The most difficult type of case to get expunged is the allegation of sexual assault because the statute of limitations is the longest. Traditionally, crimes of violence are also difficult to get expunged for the same reason. The first step we will take for our client seeking an expunction is we will run you through a background check. If you come to us and ask if you qualify for an expunction, we can give you a “yes” or “no” answer before you leave our office.
Are Certain Types Of Charges Easier To Get Expunged Than Others In Texas?
Expunctions are one of the very few times in law where you are either eligible or you are not. After we talk to you and find out what your legal situation is, we will know whether we can get your case expunged and the amount of work that’s going to be required. Typically, we can give an answer regardless of the kind of charge is involved right away.
Does An Ongoing Criminal Case Affect My Chances Of Having A Past Dismissal Expunged?
Before you get your case expunged, the Texas Penal Code requires you to have all arrestable offenses resolved. The State can use those offenses to punish you even if they’ve been dismissed. For example, you cannot have an open pending felony case. Often it is even difficult if you have an open pending misdemeanor to get the expunction completed. We will run a background check and make sure that you understand whether your case can be expunged when you hire us.
What Is The Process To Have A Criminal Record Expunged In The State Of Texas?
The expunction process starts when you come into our office and we conduct a background check to confirm whether we can obtain the expunction. We then draft a citation, a petition or a civil lawsuit where we sue Bexar County or all of the police agencies involved in your case. Eventually, we file this lawsuit and we demand that the judge sign an order. The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office is then given a chance to respond. They will do their own check to confirm you are eligible for an expunction. If you are eligible, they are still going to file a denial initially, stating they are not going to allow your case to be expunged. What they are doing is they are checking to make sure that the individual is law abiding. They will look at this and they’ll determine whether or not you qualify for the expunction and then we have a hearing in front of the judge.
During that hearing, the District Attorney’s office will inform the judge that they agree to expunge your case and sign off on the order. The Department of Public Safety also has a say in whether the case can be expunged. If it has been approved and expunged, they will verify and then they will file the order with the District Clerk’s office. The order will then require the various governmental agencies to comply. It is critical to hire a law firm that has experience in handling expungements to handle your case. They will ensure the list of each agency who must approve the process, is complete. If that list is not complete then the expunction really isn’t worth it. Each agency that has a record of your case can report it to agencies that check and record criminal backgrounds. Once the order is received by all agencies, they are then required by law to destroy all records of the arrest that we’ve requested.
One thing that most people need to be aware of is that if they have multiple open cases, we can take care of those multiple open cases in a single expunction if they are all in Bexar County. It’s really something you can do to clean up a whole lot of your record so that you can move forward with a fresh start.
What Can Someone Do If They Are Not Eligible For An Expunction?
If you are not eligible for an expunction, the next step would be to get the record “non-disclosed”, which is the process by which the records are sealed. Much like an expunction, we file a petition. The petitions are filed in the court where the case was pending and the judge will listen to the evidence. However, with a non-disclosure, the judge can say “yes” or “no”. There are some cases that cannot be non-disclosed, for instance, a DWI. If the charge was not reduced, then a DWI that was pled to cannot be non-disclosed. If it is reduced or changed to obstructing the highway then it may be eligible. Additionally, violent offenses and crimes of violence cannot be non-disclosed. If the judge decides that the case should be non-disclosed then he or she will seal the record and order it to be filed with the County Court or the District Clerk.
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