Having a criminal record can have a significant negative impact on your life. From employment to credit to housing options, it can be a huge obstacle. Do you have a criminal record that you want to clear? You can clear your record in Texas if you qualify for an expunction.
The only way to permanently remove an arrest from your adult criminal history record in Texas is through an expunction. An expunction is a judicial order that requires that the record of an arrest is destroyed and that all documented references to that arrest are removed from the notes, correspondence, and other paperwork in the files of all state agencies and private companies. The process for applying for an expunction is outlined in state law, specifically in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
The eligibility qualifications to receive an expunction require that specific statutory conditions are met; these conditions are delineated in the same chapter of the Texas Code. Some cases that may be eligible for an expunction include the following: dismissals, acquittals (i.e., “not guilty” verdict at trial), deferred dispositions, arrests without the filing of charges, cases for which a pre-trial intervention program is completed, etc.
You must apply for your criminal record to be expunged by filing a petition for expunction. Once you apply and meet the qualifications noted in the law, you will be either entitled to or only eligible for that expunction, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Being entitled to an expunction means that a judge will grant it to you by signing a court order; but if you are only eligible for an expunction, the judge can deny your petition for expunction at his or her discretion.
If you have a criminal record, documented arrests will remain in the public record until you receive an official Order of Expunction. This means that they will be visible to federal and state government agencies (e.g. law enforcement) and others like employers and school administrators (with your permission). After receiving an Order of Expunction from the court, you are permitted by state law to state that you have never been arrested. (Note: an Order can only be used to deny arrests for the crimes specifically expunged from your record; an expunction is granted per arrest entry—you may only include one arrest event per expunction petition.)
Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled expunctions is a key first step towards clearing your criminal record. A knowledgeable attorney can determine whether you might be eligible and entitled to an expunction, and advise you of the best approach to clear your record, so you can have a clean slate. Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law is a team of caring and competent legal professionals available to help you in Travis County and throughout the Austin, Texas area. Contact Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law online or at 512-549-6976 to discuss the possibility of getting an expunction in your case.