How Such An Odd Word Can Safeguard Your Future: Understanding Expungement Laws in Texas
Expungement can be considered such a strange word, but it is one that could make all the difference when facing your future without the stigma of a juvenile criminal conviction, unjust arrest, DUI charge, or criminal prosecution acquittal. From Arizona to Washington, 20 states in all, including Texas, offer some form of expungement (also known as expunction) and nondisclosure of records procedures for both misdemeanor and felony relatable charges.
If you reside in Texas and want to learn more about the expunction of criminal records, under Texas Title 1, Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 55 Expunction of Criminal Records, the following summary may provide insight as to how you and your expungement attorney can legally safeguard your future.
The law may recognize that a first offense is not entirely indicative of a person’s character or if the defendant was unjustly arrested and later acquitted of all charges. Texas courts may also warrant nondisclosure or the expungement of all related records. A judge can do so by either sealing the records or by destroying all records held by penal institutions, law enforcement agencies, and court records, leaving the former defendant free of all criminal charges.
If a Texas resident has been found guilty of a criminal charge, qualifications can be satisfied in hopes of criminal expungement. If the defendant has continued a period of probation whereas no instances of additional crimes are evident and if the initial crime did not involve charges within the areas of sexual assault, child pornography, or crimes committed against a minor he or she may ask the court for expungement.
The Expungement Process in Texas
Although the expungement process may be daunting, it can be done. It is highly advisable to enlist the services of a qualified Texas expungement attorney to help you in this process. The first step is for the former defendant to make notice with the Texas trial court who presided over the case. This petition must be filed within the 30th day following an acquittal and include the following information:
- Petitioner’s Full Name
- Sex and Race
- Date of Birth
- Texas Driver's License Number
- Social Security Number
- Address at the Time of Arrest
- Charged Offense, Date, and Location of Arrest
- Case Number and Court of Offense
It is also the responsibility of the petitioner to disclose all possible law enforcement agencies, central local and federal depositories or private entities that may house traces of the criminal records subject to expunction. Once the Texas court receives the petition, it will set a hearing date no sooner than 30 days of receipt of the petition and will serve notice to all named institutions named within the petition. If the court finds in favor of expunction or nondisclosure of all related records and files, it will then enter an order directing the expunction process.
Contact Our San Antonio Criminal Lawyer
If you believe that the expungement process is the key to safeguarding your future, experienced San Antonio expunction attorney Sam H. Lock can help you realize that goal. To clear your good name and to schedule your initial consultation, contact our office today at 210-226-0965. We serve clients from two convenient offices in San Antonio and Seguin, Texas.