A criminal record could inhibit you from living your best life. It might prevent you from continuing your education or applying for a professional license. A criminal history could also disqualify you from getting a lease or mortgage, and prohibit you from obtaining certain jobs.
Expungement is a process that could wipe your record clean, at least as far as the public is concerned. Once your record is expunged, you could legally answer “No” when asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.
The procedure for applying for expungement is complex, and it is not available to everyone. A Frisco expungement lawyer can help you navigate the process. Reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with the Barbieri Law Firm today to get started.
The Expungement Process is Complex
An individual seeking expungement must first file a petition with the court. This petition requires the person to identify the matter they wish to expunge along with every agency that might have been involved and maintained a copy of the record. The petitioner could obtain a list of the involved agencies at a local Public Safety Office.
The court will decide if the petitioner qualifies for an expungement, and if so, will hold a hearing inviting all the named agencies, including the police and prosecutor’s office. At the hearing, those agencies have an opportunity to object, and the petitioner’s attorney may present evidence supporting the case for expungement.
The court will then grant or deny the expungement. If the court grants it, the petitioner will need to secure a court order to deliver to all the agencies that have copies of the petitioner’s record. The order will direct the agencies to expunge their own copy. The entire expungement process is complex and can be difficult to manage alone. An experienced expungement attorney in Frisco can guide you through each and every step toward getting your record cleared.
Expungement Does Not Provide a Completely Clean Slate
Expungement does not mean that the individual’s criminal record is destroyed. Instead, the court clerk will receive all hard copies of the record in existence, and any electronic copies will be archived in a secure manner.
Once the expungement process is complete, which could take several months, the record should not appear in a criminal background check. An individual with an expunged record could rest assured that potential employers, creditors, landlords, or the public cannot gain access to their criminal history.
However, law enforcement and prosecutors still have access to the information in the record. Therefore, if a petitioner is ever arrested in the future, the expunged crime could be a factor when the prosecutor makes charging decisions. A dedicated lawyer can explain all the circumstances in which an expunged record could be available for review.
Requirements to Apply for Expungement
Murder, sex crimes, domestic violence, abuse of vulnerable people, crimes involving children, most violent crimes, and driving while intoxicated offenses are not eligible for expungement. A Frisco expungement attorney could review your specific circumstances to determine whether expunging a criminal record is an option.
In the case of other crimes, expungement is available to anyone who was acquitted at a trial or who was found guilty but later evidence proved their innocence. If an individual was charged with a crime but never brought to trial and the statute of limitations has expired, they could apply for an expungement. In addition, people who have received a pardon for their crime are eligible for expungement.
The Texas Code of Civil Procedure § 55.01 allows people who were arrested but never charged to apply to have their arrest record expunged. However, the law requires a waiting period, presumably to allow police and prosecutors time to charge the person if relevant evidence is found. Waiting periods range from 180 days if the person was arrested on suspicion of committing a Class C misdemeanor, to three years if the suspected crime was a felony.
Get Help Clearing Your Record From a Frisco Expungement Attorney
When a mistake you made years ago still impacts the important areas of your life, it may be time to take action. There is no reason not to take advantage of a law that allows you a fresh start.
A Frisco expungement lawyer could help guide you through the process. Even though the procedure is complicated, the result is certainly worth it. Get in touch today to schedule your consultation with a skilled attorney at Barbieri Law Firm.