Texans with criminal records who want to make strides towards better lives have to worry about the impact their criminal histories will have on their futures. They understand that their records can have an effect on every aspect of their lives, causing difficulties in everything from employment and financial standing to housing and child custody arrangements, and more. Most criminal records are permanent, but in some circumstances, Texas law allows for the expungement of those records. Even if one’s record cannot be cleared completely, sometimes partial expunctions are attainable.
In Texas, records can be cleared via the process of expungement, called expunction. An expunction allows for certain records to be destroyed or sealed as directed by court order. The court issues such orders, instructing all agencies that handle criminal records to treat expunged arrests, charges, and prosecutions as if they had never occurred; they are removed from all public records. If eligible, expunctions permanently erase Texas criminal records and all data relating to criminal offenses. Sometimes it is only possible to get a partial expunction, though: if there are ineligible offenses, they must remain on the record.
FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT EXPUNCTIONS IN TEXAS:
When an individual is arrested and charged with multiple crimes, he or she is sometimes able to make a plea deal. And as part of that deal, the government will sometimes agree to dismiss some of the charges if the defendant will agree to enter a guilty plea for one specific charge. A partial expunction in such a case would allow for the removal of the dismissed crimes from the record, leaving only the single charge for which the guilty plea was entered. Before 2015, the law in some Texas districts permitted partial expunctions of criminal records; but it changed in 2015 and partial expunctions were disallowed. Then, in January 2021, there was a review by the Supreme Court of Texas of the 2015 case that resulted in the previous interpretation of the expunction statute being overturned, allowing now for the clearance of eligible misdemeanors from criminal records independent of whether any plea deals are made. (Note: the law does not apply to felonies at this time, and each individual County is still developing implementation and understanding).
People in the Lone Star State may be able to clear their criminal records, either in full or at least partially, if the charges are eligible for expungement under the law. Having their records expunged of their offenses is an opportunity for people to leave their mistakes in the past and start fresh with a clean slate.
Hiring a professional and proficient criminal defense attorney is key when it comes to handling your Texas expunction case. Austin attorney Brian Erskine of Erskine Law is a reputable legal professional with years of experience in criminal defense; he has successfully handled a wide variety of cases, including full/partial expunction cases. If you or a loved one needs legal guidance in Austin, Texas, or the surrounding area, Erskine Law is the top law office to call. For caring and competent legal advice and assistance, contact Erskine Law at any time online or by calling 512-359-3030.