Clearing Your Criminal Arrest Record
A criminal record can prevent you from obtaining a job, professional license and pursuing a great many activities. It can also tarnish your personal and professional reputation. For over 20 years, the lawyers at Hildreth & Rueda, in Austin, have assisted individuals in clearing their criminal record so that they can get on with their lives.
Criminal Expunction And Destroying OF Criminal Records
Many people have the misconception that if their case is dismissed, the records no longer exist. Unfortunately, getting the case dismissed does not mean that the records disappear. The fact that you were arrested will still show up on criminal background checks unless you take the necessary steps to ensure they are obliterated. That necessary step is to file a petition for Expunction.
An expunction is the process of having records of arrest permanently hidden from public view. Failure to obliterate an expunged record is a class B misdemeanor. Yes, the law actually requires that expunged records be “obliterated.” If your record is expunged you can deny ever being arrested (unless you are under oath in a criminal case, in which case you may answer that the case was expunged).
Who Qualifies For An Expunction?
Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure contains the requirements and procedures to properly expunge records in Texas. To sum up the code below, you may qualify if: 1) You were arrested but no case was ever filed or indicted, or 2) you were arrested and your case was dismissed, 3) you were found Not Guilty by a judge or jury, 4) you successfully completed a Government Pretrial Diversion Program or 5) you were convicted but later pardoned.
Art. 55.01. Right to Expunction. (a) A person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
(1) the person is tried for the offense for which the person was arrested and is:
(A) acquitted by the trial court, except as provided by Subsection (c); or
(B) convicted and subsequently:
(i) pardoned for a reason other than that described by Subparagraph (ii); or
(ii) pardoned or otherwise granted relief on the basis of actual innocence with respect to that offense, if the applicable pardon or court order clearly indicates on its face that the pardon or order was granted or rendered on the basis of the person’s actual innocence; or
(2) the person has been released and the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court-ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 for the offense, unless the offense is a Class C misdemeanor, provided that:
(A) regardless of whether any statute of limitations exists for the offense and whether any limitations period for the offense has expired, an indictment or information charging the person with the commission of a misdemeanor offense based on the person’s arrest or charging the person with the commission of any felony offense arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested:
(i) has not been presented against the person at any time following the arrest, and:
(a) at least 180 days have elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a Class C misdemeanor and if there was no felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested;
(b) at least one year has elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a Class B or A misdemeanor and if there was no felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested;
(c) at least three years have elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a felony or if there was a felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested; or
(d) the attorney representing the state certifies that the applicable arrest records and files are not needed for use in any criminal investigation or prosecution, including an investigation or prosecution of another person; or
(ii) if presented at any time following the arrest, was dismissed or quashed, and the court finds that the indictment or information was dismissed or quashed because the person completed a pretrial intervention program authorized under Section 76.011, Government Code, because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of the dismissal to believe the person committed the offense, or because the indictment or information was void; or
(B) prosecution of the person for the offense for which the person was arrested is no longer possible because the limitations period has expired.
(a-1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a person may not expunge records and files relating to an arrest that occurs pursuant to a warrant issued under Section 21, Article 42.12.
(a-2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a person who intentionally or knowingly absconds from the jurisdiction after being released under Chapter 17 following an arrest is not eligible under Subsection (a)(2)(A)(i)(a), (b), or (c) or Subsection (a)(2)(B) for an expunction of the records and files relating to that arrest.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a district court may expunge all records and files relating to the arrest of a person who has been arrested for commission of a felony or misdemeanor under the procedure established under Article 55.02 if:
(1) the person is:
(A) tried for the offense for which the person was arrested;
(B) convicted of the offense; and
(C) acquitted by the court of criminal appeals or, if the period for granting a petition for discretionary review has expired, by a court of appeals; or
(2) an office of the attorney representing the state authorized by law to prosecute the offense for which the person was arrested recommends the expunction to the appropriate district court before the person is tried for the offense, regardless of whether an indictment or information has been presented against the person in relation to the offense.
(c) A court may not order the expunction of records and files relating to an arrest for an offense for which a person is subsequently acquitted, whether by the trial court, a court of appeals, or the court of criminal appeals, if the offense for which the person was acquitted arose out of a criminal episode, as defined by Section 3.01, Penal Code, and the person was convicted of or remains subject to prosecution for at least one other offense occurring during the criminal episode.
(d) A person is entitled to have any information that identifies the person, including the person’s name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and social security number, contained in records and files relating to the arrest of another person expunged if:
(1) the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement to expunction was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person’s identifying information without the consent of the person asserting the entitlement; and
(2) the only reason for the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement being contained in the arrest records and files of the person arrested is that the information was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person’s identifying information.