Do you have a criminal record?
It’s time to wipe it clean.

San Antonio, TX Expungement Attorney

Expunging your Texas criminal record is the first step toward a brighter future.

A criminal record can prevent you from taking advantage of job opportunities, prevent you from finding housing, and may even prevent you from traveling abroad. What many people are unaware of is even an arrest in Texas means a life-long record unless you take action to have your record sealed or expunged. A San Antonio expungement lawyer can help.

What Criminal Records May Be Expunged?

Anyone with a record who is considering expungement should understand what conditions would allow them to have their record expunged. Texas law is very specific and states a record may be expunged if:

  • Someone was arrested but not convicted of any crime not required to complete community service

  • Anyone who was arrested, convicted and had the conviction overturned on appeal

  • Someone who was arrested, convicted, and later pardoned by the Governor

  • Someone who was arrested, charged with a Class C misdemeanor and completed their deferred adjudication period

 

Are you Eligible? Fill out the form to find out.

What happened with your case?

Don’t let a criminal record jeopordize your future.

%

Having a criminal record can reduce your chance of getting a job offer by 50%.1  Expunging your record can help you get the job you deserve, the home you want to rent, or the education you seek. Find out if you’re eligible to have your record expunged by calling us our taking our free online eligibility test.

1. Binyamin Applebaum. Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work, NYTimes.com, February 28, 2015.

San Antonio Attorney for Expungements & Orders of Nondisclosure

“Do you have a criminal record?” — You’ll find this question on job applications, loan applications, and even applications for housing. Having the ability to check off “no” for this question can open new doors. This may be possible if you can get your record expunged, or sealed in Texas. The Law Office of Eric Ramos is a San Antonio law firm that is passionate about helping clients protect their legal rights. We are proud to help our clients obtain clean and clear records so that they may have a brighter future.

Eligibility for Expungement and Nondisclosure

Not everyone is eligible for expungement and in some cases, the crime you were charged with may not be eligible for nondisclosure. Here is a guideline of which records may be expunged or are eligible for nondisclosure:

  • Expungement – anyone who has been arrested but not charged with a crime, or completed a diversion program pre-trial may be eligible for expungement. This includes those who have had their cases dismissed, were not charged by a grand jury, or were later found not guilty of the crime. Anyone who was charged, convicted, and later pardoned may also be eligible for expungement.
  • Nondisclosure – while there are crimes that are not eligible for nondisclosure, in most cases, once you have completed probation, many crimes are eligible for sealing.  Unless you have been assigned to probation, or convicted of another crime while on probation, your record may be sealed. Make sure you speak with an attorney familiar with nondisclosure orders first since there are numerous crimes which are ineligible for nondisclosure. New rules are in effect for crimes committed after 2015.

What is the difference between expungement and nondisclosure?

If you believe your arrest, or criminal record is holding you back, there are methods of preventing an employer or landlord from accessing this information. One way is through the expungement process, while the other is by using an order of nondisclosure. Before starting either process, you need to hire an attorney who is familiar with these types of processes and you should understand the differences between the two.

Expungement (Expunction)

Expungement is a legal process which allows you to clear your criminal record. When a record is expunged, it is completely destroyed. This allows you to answer NO to any question about whether you have a criminal record.  Expungement is available to those who:

  • Were arrested without being charged
  • Were arrested and charged with certain alcohol-related charges
  • Completed deferred adjudication after a Class C Misdemeanor
  • Completed a pretrial diversion program
  • Faced criminal charges for which they were acquitted or found not guilty
  • Has an arrest record which was the result of an error or identity theft
  • Had their conviction pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States

Texas does not allow for the expungement of criminal records which were the result of an arrest with a guilty conviction, an arrest that resulted in probation (except Class C Misdemeanors), or charges that are still within the statutes of limitations but have actually been dismissed. The statutes of limitations are different for various crimes, an expungement attorney can help you make that determination.

Contact a Texas Expungement Attorney 

If you try to have your records expunged on your own, you could wind up spending money for nothing. A Texas expungement attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to have your record expunged before you spend money on the application processes. If you make application, and it’s rejected, you are not entitled to reimbursement of the fees.

Record Sealing (Nondisclosure)

In Texas, record sealing is more commonly referred to as Order for Nondisclosure. For many, this is an easier alternative than applying for expungement. Primarily, record sealing allows for certain criminal records to be hidden during typical background check searches. However, the primary difference between expungement and record sealing is important: Law enforcement officers will still be able to access a record. This means future arrests, and charges can be impacted by your prior record.

Keep in mind, when a minor under the age of 17 is charged with a crime, there are specific rules that may allow their records to be sealed automatically. This is per Texas Family Code Section 58.003; an attorney with experience handling juvenile records sealing can provide you with guidance as to whether the record is eligible for sealing.

Understanding Societal Changes and Expungement 

Keep something in mind, because there is a renewed focus on the fact that a criminal record for minor charges can have a serious impact on an individual, his or her family, and their future, there are some instances where an expungement may be granted even if the statute of limitations has not been met. It is vitally important for you to meet with an attorney who understands both non-disclosure and expungement rules in Texas. 

There are certain crimes which will automatically be excluded from record sealing or expunction which include child molestation, fleeing the scene of an accident, serious DUI’s resulting in death, and other charges. Regardless of the charges on your record, contact the Law Offices of Eric Ramos, a San Antonio, TX expungement attorney for help. We’ll review your case and help you take the first step towards a brighter future. 

Class C Misdemeanors and Deferred Adjudication

If you are uncertain what type of crime you were charged with, speak with a San Antonio expungement attorney. Generally, Class C misdemeanors are crimes which carry the lowest penalty and include charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, open alcohol container in vehicle, minor in possession of alcohol, simple assault, and theft of property valued at less than $50 to name a few. Crimes of possession of drug paraphernalia are also classified as Class C misdemeanors, but you should be aware these are considered drug charges. That could mean you are ineligible Federal Financial Aid through FAFSA because it is considered a drug crime.

Deferred adjudication is a form of probation that Texas courts will often use in the case of Class C misdemeanors. In effect, you would plead guilty to a crime, the court will defer the finding, and if you meet all the conditions of the adjudication, then you will not have a criminal conviction on your record, only an arrest.

Why Have a Record Expunged?

One of the many challenges facing those who have a criminal record is filling out job applications, and applications for housing. In most cases, you will be asked if you have a criminal record. Prior to having your record expunged, you will have to say “yes” if asked about a criminal record. After expungement, you can legally say “no” because your record is completely eliminated.

While the process of having your record expunged may take some time, once it is complete, you may find you have fewer problems obtaining credit, finding housing, and finding a suitable job or winning a promotion. Many people find their criminal record holds them back during these processes and for some, finding a job or housing is the reason they apply for expungement.

How an Expungement Attorney Can Help

This process is complicated and mistakes can cost you a great deal of time. This is why it is imperative to work closely with an expungement attorney who understands the expungement process. Some of the steps you will have to take include obtaining fingerprints and a copy of your criminal record. Once that step has been completed, a Petition for Expunction and Order for Expunction must be obtained from the appropriate Court Clerk.

After all of the appropriate forms are filled out, the Texas Department of Public Safety, District Attorney (DA) responsible for prosecuting your case, the police department responsible for your arrest, and the district clerk are all notified of your request. If the DA objects, you (your attorney on your behalf) will be required to attend a hearing to present your side of the story. Otherwise, the original orders will be processed, and your records will be destroyed.

If you are considering filing a request to have your criminal record destroyed permanently, contact The Law Office of Eric Ramos for help. We understand the expungement process and can help ensure the proper forms are filed accurately and properly filed with the court so we can get your record cleared.

Waiting Periods for Expungement and Nondisclosure

In most cases, those who are interested in having a record expunged must wait until the statutes of limitations expires on the underlying charge. This typically means that a misdemeanor charge will result in a wait of two years, while a felony charge means a five-year wait.

The process of nondisclosure generally can start immediately after you have completed the probationary period assuming you have not been charged with another crime. There may be exceptions to this rule depending on the crime which your attorney can explain to you.

Both Expungement and Nondisclosure May be Denied

In some cases, the court may deny a request for expungement or record sealing. Denials may be the result of an error in court records, an error in the petition, when such action is determined to be against the interest of society or because the defendant has failed to pay a fine. Your attorney can review your case and help you determine the best way to proceed.

After Expungement or Nondisclosure Orders

Once a record has been expunged, it no longer exists. You can deny ever having been arrested, regardless of where the question comes from, including law enforcement. Anyone with an expungement can answer “no” on job applications, when asked by law enforcement, or on any type of a background check questionnaire. Since the record is destroyed, any criminal record cannot be used later if you are arrested again.

In the case of a nondisclosure order, law enforcement is prohibited from making your criminal record available on most background checks. There are exceptions, such as in the case of applying for a teacher’s license, or other state-required license. However, most employers and all landlords cannot get access to your arrest record. Should you be charged with a crime in the future however, law enforcement officers will have access to your sealed record.

If you are interested in learning more about orders of nondisclosure or expunction of a record in Texas, contact attorney Eric A. Ramos immediately. I can help you understand what the process is, how long the process will take and help you prepare the proper petitions.

GET your expungement started today!

Fill out the form to get started with a free evaluation of your San Antonio expungement or nondisclosure case.