Expunction is a process by which a person can have a criminal offense removed from their criminal history. Removed meaning the records destroyed, and the person can legally deny the charges occurred. Expunctions are available for cases that have been dismissed, rejected, found Not Guilty, or Pardoned. There are a small number of exceptions, but for the most part, once a Conviction has been entered, there cannot be an Expunction.
Some of the more common exceptions to the rule that 'once a Conviction has been entered, there cannot be an Expunction' include a one-time conviction involving Underage Drinking, potential probation set-asides, and a case that has been Pardoned.
You can also read Common Expunction Frequently Asked Questions or scroll below to read more details.
If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.
Related areas to Expunction include Nondisclosure and DWI Sealing of Record. Motions for NonDisclosure are used for individuals who have completed probation -- specifically Deferred Adjudication Probation on a Class B Misdemeanor or higher (meaning more serious). Nondisclosure effectively seals the records from the general public. Likewise, DWI Sealing of Record is for DWI cases that can also be sealed.
If you're looking for other topics that are related to this one, you can see more information below, or click related legal offenses.
Timing wise, an Expunction is not immediate. Once filed, Expunction hearings, at least in Travis County and Austin, are typically set 45-60 days away, meaning that if you file an Expunction January 1st, you can expect a hearing in late February or early March.
Once granted, notices of the granted Order of Expunction are sent to agencies that possess your information and offense data. The agencies (police, courts, jail) then destroy the records and send in a compliance notice to the Court. You can expect to see results (in terms of a clean criminal history of that offense) in about 4-6 months, although it could take up to one year to be properly Expunction.
Also, once an Expunction is granted, the person may legally deny the offense took place, and state agencies and certain private entities are Ordered to destroy the data. Agencies and Entities including DPS, Police, Courts, Jail, and even third party internet mugshot and criminal history companies.
An Expunction can be beneficial for many reasons: the dismissed case should not show up on background checks when a potential employers checks. Likewise, it can help with Housing, Financial Aid for Students, loans, and more.
A major drawback to an Expunction is that we now live in a digital age where information is posted on websites, blogs, and online databases. Even after an expunction is Ordered, there is no guarantee that private businesses will actual comply with the Court Order. Mugshot and less-than-reputable online websites have a history if ignoring Orders. So much so, that the legislature in Tecxas provided Civil Fees for violations. Another limitation is that the Federal Government need not comply with State Orders, meaning that currently, at the time of this writing, it is unclear if the Federal Government (FBI, CIA, or Homeland Security) abides by an Expunction Order.
Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling Expunctions.
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