Expunction Attorney in Austin, TX
Getting arrested will cause negative effects that can ripple throughout the rest of your life, even when criminal charges against you are dropped. Your future employers, landlords, and loan officers will all have access to your public criminal record, not to mention the stigma and embarrassment that you and your family may feel as a result of it.
However, there is a way to move on with your life, without any proof of a criminal record. Learn what you can do to get your wipe the slate clean again by getting your charges sealed or expunged from your past.
The Difference Between Nondisclosure (Sealed) and Expunction
There are two ways to remove charges off of your criminal record, nondisclosure and expunction. Similar in the filing process, they both offer an answer to clearing your criminal history. There is, however, a difference in who is allowed access to your file.
Nondisclosure (Sealing): The act of limiting access to your criminal record. Private entities must delete your record but public entities such as the State of Texas will still have it on file. A government agency or a court order can open your record for view.
Expunction (Expungement): The act of completely removing arrests and charges off of your public criminal record, meaning the file is destroyed and it is as if your record never existed. You can legally and truthfully to tell employers and others that your record is clean.
Eligible Criminal Records
You may be eligible for non-disclosure if:
- You are on, or have successfully completed, deferred adjudication (A “Guilty” or “No Contest” plea deal in exchange for meeting certain requirements laid out by the court).
- You have no subsequent convictions.
You may be eligible for expunction if:
- You were arrested but not charged.
- Your charge was dismissed.
- Your offense was a qualifying misdemeanor juvenile.
- Your offense was minor alcohol-related.
- You were convicted of Failure to Attend School
- You were arrested for a crime but another individual was found guilty of it.
- Your pretrial diversion (probation) was successfully completed.
- You were later acquitted by the Criminal Court of Appeals.
- You received a pardon from the governor or the U.S. president.
You may not eligible for expunction if:
- Your arrest resulted in a guilty conviction.
- You received a conviction that resulted in probation.
- You were sentenced to prison.
- You have received a deferred adjudication (A “Guilty” or “No Contest” plea deal in exchange for meeting certain requirements laid out by the court) or probation.
- You were convicted of a felony within five years after arrest.
- If the statute of limitations (usually 3 years) has not passed, even if your case was dismissed.
- You were charged with child molestation, sexual battery, prostitution, theft, Driving Under the Influence, fleeing the scene after an accident, vehicular homicide, or other serious crimes.
The Filing Process
Getting your record expunged can be fairly straightforward but if your application is denied you will not get a refund of your application costs (typically around $250 in Texas). For the best chance of success, apply for each offense separately and complete the following steps:
- Contact the district court where your criminal record is on file and ask for a copy of it.
- Contact an expungement attorney who will then review your record and obtain the proper paperwork. The legal costs for record expungement in Texas range from $1,500 to $3,000.
- Identify whether you want a nondisclosure or an expungement.
- Prepare a statement on why you are seeking an expungement of your record and how your life would improve if your request is granted.
- Present proof of how you have taken steps to better yourself since your conviction.
- Attend your hearing date.
- If your request is granted, get your petition notarized and copied.
- Your criminal record will now be sealed or destroyed.
The nondisclosure and expunction process isn’t difficult but you will have a much higher chance of success if you consult with an experienced expungement attorney who knows the law and will take care to handle all of the details correctly.
Where do you handle Expunctions?
The law office of Eric Harron handles expunction for charges that were pending in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties. If you were arrested in one of those counties and would like to have records pertaining to that arrest expunged, please contact our team of experienced expungement lawyers for a free consultation.