In our last post, we began discussing how many individuals who have experienced temporary lapses in judgment or who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time may see many aspects of their everyday lives limited thanks to a permanent criminal record.
We also discussed, however, how certain individuals in this unfortunate situation might be able to secure a fresh start via an expunction, which removes all information relating to an arrest, charges or conviction from a person’s permanent criminal record.
In today’s post, we’ll continue our discussion, examining some of the specifics concerning expunctions here in Texas.
What types of records are covered by the state’s expunction law?
Texas permits any of the following records to be expunged from a person’s permanent criminal record:
- Arrests for crimes that were ultimately never charged
- Criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed
- Arrests, charges and convictions later traced to identity theft by another person who was subsequently arrested, charged and convicted of the crime in question
- Convictions later acquitted by either the trial court or the Criminal Court of Appeals
- Convictions later pardoned by the Governor of Texas
Are people automatically eligible for expunctions?
No. Courts will not grant expunctions to those individuals who have received probation or deferred adjudication, or who have been convicted of a felony within five years of the arrest for the offense that they are seeking to have removed from their permanent criminal record.
In addition, expunction is not an option for offenses deemed to be part of a “criminal episode,” and where the person either 1) is facing charges for a different crime that occurred during this episode or 2) was convicted of another crime that occurred during this episode.
How does the statute of limitations come into play?
A person seeking expunction of a dismissed felony charge cannot file a petition if the applicable statute of limitations, meaning the time afforded to the state to prosecute a person for a particular offense, has yet to expire.
As you can probably surmise, the process of securing an expunction is exceedingly complex. As such, those looking to secure a fresh start should strongly consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.