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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RECORD EXPUNCTIONS IN HOUSTON
December 26, 2022 at 10:00 PM
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The sting of a criminal record can be long-lasting and painful, but in some cases, there is a cure for that sting. It is possible to have your criminal record – an arrest, a charge, or a conviction – removed permanently. This process allows those with a criminal record to move forward with their lives with the weight of a criminal record lifted from their shoulders, allowing them to live free and unencumbered by past mistakes.

WHAT IS RECORD EXPUNCTION?

Record expunction refers to the legal process of having criminal charges, arrests, or convictions removed entirely from a person's record. The removal is absolute and complete, and the person whose record had been expunged can even deny that they have any criminal history at all. Record expunction in Houston is a magic wand, erasing all traces of any interaction with the police or judicial system.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR RECORD EXPUNCTION IN HOUSTON?

Not all crimes are eligible for expunction. Only certain records can be expunged, including those with

  • Dismissed criminal charges
  • Crimes that a person was arrested for but never formally charged with
  • Some misdemeanor juvenile offenses
  • Alcohol-related offenses by minors, conditionally
  • Truancy charges
  • Identity theft, whether the offender was arrested, charged, or convicted
  • Convictions that were later acquitted by the Trial Court of Appeals
  • Convictions pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States
  • For juveniles, no more than one crime incurring a fine was committed

While any of the above offenses are technically eligible for record expunction in Houston, it does not necessarily mean an expunction will be granted. The courts can withhold expunction under many circumstances, including

  • If you have criminal charges pending for a separate crime
  • You have been convicted of a felony within five years of the episode you wish to have expunged
  • You were placed on probation
  • If your crime was part of a “criminal episode”, meaning that two or more criminal offenses were being carried out at one time.

HOW CAN A LAWYER HELP WITH RECORD EXPUNCTION IN HOUSTON?

Having your criminal record expunged is a highly complex legal process. Your expert record expunction attorney will know the time limits for applications for expunction, plus the paperwork and presentations in court that are necessary for you to have the best chance for record expunction. Ultimately, a court may decide that having a record expunged is “not in the best interest of justice”, in which case your lawyer will re-strategize and adjust your case.

CAN I HAVE MY RECORD SEALED IF THE RECORD EXPUNCTION IN HOUSTON IS DENIED?

If your expunction petition is denied, your lawyer can help with additional solutions, such as having your record sealed. Sealing criminal records in Texas is a different process to expunction. Sealing doesn't wipe the slate clean; it does, however, significantly limit when your criminal information can be accessed, and by whom. Sealing your record can restrict access by employers, the general public, and private investigators. A critical difference between record expunction and sealing is that certain agencies, including law enforcement, schools, hospitals, and municipal hiring centers will still have access to your sealed record.

Sealing criminal records is a complicated process that is not achievable without the close counsel of a record expunction attorney. Therefore, whether you are seeking an expunction or a sealing of records, hiring an attorney who is well-versed in these processes is paramount.

WHO SHOULD YOU CONSULT FOR RECORD EXPUNCTION IN HOUSTON?