How Can I Clean Up My Record in Galveston, Texas?
Being charged with a crime can lead to many hardships even if you were never convicted of the offense. Your record is something that follows you through life when gaining new employment, finding a place to live, traveling internationally, and passing a background check. Trying to move on can be difficult as a result of a criminal record reflecting an arrest, charge or conviction. In certain circumstances, Texas law allows individuals to petition the court for the charge or arrest to be permanently removed from their record. This is called expunction or expungement . Once your record of the offense is expunged, you can reclaim your life, increasing your chances of finding a job, a home, and acquiring loans. Once expunged, Texas law says you can legally deny the existence of the arrest, and it will not show up on background checks.
Records eligible for expunction include:
- An arrest for a crime that was never charged;
- A criminal charge that was ultimately dismissed;
- Certain qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offenses;
- Conviction of a minor for certain alcohol offenses;
- Conviction for Failure to Attend School;
- Arrest, charge or conviction on a person’s record due to identity theft by another individual that was actually arrested, charged or convicted of the crime;
- Conviction for a crime that was later acquitted by the trial court or the Criminal Court of Appeals; and
- Conviction for a crime that was later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the US President.
Records not eligible for expunction include:
- Adults who have received deferred adjudication or probation;
- Individuals with a conviction on a felony within 5 years of the arrest;
- If the offense is part of a “criminal episode” and you were found guilty of some other crime in the same criminal episode (arrest); and
- Felony charges where the statute of limitations for the crime subject to the dismissal has not yet expired
The experienced Galveston criminal defense attorneys at Zendeh Del & Associates, PLLC can assist you if your case meets the qualifying criteria. Contacting an attorney is very important in understanding the waiting period required for an expunction. The duration of the waiting period depends on the offense. Lower level offenses have a shorter waiting period than higher level crimes. The limitation for all misdemeanors is two years, most felonies carry a three year waiting period.
How to Apply for Expunction of Criminal Records
If you were arrested in Galveston, hire the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Zendeh Del & Associates, PLLC to help guide you through the application process of expunction of your criminal record. The laws that apply to expungement are the same throughout the state of Texas, but the local procedures vary from county to county. It’s important to hire an attorney in the same county where you were arrested to obtain a successful outcome for your expunction. As with any legal proceedings, you should have an experienced attorney by your side to ensure that the Petition for Expunction and Order of Expunction is done properly. In order to file the petition, there is required information that we will need (but not limited to):
- Personal identifying information (full legal name, DOB, address at the time of offense and current address, driver’s license number, social security number);
- The TRN number (a unique number assigned to each arrest in Texas);
- Date of when the arrest occurred;
- Date of when the alleged offense occurred;
- Date of when offense was charged (name of court, county/city);
- Name of arresting agency (police department); and
- The cause numbers relating to the charge (name of court, and how the charge was resolved, along with date the charge was resolved);
The petition will need to be filed with the district court in Galveston. The court will conduct a hearing and if the petitioner meets all required qualifications, the court will grant the expunction. Many times the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Zendeh Del & Associates, PLLC obtain expunctions for their clients without their clients ever having to go to court. Once the order is granted, your Galveston attorney at Zendeh Del & Associates, PLLC will have an order drafted and ready for the judge to sign at the hearing of expunction. If granted, you’ll have the charges cleared of your record, allowing you to begin your new path as if the arrest never happened.