You may have committed a crime several years ago. But now, you live your life on the straight and narrow. Yet, your former conviction may haunt you every time you apply for a job, housing or loan. If your past conduct affects your present circumstances, you may want to consider expunction.
Clearing your record
Expunction eliminates some, if not all, of your criminal record from public view. This means employers, landlords and lenders – among others – can no longer see it when performing background checks. And upon receiving it, you can deny on forms and applications that you were ever arrested for, charged with or convicted of a criminal offense.
Both misdemeanor and felony offenses can receive expunction. But in most cases, this will only happen if no conviction occurred. The exception to this rule is if you received deferred adjudication probation for Class C misdemeanor charges.
Your odds of expunction depend on:
- Whether your charges faced dismissal at trial
- Whether a judge and jury acquitted you at trial
- Whether officials arrested you but never charged with a crime
- Whether you received a pardon or had your conviction overturned
Filing your petition
To petition for expunction, you will face a minimum waiting period before you can move forward. This length depends on the nature of your offense. If your offense was a Class C misdemeanor and you did not receive deferred adjudication, you must wait 180 days to file a petition. For Class B and Class A misdemeanors, you will have to wait one year. For felonies, you will have to wait three years. And if you received charges after an arrest, you must wait until its statute of limitations expires.
Expunction provides a path forward if you have kept your record clean after an offense. An attorney with criminal defense experience can help you work toward a fresh start.