Bedford Expunction Lawyer
Having a criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life in Bedford, Texas. You could have trouble finding a job, obtaining housing, or applying for a loan. It could even affect your custody rights, strip you of certain constitutional rights, and negatively impact your reputation. What’s more, your criminal history contains more than just your convictions.
Anyone who runs a criminal background check can see any arrests you’ve had along with other law enforcement interactions, even if you are never formally charged with a crime.
The good news is that Texas allows people to expunge their criminal records in certain circumstances. The state also allows people to petition for a nondisclosure order to essentially shield their criminal records from public view.
The process of expunging or sealing your criminal record in Texas is complex, and you need the help of a Bedford expunction lawyer to improve your odds for success.
The experienced Bedford criminal defense attorneys at Fulgham Law Firm can review your case at no cost and advise you of your options for expunging your criminal record.
Contact us today to learn what you can do to erase a bad mistake from your past so that it doesn’t damage your future.
How Fulgham Law Firm Can Help Expunge Your Criminal Record in Bedford
The dedicated legal team at Fulgham Law Firm has more than 70 years of collective criminal law experience. Our attorneys have successfully handled hundreds of criminal trials throughout Texas, and we have achieved numerous acquittals, dismissals, and reductions of charges for our clients.
We have also helped many individuals expunge their criminal records or obtain nondisclosure orders, and you can rely on us to help you by:
- Determining whether you qualify for expungement based on a review of your criminal history
- Preparing and filing the necessary documents and paperwork to request an expungement or nondisclosure order
- Representing you in court and advocating for you to convince the judge to honor your request
You can rest easier knowing a qualified attorney is on your side, fighting for your rights and helping you obtain the favorable outcomes you seek. We offer personalized attention and customized strategies based on the specifics of your case, and we will provide regular updates during the process.
For more information, please contact our Bedford, Texas, law office at (817) 809-3039 to receive a free case review and trustworthy advice and counsel.
What Is an Expunction in Texas?
In Texas, an expunction is a legal process that allows individuals to have certain criminal records erased or removed from public view. The goal of an expunction is to give individuals a fresh start by eliminating the negative consequences associated with a criminal record.
Once a criminal record is expunged, it is as if the arrest or charge never occurred, and the individual can legally deny the existence of the expunged record in most situations.
Non-Disclosure vs. Expunction
Non-disclosure is another legal process in Texas that seals certain criminal records from public view but does not completely erase them. Expunction is more comprehensive, as it involves the physical destruction of records.
You must keep in mind that an expunction is not automatic. You must work with an attorney to file for an expunction or nondisclosure order and present your case before a judge to decide.
Why Should I Try to Expunge My Criminal Record in Bedford?
Expunging a criminal record in Bedford offers many benefits to people who qualify. Here are some common reasons why someone might want to expunge their Texas criminal record:
- Job Applications: Many employers conduct background checks as part of the hiring process. Having a clean record can improve job prospects.
- Professional Licenses: Some professions and occupations may require a clean criminal record for licensure.
- Rental Applications: Landlords often check criminal records as part of the tenant screening process. Expunging a record can help with securing housing.
- Mortgage applications: Some lenders may look at an applicant’s criminal record before offering a mortgage loan. They could deny your application or offer you unappealing terms.
- Admission to Educational Institutions: Some educational institutions may deny admission or scholarships based on a criminal record.
Professional and Personal Opportunities
- Military Service: A criminal record can affect eligibility for military service.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Some volunteer organizations may have restrictions based on criminal history.
- Restoration of Gun Rights: Certain criminal convictions can result in the loss of the right to own firearms. Expungement may help in restoring these rights.
- Expunging a criminal record can help individuals avoid social stigma and judgment associated with past mistakes.
- If a person was wrongfully arrested or charges were dismissed, expungement helps clear their name and record.
- Non-citizens may face immigration consequences due to criminal convictions. Expungement can sometimes mitigate these consequences.
- Eligibility for Assistance Programs: Certain government assistance programs may have restrictions based on criminal history.
Peace of Mind
Expunging a criminal record can provide a sense of closure and peace of mind, allowing individuals to move forward with their lives without the burden of a past mistake.
It’s important to note that not all criminal offenses are eligible for expunction, and the criteria can vary.
Consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney in Bedford is essential to determine eligibility, navigate the expunction process, and understand the specific benefits it may offer based on individual circumstances.
How Do I Know if I Qualify for Expunction in Texas?
Qualifying for expunction in Texas depends on various factors, and the eligibility criteria can be complex.
Generally, Texas law bases eligibility for expunction on:
- Acquittal or Not Guilty Verdict: If you were acquitted at trial or found not guilty, you may be eligible for expunction. This includes appeals. The court recognizes that you should not bear the consequences of an arrest or charge that did not result in a conviction.
- Dismissal of Charges: If the charges against you were dismissed, you might qualify for expunction. This could include cases where charges were dropped or dismissed by the prosecutor.
- Class C Deferred Disposition: If you successfully completed deferred probation for a Class C misdemeanor, you may be eligible for expunction. Even if you were charged with a Class A misdemeanor, such as an assault with bodily injury charge, your lawyer could try to negotiate that down to a Class C deferred misdemeanor. If they’re successful in getting you a reduced charge, you could become eligible for expunction once you complete the necessary deferred probation for the Class C charge. However, there may be specific waiting periods before you can apply.
- Felony No Bill: If you were charged with a felony, and your case was presented to a grand jury that returned a “no bill” decision on your case, this means that the grand jury found no evidence to support your arrest or charge. In essence, you’re in the clear and may qualify for an expunction.
- Pardon or Court-Ordered Expunction: If you received a pardon from the governor or another official and the pardon explicitly authorizes expunction, you may qualify. Similarly, if a court orders an expunction based on a finding of actual innocence, you may be eligible.
Expunction eligibility is case-specific, and the details of each case can affect whether someone qualifies.
Consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney from Fulgham Law Firm can help you understand the specific requirements as they pertain to your case. We can also help navigate the legal process and work diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
How Long Do I Have to Wait Before I Can Get My Case Expunged in Texas?
The waiting period for an expunction in Texas can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. There is a statute of limitations on just about every type of case that determines when you can have the item expunged from your criminal record. The waiting period is often determined by the type of offense, the outcome of the case, and whether you meet certain criteria.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Felonies: In most cases, you must wait three years before you qualify for an expunction of felony charges. This is true whether you received a no-bill decision from the grand jury, your case was dismissed, or even if your felony case was never filed. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations can be longer for more serious types of felonies, so you need to consult an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.
- Class C Deferred Dispositions: If your case started as a Class C Deferred charge, there is no waiting period for you to become eligible for an expunction. However, if your case started with a higher misdemeanor charge, you will have to wait through the statute of limitations that applies to the original charge. This can be very confusing, so you need to speak with your attorney for specific information about your case.
Also, if your case was dismissed through a diversion program, there is generally no waiting period to have your record expunged. For example, Tarrant County has a deferred prosecution program that allows you to immediately have your case expunged once you complete the program.
What’s the Process of Getting an Expunction in Bedford?
After your attorney has determined you qualify for an expunction, the next step is to file your expunction petition with the Tarrant County District Clerk’s Office. You will have to pay a filing fee that will be at least $425 and maybe even more.
You must work with an attorney throughout the filing process because you typically have only one shot at getting an expunction, and any mistakes or omissions on your petition may cause the court to deny it. An attorney can help ensure you have everything in place to increase your chances of getting approval.
Once your petition is approved, you will appear before a felony district judge at a formal hearing. If the judge approves your expunction, they will issue and sign off on orders to expunge your criminal record.
After that, your attorney will send copies of these orders to a number of important agencies, such as the sheriff’s office, public data websites, the FBI, and others, to let them know they need to get rid of pertinent information regarding your charge.
Contact the Fulgham Law Firm for Help
If you have a criminal history you want to expunge, and you feel you qualify for expunction, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Benton expunction lawyers at Fulgham Law Firm for help.
We will review your case at no charge and determine if you do indeed qualify. If so, we can walk you through the steps of the process, assist in preparing and filing your petition, and advocate for you at the hearing to help you get the results you are looking for.