Expunctions – Cleaning up Your Record

By Bo Kalabus
Office: 972-562-7549
Collin County 24 Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364

An expunction is powerful stuff. If you are granted an expunction of an arrest in Texas, all records of the arrest itself, any jail detention and court records are destroyed! It is as if the arrest or events never took place. You can even legally deny the arrest ever occurred–extremely helpful in job interviews in today’s economy!
Of course, every charm has its barb and expunctions are no different. The expunction process can be very technical in nature and it can be tricky to qualify for one.
Every case is different and requires review to determine whether the person qualifies for an expunction, but the short version of the statute is this-under Chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure a person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for a commission of a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files related to the arrest expunged if one of the following applies:

• the person was found non guilty after trial;
• the person was convicted and then pardoned;
• the charges against the person were dismissed–such is the case in Collin County if a person successfully completes the pre-trial diversion program;
• the grand jury no-billed the case against the person;
• the person won on appeal; or
• the person received deferred adjudication on a Class C level misdemeanor.

If a person is found not guilty at trial, they are eligible for expunction immediately. In Collin County, if a person successfully completes the pre-trial diversion program, the DA will dismiss the case and the person is immediately eligible for an expunction. However, if the person’s case was dismissed straight up without being in pre-trial diversion, or no-billed at the grand jury level for example, a person is still entitled to an expunction, but will have to wait until the statute of limitations runs on the case before they become eligible for the expunction. On a misdemeanor the waiting period is 2 years and on a felony level it is five years.

The 2011 legislature made some amendments to the Expunction Statute that took effect on September 1, 2011. The amendments affect the waiting period for expunction eligibility for Class C level misdemeanors. Most Class C’s are offenses where people are issued tickets-assault by contact, minor in possession of alcohol, possession of drug paraphilia, theft under $50, etc. Class C offenses are punishable by fine only and there is no risk of jail time.

Basically, the amendments now enable a person charged with a Class C offense to move for an expunction after a waiting period of 180 days if:

• The case was originally filed as a Class C (no information or indictment presented);
• They have been “released” (case was dismissed outright or through deferred adjudication); and
• 180 days have expired from the date of the offense

How it works:

• The judge must order to prosecutor and police agency to retain their file;
• All other entities must destroy their records, including those who share your record with the public; and
• If prosecutor certifies that files are no longer needed, even prosecutor and police files are destroyed.

An expunction is a powerful tool to waste. If you think you are in the ballpark for an expunction, you should contact a lawyer to see if you are eligible and get it taken care of and clean up your record.


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