Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience that can have an impact on your life. It can impact not only the near future, but the rest of your life. A criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, secure credit/housing, and your standing in the community. One of the most common questions an individual charged with a crime forgets to ask is if they will be eligible to clear their criminal record at the conclusion of their case. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to ask about expunction. Oftentimes their lawyer also fails to tell them. The outcome of their case will determine if they can clear their name.

There are two ways to clear or seal your criminal record. One is by the process of expunction of criminal records, most easily understood as purging your file. The other is by filing a petition for non-disclosure. Both work in similar ways, however, they have a different outcome after court approval. It is important to understand the difference between an Expunction of a criminal record and the Non-Disclosure of a Criminal Record.

Expunction Eligibility

Under Chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a petitioner is entitled to have all records and files concerning an arrest expunged. This process results in completely erasing your record.

You may be able to clear your arrest record if:

  • Charges were never filed;
  • Charges were filed, but then dismissed;
  • You were acquitted;
  • You were pardoned or otherwise granted relief based on your actual innocence; or
  • You have not been tried and the prosecutor recommends expunction.

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If you qualify for an expunction based on one of the above situations and some other conditions, a lawyer can help prepare all of the paperwork and appear with you at the hearing you will be required to attend. If your petition is granted, the lawyer will make sure all the petitioned databases have removed your name from their records.

The most important advantage of sealing or erasing your record is that a signed order by the judge will secure your ability to withhold disclosure of a crime committed or being arrested for that crime.

For more information on Expunctions and Non-Disclosure call Gary Tabakman at 713-429-1624 or email at Gary@GTlawfirm.com.