Need to Expunge Your Criminal Record in Forth Worth?
Our Fort Worth Attorneys Handle Record Expunctions in Tarrant, Dallas, and Collin County.
Were you charged with a crime years ago, and later the charged were dropped? Did you apply for a job and agree to a background check, but find out that an old charge filed against you is still visible on your criminal record?!According to a recent article, approximately one in three American adults have some type of criminal record. With today’s increasingly global society, it is easier than ever for a prospective employer, college, or even date to obtain detailed information on your alleged criminal past and use it to draw unrealistic conclusions about your current behavior or character. Fortunately, some provisions of Texas law permit specific charges, arrests, and convictions to be completely expunged from your record — not just sealed from view. There are many types of criminal charges that can be expunged under Texas law, an expunction lawyer at The Hampton Law Firm, P.L.L.C. can file for relief to get your criminal record expunged in Tarrant County.
What types of criminal convictions can be expunged in Texas?
Chapter 55, Article 55.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure governs record expunction in Texas, and provides for expunction of both arrest and conviction records under certain circumstances.
Texas Record Expunction Eligibility
You may qualify to have your record expunged if:
- acquitted of an alleged felony charge or misdemeanor;
- never charged with a crime related to the arrest;
- convicted of a felony or misdemeanor but pardoned; or
- convicted of a felony or misdemeanor but had the conviction overturned on appeal (unless there were convictions on multiple counts and only one count was overturned).
Is a Record Expunction Different from Having Your Criminal Record Sealed?
Yes, expunging and sealing criminal records are different in Texas. The term expunction is often used interchangeably with record sealing, but this is an error. While they have a similar impact on one’s employment prospects, they’re legally quite different. Sealing an arrest just prevents it from being viewed by members of the public, while expunging an arrest or conviction erases it as if it had never occurred.
Under Texas law, someone whose arrest or conviction has been expunged can legally deny that the arrest occurred, and (when placed under oath) may simply answer that the arrest was expunged without providing further information.
Where should you begin if you’re thinking about having a conviction or arrest record expunged?
If you want to pursue expunction, we highly recommend that you contact an attorney experienced with expunging criminal records. Get a copy of your criminal history from the Texas Department of Public Safety to see exactly what shows on a criminal background check. This will help you ensure that your criminal history is complete and that you’re seeking expunction of all eligible records. You need to make an appointment to have your fingerprints taken, certified, and mailed — you’ll then be provided with an official copy of your criminal record within a few weeks and can decide how to proceed.
If you do decide to go forward with expunction, you’ll want to contact a lawyer for record expunctions. The legal process to expunge charges from your criminal record can be complex, and trying (and failing) to expunge records on your own can make further expunction proceedings even more difficult.
It’s also important to note that any out-of-state convictions will need to be challenged or expunged under that state’s laws, even if they’re affecting your ability to find employment or obtain a professional license in Texas. Texas courts don’t have jurisdiction to expunge or overturn other states’ rulings.
Post-mortem Record Expunctions
Family members of a deceased defendant can also petition for expunction on the decedent’s behalf if he or she fits the other criteria. While most of the reasons for expunction are eliminated upon an individual’s death, it can often be important for the surviving friends and family members to be able to formally clear their loved one’s name.
In addition to the expunction of arrest records, conviction records (for individuals who were pardoned or whose sentences were overturned on appeal) can be expunged at the same time and by going through a single process.
There are a few exceptions to expunction regarding files that can be preserved even after a court grants an expunction order. The most common exception involves a situation in which the statute of limitation on the alleged crime has not yet expired and the police have a reasonable belief that additional investigation could lead to re-arrest and prosecution. If they’re able to testify to this before the court, they may be granted waiver to keep certain otherwise-expunged arrest records intact to use for further investigation.
Contact a Record Expunction Lawyer in Fort Worth Today
Call the Hampton Law Firm today at 817-435-2909 or send us an email to request a complimentary case review. If you need a record expunction in Fort Worth, Texas we can help you get one. Let us help you clear your record so that you don’t have anything to worry about during background checks going forward.