CAN I APPLY FOR EXPUNGEMENT MYSELF IN TEXAS
After being arrested in Texas, life does not stop. If qualified, you can petition the court for expunction (often called expungement) as provided for in Section 55 of Texas Law on Criminal Procedure. You can do it yourself by completing and filing a petition before the court and wait for the pronouncement of the Judge. You can also seek help from an Attorney with indispensable knowledge about the challenging process of Expunction to avoid any technicalities and delays.
WHEN CAN I PETITION TO EXPUNGE MY RECORDS?
You can petition to expunge your criminal records in Texas as soon as the law allows you, which is usually after the case is complete (dismissed) and the appropriate waiting period, if any, is met. . Often times, it is available as soon as you are arrested and no case is filed. If you are arrested and a case is filed, it is available after the pre trial diversion. If you are arrested and there is a case filed and after trial you are acquitted on appeal, you can file the petition. While there are waiting periods involved, one should be very diligent and well informed about the process of obtaining a successful Expunction. Otherwise, the right might be legally not available.
HOW SOON CAN A PERSON KNOW THAT EXPUNGEMENT IS NOT AVAILABLE
As a general rule the following persons are not eligible for Expunction in Texas, to wit:
a. a person with a felony conviction in his or her record in the preceding five years before the arrest ; and
b. If a person has been convicted of a crime other than a Class C misdemeanor.
As an exception to the foregoing general rule, Expunction may be available for drug court convictions. If a Texas Expunction is not viable in your case, you may still be eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure. It is very important to know the intricacies of these legal remedies for your advantage. Make sure to know what is available to you or you can ask an Attorney to thoroughly evaluate and explain to you what is preeminent for your case.
HOW TO START THE PETITION FOR EXPUNCTION
Attorney Mathew Higbee says the time it takes to expunge a record varies by court. “Which court, what time of year, and the age of the record , which often affects the accessibility of the record, are all variables that affect how long it takes to expunge a record, in Texas,” said Higbee. Typically, expungement takes 2 to 4 months in Texas.
The smartest way to start the Petition for Expunction is to verify and secure a copy of your criminal records. In the State of Texas, these criminal records are under the custody of Texas Department of Public Safety. Carefully review what are written there and take note all the criminal incidents that you find so you or your Attorney can properly address them. Also make sure there are no mistakes on your criminal record.