charge or not. These are the big three aspects of expunction eligibility. A knowledgeable expunction attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for expungement or not, and could attempt to work towards a positive outcome for you.
Necessity of an Arrest
First and foremost, individuals have to have been arrested. A person cannot get an arrest expunged if there was no actual arrest. In Texas, being issued a ticket acts as an arrest. Therefore, if someone received a Class C ticket, assuming they are otherwise eligible, they may be able to get the ticket expunged.
Remember, the whole point of expunction is to a hide a past arrest. If a person was never arrested—for example, if you were investigated but never actually taken into custody—you have no arrest record to expunge. Expunction is not for you. It is not something you need to worry about. There is no record to incriminate you.
Conviction For a Criminal Offense
If there were arrested, the second thing a person needs to establish is whether they were convicted or not. If the answer is yes, expunction is not for you. Expunction hides only an arrest, not a conviction. An individual cannot have a conviction or have served probation, and still qualify for expunction. Non-disclosure can be a good alternative for those incapable of qualifying for Texas expunction because it hides a conviction.
Only misdemeanor and felony arrests are eligible for expunction. While many people may think there are no other charges beyond misdemeanors and felonies, that is not actually true. Other charges do exist.
For example, contempt of court, violation of parole or probation, and so-called writ of attachment are all crimes that can be attached to an initial crime. These are not new criminal cases. A person cannot just violate parole or probation because their parole or probation is the result of whatever earlier crime landed them on probation in the first place.
This matters because if someone was now arrested on contempt of court but never convicted, they would not qualify for expunction of that contempt of court charge because it is not a new crime—it is associated with whatever crime brought them into court in the first place.
Requirements for Expunction
If you are wondering about qualifying for Texas expunction there are certain requirements you must meet. You must have been arrested, you must not have been convicted or served probation, and the charge that you want to be expunged must have been a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you meet these three requirements, expunction is an option you should absolutely consider before proceeding with your criminal case. Once you have met the above three requirements, consult a skilled expunction attorney that can try to help you get a second chance at life.