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Expunction in Texas: Do I Need an Attorney?

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Expunction in Texas: Do I Need an Attorney?

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Being arrested in Texas can have long-lasting consequences. Many people may not realize that an arrest can be logged into a person’s criminal record and remain there indefinitely. This means that even if a person is arrested and then released without being convicted of a crime, they may still have an entry on their record. This record could show up on a background check or criminal history check. If this record is discovered, it could lead to the denial of jobs and benefits.

Fortunately, it’s possible to get an order of expungement for certain legal offenses. This means that the criminal record of a certain offense is effectively erased. However, getting an order of expunction is not easy.

Hiring an Attorney for Expunction Cases

Not everyone will be eligible for an expunction order. Even for those who are eligible, the process of obtaining an expungement involves several detailed steps. Some of these steps include:

  • Getting a copy of a criminal record from the court
  • Obtain a copy of fingerprints
  • Drafting a petition for an order of expunction
  • Submitting that petition to the appropriate court
  • Pay required filing fees
  • Notify all relevant police departments and court agencies

It may be possible to complete all of these steps in the correct order without making any mistakes. However, making even a slight error could mean that the entire process will have to be repeated or that the petition will be denied.

Attorneys are familiar with the steps in this process. They may also already have relationships with the court officers and police agencies that are involved in the process. Hiring an attorney can be an insurance against errors and an attorney can help expedite the process.

Legal Alternatives

Getting an order of expungement is not guaranteed. Only certain crimes are eligible for expunctions, including:

  • Non-violent misdemeanors
  • Offenses for which the defendant was acquitted
  • Arrests that did not lead to a conviction
  • Offenses that lead to deferred adjudication

If a petition for expungement is denied, there may still be legal options. For example, it may still be possible to obtain an order of non-disclosure. This alternative seals a person’s criminal history so that they do not have to report it during job interviews and in certain other cases.

While not as thorough as an order of expunction, an order of non-disclosure is still very useful for defendants who are trying to move on with their lives. This is another instance when hiring an attorney can be extremely useful.

If the expunction order is denied, the attorney may be able to begin the process of filing for an order of non-disclosure immediately. If it is not possible to begin the filing process immediately, then an attorney may at least be able to offer advice on the best course to take in the meantime.

Do I Need an Attorney?

In summary, hiring an attorney is not a requirement for filing a petition for an order of expunction. However, the process for getting a petition for expungement approved is a technical and complex legal procedure. It is not generally advisable to attempt to complete this process without the help of a legal professional. The benefits of hiring an attorney can include:

  • Faster completion of the petition process
  • The attorney knows which court and police officials to contact
  • The attorney can help fill out the legal forms correctly

Hiring an attorney is the best way to pursue an order of expunction. The benefits gained by hiring a lawyer can be well worth the cost. After all, getting a criminal record expunged can lead to a future that is free of the stigma of a past arrest.

If you’ve been arrested for fraud in Houston or surrounding areas, contact The Law Office of Greg Tsioros. We can help protect your rights and preserve your freedom. Call 832-752-5972 or email today for a free, confidential consultation.

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