When you’re accused of a crime, even an arrest can take a toll on your life. You may face unfair penalties and consequences when that arrest appears on background checks.
You may be eligible for expungement, but how long will that take? While expungement can have a major positive impact on your life, you may be concerned about the time you’ll face penalties. Here’s what you need to know about expungement and what a criminal defense lawyer can do for you.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement, also known as expunction, is a judicial order that directs any recordkeeping agencies with files to remove an individual from their arrest or prosecution records. Potential employers, landlords, and schools may look into these records and decide whether to work with a person or not depending on what they find.
In Texas, having an expungement can remove the individual’s prosecution and arrest records from police departments, prosecutors’ files, and inmate records. However, criminal records can still be used by government agencies, employers, apartments, schools, and credit reporting agencies.
This process is different from sealing a criminal record. That process locks away your record from the public, but certain agencies, like law enforcement, may still be able to access those records.
How Long Will it Take to Get My Record Expunged?
The expungement process in Texas can be a long one. The expungement has to be filed with the proper paperwork. Once filed, it can take around thirty days to schedule a date for an initial hearing.
If the court grants the expungement during the hearing, it can take another 180 days for the local, state, and federal agencies to remove the individual’s records. The entire process usually takes anywhere from four to six weeks.
Getting a criminal record expunged is a confusing and complex process for any individual. That’s why you may need an expungement attorney to guide you through the process, ensuring you take the right steps and avoid getting a denial of your expungement.
What are the Specific Waiting Periods?
Not every record eligible for expunction is subject to a waiting period in Texas. There is no waiting period necessary for those found not guilty, later deemed innocent after being convicted, or pardoned. There is also no waiting period if the attorney for the state decides that these records won’t be needed again for reference in any future legal actions.
There is a one-year waiting period for Class A or B misdemeanors where no charges were filed. This could be marijuana possession or carrying a firearm without a permit.
Even when the accused facing Class A or B misdemeanors have been deemed innocent, their arrest records remain. Having an expunction is an effective way to remove any negatives from their records.
Those arrested but never charged with a felony crime have a waiting period of three years. Because a felony arrest, especially in capital or first-degree felony, has the potential to make law enforcement and prosecutors prejudiced if the person is arrested again in the future, getting an expungement as soon as possible is essential.
Who Can Obtain an Expungement in Texas?
Unfortunately, not all crimes are eligible for expungement. The Texas Penal Code states the basic requirements for an individual to obtain an expungement in Texas. These include, but are not limited to:
- The individual was convicted of the crime, released, or later pardoned from the same crime
- The trial resulted in an acquittal
- The individual entered into a pretrial diversion program instead of an indictment
- The arrest didn’t lead to an indictment
- The indictment was dismissed in court
- The appellate court entered into an order of acquittal
Any individual with any type of pending charge or a serial criminal may not be able to get an expungement in the state of Texas. Talk to your lawyer if you’re concerned about your options for expungement.
Contact an Experienced Expungement Lawyer
Ready to seek expungement of your record and get a blank slate? Contact us here at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC by calling 817-334-7900 or complete the online contact form below. We’re ready to speak with you about your case and what you can do to get your case expunged.