Everyone makes mistakes, but when a mistake threatens your future, you deserve a chance to clear your name and put an arrest behind you. Even an arrest can jeopardize your ability to purchase a home or obtain a job or a loan. If you are eligible, an expunction allows you to petition a court to have records relating to a criminal arrest destroyed. If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in Texas, an expunction can help you clear your name and move on from a brush with the law.
Discuss Your Case With a Houston Expunction Lawyer
An expunction will ensure that your criminal record has been wiped clean as though your arrest and conviction never occurred. The criminal defense lawyers at Ceja Law Firm PLLC will help you determine whether you can qualify for an expunction. We can also guide you through the often lengthy and confusing process of getting your criminal record sealed or expunged. Contact our Houston law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
How Does Expunction Work in Texas?
What happens when someone is arrested for a crime they never committed? What happens when prosecutors wrongfully prosecute an innocent person, and the person is found to be not guilty? The arrest and court process will remain on the innocent person’s record. The expunction process allows Texas residents to clear their criminal records. Once a person has been exonerated from a criminal charge, the court can expunge, or clear, his or her criminal record.
The first step of the expunction process involves filing a motion and a petition with the district court. After the motion is filed, the court will schedule a hearing. The petitioner’s lawyer will provide evidence and advocate for you during the hearing. After the hearing, the court will decide whether to grant the petition for expunction or not.
When a Texas judge decides to expunge a person’s records, it will order all state agencies to destroy all of the arrest records, files, and any other records related to the arrest or prosecution. The court will also require law enforcement agencies to destroy all police reports, jail records, prosecution reports, and court files. Once the court agrees to an expunction, the individual has a right to legally deny that he or she was ever arrested for or charged with the crime.
Do I Qualify For Expunction?
If you are interested in expunging your criminal history, the first step is determining whether you are eligible. As long as you’ve never been placed on probation or convicted of a crime, you may qualify for an expunction. Only certain types of criminal charges are eligible for expunction in Texas, including the following:
- an arrest in which your name appears by mistake
- a criminal charge that’s resulted in you being acquitted
- a criminal charge that resulted in a not guilty verdict
- a criminal charge that was dismissed
- an arrest in which you were released from police custody and not charged
If your criminal charges were dismissed, you would only be eligible for expunction if you did not go through deferred adjudication. In Texas, deferred adjudication may not be expunged, unless you were charged with a Class C misdemeanor.
Ineligible Criminal Charges
In Texas, some types of criminal records are ineligible for expunction, including the following:
- arrests resulting in a guilty conviction
- criminal charges that have been dismissed but are within the statute of limitations
- arrests resulting in community supervision or probation, except for class C misdemeanors
The best way to determine whether your criminal charge can be expunged from your record is to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Benefits of Expunction in Houston
Multiple benefits come from having a criminal record or arrest expunged. The first benefit involves the mental and emotional relief of knowing you have a clean criminal record. People change, grow, and evolve. We are not the same people we were 20, 10, or even five years ago. Many individuals who were arrested change for the better and deserve a better chance at life. An expunction reflects a positive difference in a person’s life. Other benefits that come from expunging a person’s record include the following:
- better housing opportunities
- better job opportunities
- better opportunities for education
- removing the stigma associated with having a criminal record
- protecting your name and reputation
Why You Need a Skilled Lawyer on Your Side
The expunction process can help you begin a fresh chapter in your life. However, the process isn’t always easy. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, our criminal defense lawyers have years of experience defending people in the Houston area. Our experience extends to cases involving probation, deferred adjudication, expunction, and nondisclosure (sealing) of criminal records. Choosing a skilled lawyer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as you go through the expunction process.
Whether you’re being investigated for a crime, or you’ve already been accused of a crime, your rights and freedom are in jeopardy. Having an attorney advocating on your side with an in-depth knowledge of Texas expungement laws, the process of expungement, and how to persuade the court are crucial. We have successfully obtained expungement for clients in DWI/DUI cases, felony cases, and many other types of criminal cases.
Contact a Texas Expunction Lawyer
A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help you clear your record and protect your reputation. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, one of our skilled lawyers will sit down with you and carefully review your criminal record. We will discuss all of the options available for clearing your name. Working with our Houston law firm is the first step toward a future without a criminal record. Contact us today to discuss the legal options that may allow you to move on with your life in a new, positive direction.