In 2019, nearly 700,000 individuals were arrested in Texas according to DPS. Even if charges were never brought or the case was dismissed, the records from the initial arrest are still publicly available online. Removing these records is a sometimes daunting legal process known as expunction. You may be eligible for expunction if you meet certain criteria.
Publicly available criminal records online and in court records pose an extreme hurdle for future employment, housing, and personal relationships. Even if you are able to explain what happened, you may not always get the chance to clear up any confusion before the damage is done.
If you are eligible for expunction, a court can order all records about you to be removed from dockets and websites. Your arrest will in a sense never have taken place in the eyes of the judicial system.
Isn’t this Record Sealing?
While similar, record sealing only goes as far as to keep some records under lock and key for certain groups to have access to the information. Expungement, on the other hand, deletes those records in their entirety. Record sealing is a good option if you cannot obtain an expunction.
Who is eligible for expunction?
To be eligible for expunction you need to have won the case. Winning a case in this sense can mean multiple things but in essence, you have to be able to prove that one of the below situations applies to all the charges against you:
- Acquittal (found not guilty)
- No Bill/ Rejection
- Identity Theft
- Class C Juvenile Charges
You might be eligible for expungement, now what?
If you think you are eligible for expungement, you will need to start the legal process. The first step is to find an attorney who practices expunction matters. Then your attorney will begin the process of filing for expungement. Just like any legal matter, affording a trustworthy attorney can be unobtainable for most Texans. Signing up for a Legal Protection Plan can help cover these costs and offset the burden of stress unexpected legal issues cause. For as little as $28/month, Texas Legal will be by your side through every season of life.
Texas Legal is a statewide, nonprofit legal benefit plan. Texas Legal provides legal coverage exclusively to Texans. Because we’re based in Texas, we actively participate in benefit and enrollment meetings across the Lone Star State as well as help facilitate workshops to educate our members on the importance of legal protection. Learn more about what Texas Legal covers by reviewing our plan benefits.