As those charged with a crime, arrested or acquitted are probably aware, a criminal record can affect every aspect of a Texas resident’s life. Finding a job, getting into college or even finding a place to live can be very difficult. What many may not know is that it is possible to get one’s criminal expunged. This means one’s record is erased if certain requirements are met. Those who feel their case might fit into the statutory criteria may want to consider consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney for guidance on how to proceed.
If the accused has been acquitted or pardoned. If the person was acquitted by the court of appeals after a former conviction, they should know they have a time limit in which they can file for an expungement. Generally, they have thirty days to file a petition for expungement with the court that acquitted them. Otherwise, it is possible they may have to pay fees. An expungement is also available if someone has been granted relief on the basis of actual innocence or if someone has been pardoned. Again, they must abide by a time limit otherwise they may have to pay legal fees.
It may also be possible to get one’s record expunged if charges have been dismissed following the completion of a successful veteran’s treatment court program or mental health court program. Additionally, a notice of the expungement must be sent to a number of agencies listed on the petition and they have the opportunity to oppose the expungement.
Lastly, if someone is arrested, but not charged, or charged and not convicted, they may be eligible for expungement. In fact, many people may not even know that they have a criminal record even though they were never charged with committing a crime.
Getting one’s record expunged, that too as quickly as possible, can allow an individual to become a contributing member of society again and not have the stigma of a criminal record following them.