A criminal record in Texas can haunt you for many years. Even minor offenses from your youth can have a profound negative impact on your life, career and prospects for the future. While criminal records can help society as a whole, they can also damage the lives of people who have learned from past mistakes and made an effort to improve their lives.
For those with a criminal record, those facing criminal charges and parents of minors in legal trouble, expungement and non-disclosure of criminal records can offer hope. Understanding how Texas approaches this process can help you make informed decisions about your initial criminal defense and your future.
A criminal record can have a profound negative impact
Getting into legal trouble that results in a criminal conviction or guilty plea can change the course of your life. If you already have a job, your employer could terminate your position. If you look for a new or better job, having a criminal record could keep you from securing a position.
It could also effect your ability to secure rental properties for your home or your business. Certain offenses can also impact your college enrollment or ability to receive federal student aid for college or graduate degrees.
Expungement is a way to reclaim your life from the impact of a mistake in the past. By removing (or sealing) a record related to a previous offense, you can open up a new world of possibilities and get a fresh start.
Texas expungement may be complex, but it’s beneficial
Many people find the criminal court system complicated, frustrating and confusing. Don’t let the potential for red tape, delays and other issues prevent you from seeking the relief that an expungement can offer. If you qualify for an expungement under Texas law, it is almost always in your best interests to pursue one.
For minors who committed a misdemeanor with a fine as the penalty before the age of 17 or a crime related to school absenteeism or alcohol possession, expungement may be an option. If you got arrested but were not charged with or convicted of a crime, you can have the record of the arrest expunged. For those convicted of a class C misdemeanor who received deferred adjudication, expungement may be an option as well.
Even those convicted of an offense other than a class C misdemeanor could benefit in some ways. While these people are not eligible for expungement, they may be eligible for non-disclosure of the record if the courts granted deferred adjudication. Instead of simply accepting the ongoing consequences of a criminal conviction, you should explore these legal strategies for mitigating the impact of a past mistake.
Texas expunction law is complex and navigating the justice system can be difficult. A criminal defense lawyer can review your situation and explain what is possible given your circumstances.