If you have been convicted of a crime in Texas, you will undoubtedly face many penalties and consequences. Yet, one of the longest-lasting penalties you will face is having a permanent criminal record. Having a criminal record can adversely affect your entire life and your future opportunities. When this occurs, it is important to know what legal options may be available to you. In some cases, you may be able to have your criminal record sealed through a non-disclosure order or expunged. This can drastically improve your prospects and your future opportunities. It can make it easier to find employment and move on with your life.
At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., our Houston expungements attorneys can help you explore your legal options after a conviction. One mistake does not have to define you. Yet, expungement is not available for everyone. There are requirements you must meet before you can have your record sealed or expunged. As such, it is important to call our law firm to see how we can help you!
A Criminal Record Can Ruin Your Life
Maybe you made a mistake and were convicted of a crime. But you paid your time and want to put the past behind you. Sadly, criminal convictions make it more difficult to move on with your life. It may seem impossible to get a job with a criminal record as employers are often skeptical of hiring an employee with a checkered past. You may not be able to obtain financing or your housing and education opportunities may be limited with a criminal record. In addition, criminal convictions can affect child custody rights, as well as loss of your rights and privileges, such as the right to own firearms.
For these reasons, it is important to explore your available legal options after a conviction. In some cases, you may be able to get your previous criminal charges sealed or expunged from your record. To do this, you must discuss your case with an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., we have spent the last 20 years helping individuals after a criminal conviction. This includes expungement of criminal records.
Expungement in Texas
When you get your criminal record expunged, it is destroyed completely. Expungement effectively erases the record and wipes the slate clean. Because of this, few people qualify for expungement.
In the state of Texas, you must wait a predetermined amount of time before applying for expungement of your criminal record. The amount of time you must wait depends largely on the seriousness of your convicted crime. For example, if you were arrested for a Class A or B misdemeanor, you must wait one year to request expungement. For felonies, the waiting period is considerably longer.
Not everyone can have their record expunged. In fact, it is often extremely difficult to meet the requirements for expungement. By law, you can request an expungement of your record if at least one of the following applies to your situation:
- Charges were dismissed at trial
- Court acquitted you
- Officers arrested you but never charged you
- You were convicted but found innocent
- You received a pardon
Record Sealing in Texas
Even if you do not meet the qualifications for expungement, there are still ways you can protect your future. In some cases, you can have your criminal record sealed. When your record is sealed, only law enforcement officers can view your record. Employers, landlords, and financing officers will not be able to view your criminal history. To do this, you must complete deferred adjudication.
Deferred adjudication is an alternative sentence usually given to first time offenders. To do this, you must enter a guilty plea and the judge must order a deferred judgement rather than finding you guilty. The concept is to defer the judgement while you fulfill probation or community supervision. At the end of your probation, you can then have your record sealed.
Not every crime is eligible for deferred adjudication. DWI and intoxication manslaughter are two examples of crimes that cannot receive deferred adjudication in Texas.
Some crimes are never eligible for record sealing, even if this is your first offense. Those include:
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Human trafficking
- Sex offender registration crimes
- Domestic violence
We Can Help You File For Expungement or Record Sealing
If you are worried about how your criminal record may affect your future, it is important to contact a Houston expungements lawyer immediately. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., we can help you evaluate your legal options and file a Petition for Expunction or Petition for an Order of Non-Disclosure if you qualify. To learn more, call us at (713) 981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We know you have questions and a strong desire to put the past behind you. We can help. Call us today!