by Adam Branson & Collin Evans

For many Texans having a criminal record can have a dramatic effect on numerous aspects of daily life from work to home. The law is clear however that under certain circumstances it’s possible to effectively wipe the slate clean and expunge criminal records, offering people a fresh start.

There are various ways that a case can be disposed of that would qualify for clearing the criminal records. To do so properly it is of critical importance to seek legal advice or representation from a recognized professional . A few examples of ways that a case can be resolved to allow clearing of your name is a dismissal of the case, an acquittal at trial or through a pardon .

Dependent on the nature and seriousness of the crime, sometimes it’s necessary for a minimum period of time to have elapsed before it’s possible to clear the record, for example:

If you were arrested, but no charges were filed against you there is a waiting period before filing for an expunction. If you’re looking for an expungement of class C misdemeanor records in Houston, you must wait at least 180 days. For class A and B misdemeanors a time-frame of one year applies. There also must have been no felony charge against the defendant relating to the initial arrest to qualify for wiping the criminal record clean.

It’s important to note that if someone has been charged with more than one crime stemming from the same incident, they may not be eligible to have their records expunged even if they were acquitted of one of the charges.

The process of expunction is not automatic therefore it’s important to take action as soon as possible. If you are eligible due to one of the reasons listed above, you will need to file a petition for expunction. It’s important that the petition is prepared correctly and all the proper procedural rules are followed because you only get one shot at clearing your criminal record.

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