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Expunction and Background Checks in Texas

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Expunction and Background Checks in Texas

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Some people in Texas may have heard of the legal term “expunction”. This term refers to a legal actions in which a criminal conviction is removed from a person’s criminal record. In effect, this may prevent future employers from finding out about the charge on a background check.

Of course, this is a good thing, but expungement can be a complex process. Getting one requires effort on the part of the defendant and not everyone will be eligible. They are only granted under very specific circumstances.

How Does Expungement Work?

When a person is arrested for a crime, the police create an arrest report about the incident. This report contains the person’s personal information, the details of the arrest and the crime for which the person was arrested. This information is then placed on file with the police, the prosecutor, the court clerk and the DPS.

Expunction removes these records from the files. For most purposes, it will appear as if the arrest never took place.

How Does Expunction Affect Background Checks?

When a person applies for a job, they may be subject to a background check. This is usually done by an employer who hires a company to search for the applicant’s criminal history. In Texas, the DPS usually provides the records to be searched.

If any criminal arrests are found on the record, the person may be denied the job. Employers are legally allowed to deny employment to applicants with certain criminal histories. However, they must use factual, verified information in order to do this. An order of expungement can remove an arrest or conviction from a person’s criminal record. Without the record, the employer has no verifiable information with which to deny employment.

A person who has been granted an order of expunction is legally allowed to deny that they were ever arrested for or charged with that crime.

Am I Eligible for an Expunction?

Not all crimes are eligible. In most cases, there are certain requirements that must be met. These requirements can include:

  • An arrest that ended in a dismissal of the charges
  • An arrest that did not lead to charges being filed in court
  • Successfully completing deferred adjudication probation for a Class C misdemeanor
  • Certain alcohol offenses for minors under the age of 21

If a person meets one or more of these requirements, they may be eligible to file.

How Do I Get An Expunction?

Successfully obtaining an order of expungement requires a process with several steps. Each step must be completed correctly or the expungement may not be granted. The steps include:

      • Drafting a Petition for Expunction
      • File the petition with the appropriate district court clerk
      • Pay any required filing fees
      • Draft an Order of Expunction
      • File the order with the district attorney
      • Get the district attorney to sign the order
      • Submit the signed order to the judge and all other relevant parties

There is no guarantee that your petition will be accepted or that an Order of Expunction will be signed. It is up to the district attorney and judge to determine if the order will be granted.

It is always a good idea to consult a lawyer before filing. An attorney will be able provide guidance through each step of the process so that nothing is overlooked or completed incorrectly.

For more information about expunction eligibility and filing requirements, contact The Law Office of Greg Tsioros. Call 832-752-5972 or email today!

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