Expunctions in Fort Bend County, Texas

If you’re arrested or charged with a crime in Texas, your criminal record can continue to haunt you long after you’ve completed your sentence. Even if the charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty at trial, your criminal history can detract from your credibility and potentially make it harder for you to become a productive member of society. In some cases, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged, which effectively grants you a clean slate. An experienced Fort Bend County Expunction Attorney can assist you in this complicated legal process.

What Does It Mean if My Record is Expunged?

In the simplest terms, expunction means that your criminal history is effectively erased from public records. Under Texas law, expunctions are covered under Title 1, Chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Once your record is expunged, any documentation relating to your arrest or trial is destroyed and employers, creditors or other individuals who perform a background check on you will no longer have access to this information. If your record has been expunged, you can legally deny the prior criminal history associated with the expunction.

Who Can Seek an Expunction Under Texas Law?

The state of Texas has very specific guidelines as to which individuals may seek an expunction and what type of records may be expunged. According to Article 55.01 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, you may be eligible for an expunction if:

  • You were arrested for a crime but never charged
  • You were charged for a crime but the indictment was dismissed
  • You were arrested, charged or convicted of a crime as a result of identity theft
  • You were convicted of a crime but your conviction was later overturned on appeal
  • You were convicted of a crime but pardoned by the Governor of Texas

Certain types of criminal records cannot be expunged under Texas law. You cannot request an expunction if:

  • You received a deferred adjudication or probation as an adult
  • You were convicted of a felony within five years of the initial arrest which you are seeking to expunge
  • The court views the offense as part of a “criminal episode” involving other acts for which you face separate criminal charges
  • You’re convicted of another crime that was considered part of a “criminal episode”
  • The statute of limitations has not yet run out on the crime for which you were initially arrested

It’s important to note that the statute of limitations varies for different crimes in Texas and for some crimes, such as murder, the statute of limitations does not apply.

Can I Expunge My Juvenile Record in Fort Bend County?

In most cases, arrests or convictions that occur as a juvenile may be expunged. For example, a conviction for a Class C misdemeanor that occurs prior to age 17 can be expunged as well as arrests and convictions for failure to attend school and minor alcohol offenses. Typically, you must wait until you are at least 18 years of age to apply for an expunction of your juvenile record.

How Does the Expunction Process Work?

Under Section 55.02 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, you must have your attorney file a Petition for Expunction with the district court in the county in which you were arrested or in the county where the alleged offense occurred. If you were found not guilty of an offense, you have 30 days to file your Petition with the district court in the county where the acquittal occurred.

When you file your Petition for Expunction, you are required to include certain information, including:

  • Your full name
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • Social Security number
  • Address at the time you were arrested
  • The offense you were charged with
  • The date the alleged crime occurred
  • The date you were arrested
  • The name of the county or municipality where you were arrested
  • The name of the agency that arrested you
  • The case number and court where the charges were filed
  • A list of any federal, state or private entities or organizations that you believe may have or have had access to the files in question

Once your Fort Bend County expunction attorney files the petition, the court will schedule a hearing within 30 days. Be aware that the Texas Department of Public Safety has the right to file an objection to your petition during this time.

If no objection is raised to the expunction and the court finds that you are eligible, you will need to present a separate Order of Expunction for the judge to sign. A copy of the signed order must then be distributed to any and all agencies or entities that may have any files relating to the records being expunged. Upon receiving a copy of the expunction order, the records must either be deleted or returned to the clerk of court to be destroyed.

Should any individual attempt to disseminate information about your criminal history after your record has been expunged, that person may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

Where Can I Get Help With an Expunction in Fort Bend County?

The first step in erasing your criminal history is to seek the aid of an experienced Texas expunction attorney. Criminal defense attorney Lee D. Cox specializes in assisting with expunction orders for clients in the Fort Bend County area. Lee is committed to helping both juvenile offenders and adults get the fresh start they need by clearing their criminal record.

A prior arrest or criminal charge can have life-altering consequences unless you take steps to clear your good name. Contact Fort Bend County expunction attorney Lee D. Cox today at 281-762-7345 to schedule your free initial case evaluation and get the expert legal help you need to get your life back on track.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney's office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

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