You made a big mistake at one point in your life – it’s okay, we all, do. But, the problem is the mistake you made is now on your criminal record.
This criminal record has affected your life in a variety of negative ways, and you wish there’s something you could do to get rid of it.
Well, we’ve got some good news for you. There is a way that you can make this record disappear from your life through a process called expungement.
Basically, expungement is a process in which you can ask the court of Texas to remove parts of your criminal record. While it typically applies to records that did not result in a conviction, there are several types of records that can be expunged.
So, what do you need to know before starting the expungement process?
Check out this guide to learn the top tips for expunging a criminal record.
Make Sure You’re Eligible
First things first, you want to make sure you’re eligible to have your record expunged.
Your eligibility will vary by state, but if you’re in the state of Texas, you’re likely eligible if you were convicted of a crime but then later on pardoned or found innocent.
You’re also likely eligible if you were charged for a crime but then the case got dismissed or the statute of limitations expired.
Lastly, if you were acquitted at trial, you also have a good chance of having your criminal record expunged.
Know How Long the Process Is
It’s important to keep in mind that expungement is not an overnight process.
The length of time it takes to get a record expunged will vary from case to case, but in general, the court will set up a hearing for you about 30 days after you file the petition to have your record expunged.
After the hearing, it can take as long as 6 months for the court to make a decision. During that time, your record will remain as is.
So, in total, you should expect it to take about 7 months for the entire process. You will definitely want to keep this in mind when disclosing information about your criminal record in job applications and other forms.
Understand the Different Types of Clearing Options
In the state of Texas, there are a few different clearing options you have available. It’s very important to understand what these are before you begin the process.
Let’s take a quick look at what these are.
If you had an arrest but were not sentenced to community supervision or convicted, then you have a good chance of clearing your record through expungement.
Also, if you have a class C misdemeanor, you should be able to get your record expunged as long as you completed deferred adjudication.
Order of Non-Disclosure/Sealing
If you are in a situation in which you have received deferred adjudication for a class a or b misdemeanor or for a felony, then you are likely eligible to have your record sealed.
However, it is important to keep in mind that certain offenses are not eligible for sealing/ order of non-disclosure. These include offenses such as murder, sex offenses, stalking, and family violence.
Were you convicted of a crime in which you successfully completed probation? If so, then you may be eligible to have your criminal record set aside.
If a conviction is set aside, it could possibly still show up in some background checks. However, it will appear as a dismissed conviction with no finding of guilty.
Again, like an order of non-disclosure, there are certain offenses that do not qualify to be set aside. These offenses include DUIs and certain felonies. Also, if you are a resident of the state of Texas, there are certain counties that do not qualify for a set-aside.
If you are on probation, there is a possibility that you will be able to terminate it early or reduce it. You can do this by petitioning the court.
In order to qualify for termination, you need to make sure you have paid all of your fines, fees, and restitution. You also need to make sure you have completed all classes ordered by the court.
After you have done all of this, the judge will decide whether or not discharging you early from probation qualifies as serving justice.
Civil Rights Restoration
Have you lost your civil rights due to a conviction or a federal crime outside of the United States?
If so, you can apply in Texas for a restoration of your civil rights. In order to restore your civil rights, you must wait three years from the date of your conviction to apply.
You also will not be able to apply if you were convicted of a crime involving guns, drugs, or violence.
Juvenile Record Sealing
If you have a juvenile record, Texas law allows you to petition to have this record sealed.
In order to qualify to have your record sealed, you cannot have any convictions or adjudications since you were discharged. Also, if you received a determinate sentence in the juvenile penitentiary, then you also do not qualify for having your record sealed.
Hire a Lawyer
Last but certainly not least, you need to make sure you hire an excellent lawyer.
Expunging a record is not an easy thing to do. There are a lot of hoops to jump through and papers to fill out, and everything takes a lot of time.
Therefore, you need to make sure you do your research and find the right lawyer who will help you every step of the way.
Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to Your Criminal Record?
Now that you have these tips in mind about expunging your criminal record, it’s time to get the process started.
As we said, it’s very important that you choose the right lawyer to help you through the process. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get your criminal record expunged.