A criminal record has the potential to inhibit your opportunities for employment, housing, credit, education, and even volunteering for the rest of your life. You might also have to pay a hefty price for a past mistake.
Expungement is an available legal procedure that wipes your record clean. However, the process is complicated and could take some time, making it important to have a dedicated defense attorney and team on your side. Engaging a Plano expungement lawyer could ensure you meet all the requirements and take full advantage of the fresh start expungement offers.
Who Qualifies For Expungement?
Notably, not everyone who has a criminal record could qualify for expungement. Texas Code of Civil Procedure §55.01 identifies people in the following situations as eligible to apply:
- Individuals who were charged or indicted but the charges were dismissed, and the statute of limitations has expired
- Defendants who were acquitted at trial
- Defendants who were convicted at trial but were later acknowledged to be innocent
- Defendants who were convicted but have received a pardon
In addition, someone who was arrested but never charged could apply for an expungement after a waiting period has passed. If the suspected crime was a Class C misdemeanor, the waiting period is 180 days from the date of arrest.
However, if the suspected crime was a Class B or A misdemeanor, the individual must wait one year from their arrest date before applying for an expungement. If the suspected crime was a felony, the waiting period is three years from the date of arrest.
A seasoned attorney and legal team in Plano could help an individual through the expungement process or discuss other procedures that might help an individual clear their record.
Beginning The Expungement Procedure
A person seeking expungement must file a petition with the court with jurisdiction over the case they want expunged. This petition must state the petitioner’s identifying information, including their name, race, gender, social security number, and the address where they lived when they were arrested. They also must provide information about the matter they want expunged, such as their date of arrest, the crime charged, and the arresting agency.
The petition must also contain the name and address of every agency that currently has a copy of the record the petitioner seeks to expunge. Local Public Safety offices could provide lists of these agencies and addresses.
What If The System Objects To A Party’s Expungement?
Law enforcement or a prosecutor’s office might object to the expungement. In that case, the court will schedule a hearing. The petitioner’s local lawyer must then present evidence proving that the petitioner is eligible and show why expungement serves the public good. Evidence of this might include the individual’s record since the offense, rehabilitation, and opportunities they might pursue once the criminal record is removed.
Results Of An Expungement In Plano
Expungement does not lead to the immediate destruction of the individual’s criminal record. All agencies that have the record-the ones named in the petition-will receive a copy of the order. Everyone who holds a physical copy of the record must deliver it to the court clerk, but any available copies are generally archived in a way that prevents most access.
The court, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors will still have access to the record, but they may not disclose it, so background checks and other inquiries from the public come back clean. An experienced lawyer in Plano could provide specific information concerning when information about an expunged matter might be available and to whom.
Allow A Plano Expungement Attorney To Help Your Reputation
There is no reason to allow a past brush with the criminal justice system to color your future. Expungement could provide you the opportunity to move forward as if the past never happened.
Talk to a board-certified Plano expungement lawyer about starting the process of clearing your record. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will be free of the stigma, so call today to get started.