Getting your records expunged in the state of Texas is no easy task. The process is highly specific, eligibility requirements are stringent, and your petition requires focused planning and preparation.
If you intend to go through the process of expunction, preparation is critical. For you to win your case, you need to present everything exactly as requested, and in the correct way. With courts set to reopen soon, now is the perfect time to begin getting ready.
We’re going to cover a few of the things you can do to help you prepare for your hearing. First, we’ll examine who qualifies for an expunction. Then, we’ll go into what you need to have prepared and ready before your hearing date.
Who Qualifies For Expungement in Texas?
There is rigorous criteria for who qualifies for expungement in the state of Texas. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states that:
“A person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
- The person was tried and acquitted
- The person was convicted but later pardoned
- The person was granted a pardon on the basis of innocence
- No charges have been presented against a person after an arrest during the required period of time
- The person has completed the required pretrial diversion programs
These are the most common reasons that a person can request expungement. If a person has been arrested, tried, and subsequently convicted, things get a bit trickier. In some cases, those with a criminal record are simply ineligible.
For questions about whether your criminal record may be eligible for expunction in Texas, reach out to an experienced Texas expunction attorney for answers.
How Can Qualified Texans Prepare for the Expungement Process?
There are nine basic steps to the process of expungement in Texas. Make each one count, and you’ve set yourself up for the best possible outcome.
- Step 1: Meet the legal requirements
- Step 2: Order copies of your criminal history record and order(s) of dismissal
- Step 3: Fill out court forms
- Step 4: Have your forms reviewed
- Step 5: File your petition.
- Step 6: Send a file-stamped copy of the Petition to the state prosecutor
- Step 7: Schedule a hearing
- Step 8: Go to the hearing
- Step 9: File (turn-in) the signed Order with the clerk
Include All Required Paperwork
The most important aspect of preparing for expunction? Getting every last bit of the paperwork required. This means getting your criminal history record and the dismissal papers. These can take time to acquire and must be properly certified before submission.
Hire an Experienced Legal Professional
You then need to fill out all of the forms and make sure all information is correct. At this point, it can be a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney who understands the expunction process. An attorney will know how forms should be filled out and can help streamline the process of submission. This will speed up the process of expunction overall.
Await Your Court Hearing
After all of the forms have been filled out, reviewed, and submitted, your attorney will schedule a hearing date. These types of hearings have been put on hold over the past few months in the state of Texas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with courts open again, hearings have resumed.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.