Being arrested for a crime is a terrible experience to go through. Getting your case dismissed is a big victory, but it only gets you halfway to where you want to go. Even though your case was dismissed, your charge will still show up on background checks and you’ll still have to disclose your arrest when applying for jobs and housing. To erase your arrest and the charge you need an expunction.
The best time to have your record cleaned up is before you need it. You never know when something is going to happen to your job and you when you’re in the market for a new job, it may be too late.
What is an Expunction
An expunction is an order from the court demanding that government agency with records related to your arrest destroy those records. After their records are destroyed, your charge should stop showing up on background checks. Additionally, you are legally allowed to say that you were never arrested for that charge. This means that if you’re filling out a job application or trying to get housing, you can say no if the application asks if you’ve ever been arrested or charged with a crime (assuming you don’t have other arrests or charges).
Who Qualifies for an Expunction
You may be eligible for an expunction if your case was dismissed without you being on probation, if you were found not guilty at trial, if you were arrested but never formally charged, or if you successfully completed a pretrial diversion program. If your case was dismissed because you successfully completed deferred adjudication (a special type of probation), you’re not eligible for an expunction, but you can have your record sealed with an order of nondisclosure. If your case was dismissed or if charges were never formally filed, you may have to wait until the statute of limitations has run or a waiting period has passed.
How Long Does It Take
You can expect it to take 3-4 months for you charge to stop showing up on background checks. If the district attorney’s office or any other agency doesn’t think you should get an expunction, it could take much longer. Once the request is filed with the court, it takes at least 30 days to get in front of a judge, usually more. Once you have a hearing in front of the judge and he signs off on it, that order has to go out to every agency that has a record of your arrest and must destroy those records. Then, it should stop showing up on background checks.
Who Can Still See That You’ve Been Arrested
An expunction is meant to only apply to government agencies, but there are some of those that will still be able to find information on your arrest. In particular, I have found that immigration agencies will still be able to find out about the arrest. It also doesn’t cover private companies and the press. If there were any news reports related to your arrest, those will continue to show up.
How Much Does an Expunction Cost
The cost for an expunction can vary but is broken down into two different expenses. First, to file the request for the expunction, you have to pay filing fees to the district clerk’s office. You may qualify to have these fees waived depending on your financial situation. Second, if you hire an attorney to help you with the expunction there will be attorney’s fees.
Can I Do It Myself
Just like most legal matters, you can try to take care of it yourself, but I don’t recommend it. Expunctions can be very technical. The paperwork and procedure must be done correctly. If they are not done correctly, your arrest and charge may continue to show up on background checks, even if the judge signed off on the expunction.
How Can I Get Help With an Expunction
If you have questions about an expunction or if you want me to help, see if you qualify call 210-900-2806 for a FREE consultation or click the button below and schedule online.