If you’ve ever faced criminal charges, you know how damaging your record can be to your reputation and opportunities. When past mistakes appear on background checks, you might lose employment and academic opportunities. You might also feel shame and stress, your criminal charges hanging onto you like a weight you can’t seem to shake off.
Expunctions eliminate certain past charges from your criminal record. They’re a permanent change that essentially wipes your legal slate clean. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate your best path forward. They can determine whether you qualify for an expunction or if you need alternative methods to rid your record of criminal charges.
We’ve prepared a checklist to help evaluate whether you qualify for an expunction in Texas. We’ve also suggested your best next steps, whether you qualify or you don’t.
Do You Qualify for an Expunction?
To qualify for an expunction in Texas, your record must meet the following standards:
- You were arrested for a crime but never charged.
- Your charge was eventually dismissed.
- You were convicted as a minor for certain alcohol offenses.
- You were charged with certain misdemeanor juvenile offenses.
- You have an arrest, charge, or conviction on your record because of identity theft.
- You were convicted of a crime and later acquitted, meaning you were found not guilty of the accused charges
- You were arrested but the statute of limitations, or maximum time parties have to initiate legal proceedings, has passed for your charge.
- You were convicted of a crime but later pardoned by the president of the United States or the Texas governor.
I Qualify. What’s Next?
If you qualify, your next step is to officially file the expunction paperwork. You’re not required to obtain a lawyer, but partnering with an attorney offers several benefits. Lawyers like ours help evaluate whether you qualify for an expunction and how to best approach your case to ensure your expunction request is accepted.
Once your expunction request has been approved, you can move on with your life without fear or worry about how your criminal record may impact your future.
I Don’t Qualify. What’s Next?
If you don’t qualify for an expunction in Texas, don’t worry. Other options can seal your records without expunging them.
Nondisclosure, or record sealing, permanently seals your criminal record, shielding it from the public eye. Some government agencies still have access to your record, but the average individual, including potential employers, cannot view your criminal background.
Nondisclosures help individuals convicted of certain crimes seal their record from the public, like DWI offenders. Though your record won’t actually be scrubbed clean like an expunction, it will appear to be clean from the perspective of your social circle and potential employers. To file for a nondisclosure, consult the paperwork and review questions you have about the process with a trusted lawyer.
Get a Second Chance with an Expunction Lawyer
At Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC, we’re firm believers in the power of second chances, especially if you’re facing penalties for criminal offenses you were acquitted, pardoned, or not even charged with.
If your criminal record is holding you back, we’re here to help. Reach out to our attorneys today at 817-334-7900 or complete the following online contact form to explore your options and wipe your slate clean.