In the State of Texas, the process of expunction provides individuals with the opportunity to clear their criminal records, giving them a fresh start and a chance to move forward without the stigma of past arrests and charges. An expunction is the legal process to get criminal records destroyed by law enforcement. It allows certain records to be erased completely as if they never existed. However, it is essential to note that not all felonies are eligible for expunction. It is only under certain circumstances that some criminal offenses can be removed from your record. So, what felonies can be expunged in Texas, and what felonies cannot be expunged? Read on to learn more.
WHAT FELONIES CAN BE EXPUNGED IN TEXAS?
- Dismissed Cases: If you were charged with a crime and the prosecutor’s office eventually dismissed the case, you might qualify for expunction. The reason for the dismissal will determine when you can file the case.
- Acquittals and Pardons: If you were acquitted of charges or received a full pardon (i.e., found not guilty in a trial or pardoned by the governor), you might qualify for expunction.
- Arrests without Charges: If you were arrested but no charges were filed against you within a specific timeframe, your record might be eligible for an expunction.
- Repeat Offenders: Individuals with previous convictions on their records may still be eligible for expungement on cases that did not result in a conviction.
- Serious Felonies: Certain serious felonies, including sexual assault, murder, kidnapping, burglary, arson, etc., can be eligible for expunction depending on the outcome of the case.
- Cases of Mistaken Identity or False Arrest: If you were arrested but never charged, or if charges were dismissed or dropped due to mistaken identity, you may be eligible for expunction.
WHAT FELONIES CANNOT BE EXPUNGED IN TEXAS?
- Convictions: In general, most convictions cannot be expunged in Texas because expunction is most commonly applied to cases where an arrest was made but no conviction followed (though it might be able to be sealed through an order of non-disclosure under certain circumstances).
- Deferred Adjudication: Cases where an individual received deferred adjudication community supervision cannot be expunged but may possibly be eligible for sealing with a non-disclosure.
- Juvenile Offenses: If you were a juvenile offender, offenses cannot be expunged because legally there was no arrest. Only cases where the juvenile is certified to be tried as an adult can potentially be expunged. If specific criteria are met, such as the juvenile reaching a certain age and not having any pending criminal charges, some juvenile records can be eligible for sealing.
The process of expunction in Texas is actually a civil lawsuit that involves your attorney filing a petition in the county where the arrest occurred. This petition outlines the specific details of your case, the reasons that could make you eligible for having your criminal record expunged, and asks the judge to order the law enforcement agencies with the records of the case to destroy them. If the Court grants the petition, your criminal record related to the eligible offense will be permanently removed from public records. Maybe you are asking yourself, “Can I expunge my record myself in Texas?” It is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney with in-depth knowledge and understanding of Texas expunction laws to ensure that you meet the necessary criteria and follow the correct legal procedures. Getting criminal background check companies to update any records they may have is also an additional step in the process, if you want to make sure the records of your case are cleaned up as best as possible.
An expunction can provide a clean slate for some individuals, giving them a second chance at a clear record. While not all felonies are eligible for expungement in Texas, understanding the criteria for expunction is key when it comes to determining whether you qualify. If you are wondering whether you are eligible for an expunction, you should consult with a legal professional like Collin Evans of Collin Evans Law who can guide you through the process and ensure that you take advantage of laws that can help your future. Collin Evans is a Houston, Texas-based criminal defense attorney available to answer your questions about Texas expunctions. Collin Evans has over 15 years of experience working on expunction cases and has never lost one. If you want to discuss having your record cleared, contact Collin Evans today for a free consultation about your case, and to learn more about the legal services offered at Collin Evans Law.