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Houston Expungement Lawyers

Few things offer as much hope for a new beginning as the concept of expungement. When a dark chapter of your past casts a shadow over your present, it is empowering to know there are avenues to move forward, unburdened. Contact our team of dedicated Houston expungement lawyers to learn more about who qualifies for expungement, the process of clearing your record, and how the Sparks Law Firm can guide you through it.

Expungement Lawyers | Here to Help You Get a Fresh Start

If you’re hoping to have your record expunged, it is paramount to hire a team of competent Harris County criminal defense lawyers. Our legal team can help you understand your eligibility, handle all paperwork associated with the expungement on your behalf, represent you in court, and streamline the process to ensure you don’t remain tethered to your past any longer than necessary.

Expungement Vs. Record Sealing in Texas

Expungement, or expunction, completely destroys or removes criminal records, as if the arrest or charge never happened. The person can, in most situations, legally deny or fail to mention the arrest or charge that was expunged.

Record sealing, on the other hand, simply hides the record from public view. While law enforcement and certain agencies can still access sealed records, the general public cannot. In Texas, this is often referred to as an “Order of Nondisclosure.”

Crimes/Scenarios that Qualify for Expungement

Texas law permits the expungement of records under specific circumstances. They are as follows:

  • Acquittals: If you’re acquitted of a crime, your record of that crime is eligible for expungement.
  • Dismissals: If the charges against you were dismissed and never resulted in a final conviction, expungement might be possible.
  • Certain Juvenile Misdemeanors: Minor alcohol offenses committed by individuals aged 17 but below 21.
  • Arrests Without Charges: If you were arrested, but no charges were filed against you.
  • Convictions that were Later Pardoned or Overturned: This is rare, but eligible.

Crimes/Scenarios that Don’t Qualify for Expungement

Importantly, not every mark on your record can be wiped clean. Here are some exclusions:

  • Convictions: Generally, convictions in Texas cannot be expunged unless they’ve been pardoned.
  • Probation or Deferred Adjudication: If you completed probation or deferred adjudication for an offense (other than a Class C misdemeanor), you cannot seek expungement, but might qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure.
  • Charges Dismissed after Completing a Diversion Program: This scenario might qualify for record sealing, not expungement.

The Process of Having a Record Expunged in Texas

The process of having a criminal record expunged is complex, document-heavy, and can sometimes take months. A brief outline of the expungement process is as follows:

  • Determine Eligibility: Firstly, ensure your case meets the criteria for expungement.
  • File a Petition: This is where you request the court to expunge your record. It’s filed in the county where the arrest occurred.
  • Wait for Objections: The prosecutor has the right to challenge or object to your petition.
  • Hearing: If there’s an objection, or the court wants further clarity, you’ll have to attend a hearing. Here, the judge will decide whether you deserve the expungement.
  • Order of Expungement: If all sails smoothly, the court will issue this order, mandating all agencies holding records of your offense to erase them.

Contact Our Expungement Lawyers Today

While past mistakes might feel like permanent stains, our expungement lawyers are here to guide you to your fresh start. Whether you’re aiming for expungement or record sealing, we’re ready to help. Contact the Sparks Law Firm for a free initial consultation today.

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