Texas, like the rest of the country, maintains records of criminal convictions and even arrests. Such records are necessary so that police responding to incidents and judges presiding over criminal proceedings can consider someone’s previous behavior.
However, criminal records often impact someone for far longer than they should. Certain adults with a previous arrest or conviction on their record may want to remove prior issues from their criminal record.
Known as expungement in other states, Texas refers to this process as expunction. A successful expunction will permanently remove certain issues from your criminal record. If the following three situations apply to you, it may be time to explore whether an expunction would be a good idea.
You secured pre-trial diversion or a deferred sentence
To qualify for expunction in Texas, you can’t have pleaded guilty or gotten convicted of a crime. You instead need to have secured a deferred sentence. You can also ask to remove records of arrests that didn’t result in criminal charges.
Your criminal record is the only thing holding you back
A criminal record means that a mistake you made years ago will keep coming back to haunt you every time you apply for a new job or a new apartment. Not being able to pass the background check can really limit your opportunities in life. Even if you have a good job, failing a criminal background check might still negatively affect your future and limit your contributions to society.
You have learned from your earlier mistake
After working for years to put your previous issue behind you, you may be ready to go back to school,
start a new career or even get married. Giving yourself the best opportunities as you move forward to a new stage in your life is easier if the past doesn’t complicate future opportunities.
Seeking an expunction before you make other major changes will limit the effect of your previous mistakes on your future success. You have the greatest chance of success with an expunction if you have avoided criminal convictions or even arrests since your prior brush with the criminal justice system.
Exploring whether you might qualify for an expunction could help you plan for a better and brighter future after the discharge or dismissal of previous criminal charges.