Expunctions of Criminal Records
San Antonio Expungement Attorney
Many people arrested and charged with a crime believe that if they are found "not guilty" after a trial or their case is dismissed before trial, the record of the incident no longer exists and cannot affect them. Unfortunately, that is NOT TRUE.
Records relating to an arrest and criminal charges are created at the time of arrest and forwarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety by the arresting agency, such as the Bexar County Sheriff's Office. DPS, in turn, enters this information into a database called "TCIC." This database tracks arrests and dispositions of cases in Texas. From this database, the information is eventually sent to a national criminal information system called "NCIC." Additionally, more and more county and district clerks' offices are beginning to maintain computer databases of arrest records and case dispositions for use on a local level.
Due to the Texas Open Records Act, these various arrest records can be accessed by the public for things like employment background investigations, apartment leasing checks, adoption background checks, etc. This means landlords, future employers and others can discover any prior criminal conduct by simply searching for your name at the court house or on-line with several web based criminal record database companies. Unfortunately, once many of these people find out about your past legal problems, they may be reluctant to hire you or rent to you.
That is why having your criminal record EXPUNGED is so important, if you are eligible. Once expunged, your criminal record, including finger prints, booking-photo, arrest report, local county records and DPS records, are all erased and IT IS AS IF THE INCIDENT NEVER HAPPENED!
What types of cases are eligible for expunction?
With a few exceptions, the majority of criminal cases that have been dismissed, rejected or declined for prosecution are eligible for expunction. Additionally, completed pre-trial diversions, "not guilty" verdicts and Class "C" misdemeanor deferred dispositions are also eligible.
Am I eligible?
If you think your criminal history contains past allegations that are suitable for expunction, call a San Antonio criminal defense attorney for a consultation.
How long does the expunction process take?
The entire interview and legal paperwork process usually takes a few months from start to finish in order to make sure the expunction is complete and final.
What is the end result?
Once your record is expunged, DPS and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies will be ordered by a Texas District Court to destroy your criminal record in its entirety. This will leave no evidence of your prior arrest available for use by anyone, including the FBI and all other law enforcement officials. Once your record is expunged you may legally deny the occurrence of the arrest and/or prosecution that has been expunged.
Note: When questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding about an arrest for which the records have been expunged, you are permitted to say only that the "matter in question has been expunged.
What if someone refuses to expunge my record?
A person who learns of an arrest while an officer of a listed agency, and who knows of an order expunging the records and files relating to that arrest, is guilty of an offense if they knowingly release or use the records or files. Also, any person who knowingly fails to return or destroy identifying portions of a record or file ordered expunged is also guilty of an offense. A person violating an expunction order may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
Call our office today at (210) 225-6354 to have us begin the process of determining if your records can be expunged. In this day and age of background checks and pre-employment screening, the benefit t to you could be enormous. Don't let your past mistakes or a wrongful arrest/prosecution continue to do damage to you and your family's future! Contact a San Antonio expungement lawyer to learn if we could help you.