A criminal record can have negative consequences for your job prospects as well as your housing prospects. There is also the stigma associated with a criminal history that you must carry around with you. Fortunately, there is sometimes a possibility of getting a second chance. For instance, Texas allows some qualifying individuals to file a petition for expunction. If expunction is granted, a crime is effectively cleared from an individual’s record. Since the crime has been legally cleared from the record, the individual can proceed as though nothing ever happened. This opens up a new world of possibilities for a person looking to make a fresh start.
Am I Eligible for an Expunction?
You may be eligible for an expunction if you fall into one of the following circumstances:
- A judge dismissed your case prior to trial
- The charges were dropped by the prosecutor prior to trial
- You were arrested for a crime, but never charged
- A jury rendered a “not guilty” verdict at trial
- Your conviction was overturned on appeal
- You have a qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offense
However, even if you fall into one of the above circumstances, you may not be eligible. If you are an adult who has received deferred adjudication or probation you will not be eligible for expunction. If you have been convicted of a felony within five years of your arrest, you may not be eligible for expunction. Also, you will not be eligible for expunction if the offense was part of a “criminal episode.” This means that you have charges pending for a different crime that was committed during the same episode or that you were convicted of another crime that occurred during the same episode.
If you do not qualify for expunction, you may still have options. For example, a petition for non-disclosure may be an option for you if you have successfully completed the terms of a deferred adjudication. Deferred adjudication is a kind of plea deal. You, the defendant, agree to a guilty or no contest plea. The court will then lay out terms of your probation. Upon completion of your probation, you are able to file the petition for non-disclosure.
If you are granted an expunction, a judge will order your record cleared. You will not have to disclose the arrest, charge, or conviction on job applications or housing applications. You are legally entitled to deny the event even happened.
Trusted Criminal Defense Legal Counsel
Among others, many first time offenses are eligible for expunction. If you want to know whether you may qualify for expunction, contact Benjamin Law Firm. Committed to excellence in client representation and satisfaction, the Benjamin Law Firm will answer any questions you may have regarding your options on how to clear your criminal record. The stigma of a criminal history can seem relentless and follows you through so many different aspects of life. Reach out to see if you can get a fresh start.
Posted in: Criminal Defense