Reasons to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged
- September 6, 2017
- The Law Office of Greg Tsioros
- Comments Off on Reasons to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged
A criminal past can hurt your future in a variety of ways. Expungement, sometimes called expunction, is a type of legal procedure that helps an eligible, deserving individual to have records relating to criminal charges erased from both law enforcement agencies and public records.
Both expungement and sealing of your criminal records are legal remedies to alter your criminal records. However, note the important differences:
- Expungement completely eliminates the criminal record. Your file—and any pertaining documents—are destroyed. It’s as though the record never existed.
- Sealing, also called non-disclosure, limits viewers’ access to the records and makes it more difficult for another party to discover your criminal past. The file and documents relating to it aren’t destroyed. A court order or agency of the government can view your records.
When possible, expungement can wipe the slate clean and help you start life again as a productive member of society.
What Types of Crimes Are Eligible for Expungement in Texas?
You may be eligible for expungement if:
- You were arrested but weren’t charged
- Your charge was dismissed
- Your offense was a qualifying juvenile misdemeanor
- You were arrested for identity theft but another party was arrested, charged, and later convicted of the crime
- You were acquitted by the Criminal Court of Appeals
- You were convicted of “Failure to Attend School”
- You received a pardon from a governor of the President of the United States
You might also qualify to have your records sealed from public viewing. In that case, a government agency or party with a court order can view your records.
Although expungement is considered preferable by most, it might not be an option. You may qualify for a non-disclosure if you’re on deferred adjudication; you successfully completed deferred adjudication, and you haven’t been convicted of an additional offense since that time. However, it’s up to a judge’s discretion to award non-disclosure.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you to demonstrate you’re deserving of expungement—that is, you’ve been rehabilitated and the expungement of the criminal record is now consistent with the public interest.
What types of crimes are ineligible for expungement in Texas?
Chapter 55 of the Texas Criminal Code of Procedure (2005) details the type of criminal charges that may be eligible for expungement in Texas.
In general, violent crimes aren’t eligible for expungement.
The following crimes aren’t eligible for expungement or non-disclosure: 1) aggravated or ‘regular’ sexual assault; 2) prohibited sexual conduct; 3) aggravated kidnapping; 4) indecency with a child; 5) burglary of habitation (with the intent to commit any of the aforementioned offenses); 6) compelling prostitution; 7) child pornography; 8) sexual performance of a child; 9) unlawful restraint, kidnapping/aggravated kidnapping of an individual younger than 17 years of age; 10) murder or capital murder; 11) attempt, conspiracy, solicitation (to commit any of the offenses listed); 12) stalking; 13) injury to an elderly or disabled person, or injury to a child; 14) endangering or abandoning a child; 15) violating a protective order; or 16) family violence.
If you served time for any of these crimes, discuss your best next steps with an experienced criminal attorney.
What Are Some of the Reasons to Pursue Expungement of Your Criminal Record in Texas?
There are many reasons to pursue expungement. Some common reasons include:
- Applying for insurance: If an insurer finds you were convicted, it may charge extraordinarily high premiums. Depending on the crime you committed, the insurance company may decline to insure you at all.
- Applying for a loan: A criminal record presents obstacles when you apply for a loan. A bank or credit union might hesitate to loan money to you and, if it does, you’re likely to be charged a higher than market interest rate.
- Educational difficulties: If you’re a student, you might not receive private or federal financial aid because of the past criminal conviction. If you’re enrolled in school, the college or university might expel you and cancel your grant funds. You could become ineligible for awards or honors. Finally, a college or university might deny admission based on your criminal record.
- Housing-related issues: Some landlords or real estate/housing agencies might refuse to provide services or allow you to rent an apartment or property if you have a criminal record.
- Employment problems: If you’re working and didn’t disclose a criminal record, you might be terminated after the employer performs a background check. If you’re looking for a job, the employer might decide to hire you after they learn about your past.
- Firearm restrictions or barriers: Your right to own or buy any sort of firearms may be restricted or banned if you have a criminal record.
- Volunteerism, public or community service issues: Depending on the institution, your criminal record might prevent the organization from allowing you to volunteer.
- Adoption challenges: If you have a criminal record, your ability to adopt a child might be challenged or denied.
- Certification and licensure barriers: The state or organization might decline to certify or license you if you have a criminal record.
- Social support and aid: If you have a criminal record, the state is likely to decline your request for transitional assistance (TANF) or food stamps (SNAP). You may be denied federal-assisted housing. If you want to volunteer to serve in the armed forces, you may be ineligible for induction.
With limited exceptions, an individual having his or her criminal record expunged in released from social disabilities and penalties that result from the previously committed crime. With other limited exceptions, it allows the previously convicted person to state on an application for employment, civil right, privilege, or appearance as a court witness, that he or she hasn’t been convicted of a crime.
Finally, consider your peace of mind. With all the other practical reasons to expunge your criminal record, a personal release of your criminal conviction can help you to feel free once more. Your slate is truly clean. You can embrace your role as a contributing member of society. Expungement can help you to put the past behind you, once and for all.
Expungement Eradicates a Past Criminal Record in Texas
Even if you’re emotionally past a criminal conviction, it’s the unfortunate truth that your criminal record will follow you—everywhere.
Our digital society makes it difficult, if not impossible, to avoid having a potential employer, lender, college, university, licensing body or otherwise significant individual from accessing your criminal record.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can positively affect the outcome of your expungement or non-disclosure petition. His insight can make the difference you need to obtain expungement of your criminal record.
It is definitely worth the effort, time, and money to expunge your records. A clean record can help you get a job you really want, a loan you need to buy a car or home or obtain an education, license, or certificate you need to get achieve your career or financial goals.
Don’t let a single mistake direct the rest of your life. Contact The Law Office of Greg Tsioros in Houston to learn more about expungement at 832-752-5972 now.