Do You Need to Expunge Your Record?
Looney, Smith & Conrad, Expungement Attorneys
Clearing a Texas Criminal Record
With more than 80 percent of employers, landlords, and credit agencies conducting criminal background checks, having a clean record makes a difference during a job search and may be the key to a better paying job. A clean record can mean better job opportunities and a better quality of life.
In Texas, there are several ways a person can clean up a criminal record including offers setting aside convictions, petitions for nondisclosure and expungement.
Expungement means the court orders destruction of all records of both the arrest and prosecution of a criminal case. Under Texas law, a person is allowed expunction of an arrest if it did not end in a conviction or some type of community supervision.
A person can also expunge class C misdemeanors if it terminated in a successful completion of a deferred adjudication. It is then against Texas law to use or disclose the existence of expunged records by any entity for any purpose.
The person with the expunged records can deny the arrest and prosecution and even the expunction order itself, unless being questioned under oath in a criminal court (in which case they need only respond that the matter has been expunged). They can even deny the case ever occurred when applying for government and law enforcement jobs.
Expunction proceedings are complex and simple mistakes can start the process over again. A post-conviction attorney can also write letters to the person’s potential employers to let them know the case has been scheduled for expunction or non-disclosure and will soon have the person’s record cleared.
Right to Expunction
A person has the right to expunction 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 veterans treatment court program created under Chapter 124, Government Code, or former law, subject to Subsection (a-3);
- the person completed a mental health court program created under Chapter 125, Government Code, or former law, subject to Subsection (a-4);
- the person completed a pretrial intervention program authorized under Section 76.011, Government Code, other than a veterans treatment court program created under Chapter 124, Government Code, or former law, or a mental health court program created under Chapter 125, Government Code, or former law;
- 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
- the indictment or information was void.
A person is eligible under Subsection (a)(2)(A)(ii)(b) for an expunction of arrest records and files only if:
- the person has not previously received an expunction of arrest records and files under that sub-subparagraph; and
- the person submits to the court an affidavit attesting to that fact.
Procedure for Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision; Felonies and Certain Misdemeanors
This section applies only to a person placed on deferred adjudication community supervision under Subchapter C, Chapter 42A, Code of Criminal Procedure, who:
- is not eligible to receive an order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information under Section 411.072; and
- was placed on deferred adjudication community supervision or an offense other than an offense under Section 49.04 or 49.06, Penal Code.
Art. 45.051.Suspension of Sentence and Deferral of Final Disposition
On a plea of guilty or nolo contendere by a defendant or on a finding of guilt in a misdemeanor case punishable by fine only and payment of all court costs, the judge may defer further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and place the defendant on probation for a period not to exceed 180 days. In issuing the order of deferral, the judge may impose a special expense fee on the defendant in an amount not to exceed the amount of the fine that could be imposed on the defendant as punishment for the offense. The special expense fee may be collected at any time before the date on which the period of probation ends. The judge may elect not to impose the special expense fee for good cause shown by the defendant. If the judge orders the collection of a special expense fee, the judge shall require that the amount of the special expense fee be credited toward the payment of the amount of the fine imposed by the judge. An order of deferral under this subsection terminates any liability under a bond given for the charge.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, as an alternative to requiring a defendant charged with one or more offenses to make payment of all court costs as required by Subsection (a), the judge may:
- allow the defendant to enter into an agreement for payment of those costs in installments during the defendant’s period of probation;
- require an eligible defendant to discharge all or part of those costs by performing community service or attending a tutoring program under Article 45.049 or 45.0492; or
- take any combination of actions authorized by Subdivision (1) or (2).
During the deferral period, the judge may require the defendant to:
- post a bond in the amount of the fine assessed to secure payment of the fine;
- pay restitution to the victim of the offense in an amount not to exceed the fine assessed;
- submit to professional counseling;
- submit to diagnostic testing for alcohol or a controlled substance or drug;
- submit to a psychosocial assessment;
- participate in an alcohol or drug abuse treatment or education program, such as (A)a drug education program that is designed to educate persons on the dangers of drug abuse and is approved by the Department of State Health Services in accordance with Section 521.374 Transportation Code; or (B)an alcohol awareness program described by Section 106.115, Alcoholic Beverage Code:
- pay the costs of any diagnostic testing; psychosocial assessment, or participation in a treatment or education program either directly or through the court as court costs;
- complete a driving safety course approved under Chapter 1001, Education Code, or another course as directed by the judge;
- present to the court satisfactory evidence that the defendant has complied with each requirement imposed by the judge under this article; and
- comply with any other reasonable condition.
If the defendant is younger than 25 years of age and the offense committed by the defendant is a traffic offense classified as a moving violation:
- subsection (b)(8) does not apply;
- during the deferral period, the judge (A)shall require the defendant to complete a driving safety course approved under Chapter 1001, Education Code; and (B)may require the defendant to complete an additional driving safety course designed for drivers younger than 25 years of age and approved under Section 1001.111.Education Code; and
- if the defendant holds a provisional license, during the deferral period the judge shall require that the defendant be examined by the Department of Public Safety as required by Section 521.161(b)(2), Transportation Code; a defendant is not exempt from the examination regardless of whether te defendant was examined previously.
Benefits of Expungement
Employment: 99% of employers conduct a criminal background check. Don’t let your past interfere with your future. This includes those who hold a professional license.
Education: 68% of universities collect criminal data on applicants. A criminal history can also affect eligibility for scholarships and student loans.
Adoption: Social workers consider former convictions when determining who is eligible to adopt.
Reputation: Many people feel a sense of relief when they no longer have a criminal record and feel their reputation has been restored.
For assistance, contact the Best Expungement Attorneys at Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C. at 281-597-8818.
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