Every day, Houstonians are arrested for crimes they didn’t commit, with the charges later being dropped or they are found not guilty in court. But most people don’t realize that being arrested for a crime they were later not convicted of can still hang around on their arrest record and affect the rest of their lives.
Remember, arrest records are public records, and they can be accessed by potential employers, landlords, potential lovers, current lovers, and even your nosy neighbors, friends and family. That hardly seems fair!
At Blass Law we are committed to protecting your rights and protecting your name. There are various methods to clean up your background depending on the outcome of your arrest. An expunction of criminal records is the procedure for a case that has been dismissed. This is a civil lawsuit against all of the agencies that have records relating to your arrest. This lawsuit requires all agencies to destroy records relating to your arrest.
If you successfully completed a probation or deferred adjudication probation, or even a conviction, you are probably eligible for a nondisclosure. A nondisclosure will seal your arrest and charges from everyone except the government. Private companies or entities will not know about your arrest or the charges. This will open up new job opportunities and many other things in your life.
You may be eligible for expunction of your criminal record if:
- You were arrested for a crime, but never charged
- You had charges brought against you, but they were eventually dismissed
- You were found not guilty of a crime in court at trial
- You received a formal pardon from the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States. (This is not a likely occurrence)
- You were a victim of identity theft
Of course, there are a range of other legal conditions surrounding expunction cases. For example, you cannot have been convicted of a felony within five years of the arrest you’re trying to have expunged. Also, the statute of limitations for the crime you’re trying to remove from your record cannot have passed.
Are You a Candidate for Record Expunction?
We all go through great lengths to protect our private information, but often overlook one of the most important and powerful elements of our personal profiles. The security of our social security numbers, credit card numbers, and important legal documents are of utmost importance because of the rising risk of identity theft. However, our legal backgrounds sometimes contain information that is detrimental to our personal and professional lives if revealed. If you have ever been charged with or convicted of a crime, the details are visible to potential employers, law enforcement, and anyone else who conducts a thorough background check on you. Contact an expunction attorney who can get your record cleared ASAP.
What if I was charged with a misdemeanor or felony but the charges were dropped or I was not convicted?
If you have ever been charged with a misdemeanor or felony and the case was dismissed. This still shows up on a background check. Arrests do not disappear from public record when you are found not guilty or the charges are dismissed. Even if you were not convicted of a crime, numerous agencies have records of the arrest. This will always show up on a background check until it is expunged. Your expunction lawyer can file a lawsuit to sue all agencies that have records relating to your arrest and force them to destroy these records. The sooner you contact us to start the process, the sooner you will be enjoying the benefits of a spotless record.
What if I am not eligible for an expunction?
Not to worry. If you are ineligible for an expunction you have another alternative. Your expungement lawyer can file a petition for non-disclosure with the court to have your record permanently sealed. When your record is sealed, you can legally deny all allegations.
Am I eligible if I plead guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor or felony?
You aren’t eligible for an expunction but you could be eligible for a nondisclosure. If you plead guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor or felony charge and received deferred adjudication, you can still have your record sealed. If the charge is your first offense, you are likely entitled to have your record sealed after two years. The circumstances of the case and your prior convictions and charges have a bearing on your eligibility.
How far back can my record be expunged?
There is no limit on what you can get expunged. It’s never too late to clean up your record! We really mean never, it’s even possible to clean up someone’s record if they have passed away. The statute of limitations varies, but we have been successful in getting immediate expunctions for most of our clients. The faster you initiate the expunction process the better, as you do not want criminal charges on your record when you are eligible for an expunction.
Why should I get my record expunged?
Your criminal background has far reaching implications, and can affect one’s ability to get student loans, get a job, get an apartment or house, earn trade certificates, and participate in children’s activities. Teachers, medical professionals, counselors, lawyers, architects, contractors, commercial drivers, and countless others cannot work in Texas without a clean record. Criminal records impact your voting rights, housing options, job opportunities, and educational possibilities.
How much does it cost to get my record expunged?
Record expunctions are one of the least expensive legal procedures, and the rewards you receive from your small investment exponentially outweigh the dollar amount. The fees vary depending on the number of allegations in question, as well as the severity and time since the incident.
How long does it take to get my record expunged?
It will take a few months for the legal process to run its course, but a clean record is well worth it in the end. Once your record is expunged, it will remain clear of any previous allegations. Sealed records will also remain unobtainable indefinitely.
That depends on the statute of limitations for the offense. Most misdemeanors have a two year waiting period. Most felonies have a 5 year waiting period. In some cases the district attorney can agree to an early expunction.
Statute of Limitations in Texas for Felony Offenses
|Murder and manslaughter||No time limit|
|Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault||No time limit|
|Offenses against young children||No time limit|
|Failure to stop and render aid when the accident resulted in death||No time limit|
|Trafficking of persons||No time limit|
|Offenses related to theft by a fiduciary||10 years|
|Theft by a public servant of government property||10 years|
|Injury to the elderly or disabled||10 years|
|Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault||10 years|
|Compelling prostitution||10 years|
|Misappropriation of fiduciary property||7 years|
|Securing execution of a document by deception||7 years|
|Money laundering||7 years|
|Credit card or debit card abuse||7 years|
|Fraudulent use of identifying information or possession of identifying information||7 years|
|Medicaid fraud||7 years|
|Robbery or felony theft||5 years|
|Kidnapping or burglary||5 years|
|Injury to an elderly or disabled individual||5 years|
|Child endangerment or child abandonment||5 years|
|Insurance fraud||5 years|
|Sexual performance by a child, if the child is younger than 17||20 years from 18th birthday of the victim|
|Other felonies||3 years|
Statue of Limitations for Misdemeanor Offenses
Misdemeanors in Texas
|Prostitution and promotion of prostitution||Within 2 years|
|Possession of marijuana less than 2 ounces||Within 2 years|
|Theft of property less than $100||Within 2 years|
|Other misdemeanors||Within 2 years|