It’s a new year, and if you have a criminal record, you should find out if you can get a fresh start with a criminal record expungement. What exactly is an expunction? If you qualify, it means that your criminal record would no longer be available to the public and it would be as if you were never convicted in the first place. According to the Texas Bar, “all information is removed from the criminal record, and that person can deny the incident ever occurred.”
Why Should I Seek an Expunction?
Expungement (sometimes referred to as expunction) gives people a chance to wipe the slate clean, as having a mark on your record can affect your prospects for employment, housing, financing, insurance, gun licenses, and more.
People often make mistakes when they are young, and it’s a losing proposition to start life behind the eight ball. Other people were arrested but not convicted. And those with records of minor infractions should not be penalized for longer than what is fair. However, with criminal records being so easily searchable nowadays, these strikes against you will affect you for years to come.
While this list is not exhaustive—and each example has caveats—here are some situations that may qualify for an expungement:
- An arrest that was brought about by someone stealing your identity (if the person was caught)
- Some juvenile misdemeanor offenses
- Alcohol offenses for minors
- An arrest without a conviction—or one that was dismissed
- A crime that you were accused of and not convicted for by the court of appeals
- Someone over seventeen with a single case of sexting
However, there are specifics regarding statutes of limitations and things like deferred adjudication on a class B or greater offense that can affect eligibility.
Who Doesn’t Qualify?
Some examples of cases that have no statute of limitations and are not eligible for expunction are as follows:
- Certain sexual offenses
- Sexual assault offenses
- A conviction for fleeing the scene of an accident in which there was a fatality
Are There Other Options?
If your record cannot be expunged, in some cases you may be able to receive an order of nondisclosure, effectively sealing the records. Alternatively, you may be able to get a pardon from the Texas Governor (but that takes some doing, namely a written recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles).
Contact an Austin Expunction Lawyer
The Texas Department of Public Safety encourages all those interested in expunction to download the following PDF and “seek the advice of a licensed attorney” who can help determine if you are eligible.
As you can see from the examples above, although expungement is possible for many people, there are the usual conditions and legal hurdles to clear. At Tillman Braniff, PLLC, we can take care of these challenges for you. As an Austin criminal defense firm, we can help you get your record expunged or sealed, thereby improving your future prospects. We’d like to help you get a fresh start for the new year, so give us a call at 512-236-0505 or reach us through the online contact form below.