Fort Worth Expunction Lawyer
Having a charge, arrest, or conviction on your record can lead to serious consequences. A blemish on your record may affect employment opportunities, housing prospects, loan opportunities, and more. However, under certain circumstances, you may be able to clear your record through the expunction process.
Since the process can be complicated, it is often best to work with a Fort Worth expunction lawyer. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer could evaluate the circumstances of your case to determine your eligibility.
Expunction vs. Nondisclosure
Expunction, which is also referred to as expungement, refers to erasing or sealing a criminal record in the eyes of the law. However, not everyone who seeks to have a record expunged will be granted expunction.
If someone is not eligible for expunction, it may be possible to seek an Order for Nondisclosure. While this does not entirely erase a criminal record, it removes information from the public record so it cannot be accessed by certain private individuals and companies. However, the information may be viewed by the government and may be admitted in certain future court proceedings.
Determining Eligibility in Fort Worth
Texas Code of Procedure §55.01 sets for the basic eligibility requirements for expunction. A criminal record may be expunged if:
- The person charged was tried and acquitted
- The person received a pardon due to innocence
- The person received a pardon for another reason
- The person was arrested but never charged with a crime
- The case was ultimately dismissed
- Identity theft was involved
- Certain types of misdemeanor offenses were involved
Those seeking expungement must realize, however, that even if they meet the criteria in the statute, there are other factors that could cause the government to deny a petition for expunction. If someone was convicted of a felony, the court generally will not expunge the record of an arrest within five years of that conviction. Also, if a crime is treated as part of a criminal episode and charges remain pending for crimes that are part of the same episode, then usually a court will not grant expunction. Finally, if criminal charges have been dismissed but the statute of limitations has not yet expired, expungement is usually not yet available.
Records of Juvenile Offenses
Certain offenses committed by juveniles may be expunged from the record even when it includes a conviction. For instance, Class C misdemeanors, which are offenses punishable by a fine, may be expunged if it was committed by a juvenile under the age of 17.
Other offenses eligible for expunction when committed by juveniles include failure to attend school and violations of alcoholic beverage prohibitions. The procedures for seeking expunction in juvenile cases often differ from those that apply to adults so it is important to consult a professional about the process.
Get Help from a Fort Worth Expunction Attorney
In some jurisdictions, expungements may be obtained through simple procedures or even automatically. However, the process is more complicated in Fort Worth. Since the state government may oppose a petitioner’s attempt to seek expunction, the legal support staff and attorneys at the Criminal Records Service office are not allowed to provide any assistance that could be considered legal advice to those seeking expunction of their records.
A Fort Worth expunction lawyer could assist at all stages of the process. From determining eligibility to preparing legal petitions, filing paperwork, and arguing your case, an experienced expungement attorney could help you work toward a positive result. For a free consultation, call now.