Having a criminal record can have a significant negative impact on your life. From employment and financial credit to housing options and custody arrangements, it can be a major hurdle. Do you want to clear your criminal record to avoid as many of these obstacles as possible? In Texas, you can clear your record if you qualify for something called an expunction.
In the state of Texas, the only way to permanently remove an arrest from your adult criminal history record is by being granted an expunction. An expunction is a court order that requires that the record of an arrest is destroyed and that all documented references to that arrest are removed from all paperwork including the notes and correspondence filed by all state agencies and private companies. If you would like to have your record cleared, you must apply for an expunction, the process for which is outlined in Texas state law in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
The eligibility qualifications to be granted an expunction in the Lone Star State require that specific statutory conditions are met. (These conditions are described in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code as well.) Some things that could be expunged from one’s criminal record (if eligible) for an expunction include the following: dismissals, acquittals (i.e., “not guilty” verdicts reached at trial), deferred dispositions, arrests without the filing of charges, cases for which a pre-trial intervention program is completed, and more. If you aren’t sure if your Texas arrest record includes eligible cases, your best course of action is to reach out to a reputable criminal defense attorney with experience in the area of Texas expunctions.
If you have a criminal record in Texas, documented arrests will remain in the public record until you receive an official order of expunction from the court. The Texas Freedom of Information Act allows individuals to access adult criminal records if they request them through proper channels. All criminal history is considered public information under Texas laws regarding open records; it does not require formal authorization for access. This means that your crimes will remain visible to federal and state government agencies including law enforcement agencies, potential employers, licensing entities, and any other interested party. 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 expunction cases in Texas should be your first step towards clearing your criminal record. A knowledgeable Texas attorney like Brian Erskine of Erskine Law can determine the eligibility of your arrest record and explain the details to you. Brian Erskine is a reputable criminal defense lawyer who is ready to help you start again with a clean slate. He is available to help you in Travis County and throughout the Austin, Texas area. Contact Erskine Law online at any time or by calling 512-359-3030 to discuss the possibility of getting an expunction in your case.