There are a few circumstances in which one can get a felony expunged.
“Expungement” is the legal process by which a court removes or erases all records of a criminal conviction, even if it is a felony conviction. Your conviction will not simply disappear on its own even if you wait 10 or 20 years – you have to take action. As a result, if you wish to remove a felony from your record and you are eligible to do so under the laws of the state in which you were convicted, you will have to obtain a court order.
Expungement laws differ throughout the nation. In Texas, you can have a felony expunged from your record in the following circumstances:
- You were arrested but never charged.
- You were charged, but the case was dismissed for lack of probable cause, insufficient evidence or unavailable witnesses.
- The grand jury “no-billed” your indictment.
- You were found not guilty by a judge or jury.
- You were the victim of identity theft that resulted in a criminal record.
What is the first step of getting a felony expunged?
In order for any of these reasons to hold up you must first convince the judge.
Ultimately, it is up to the judge of the court in which you were convicted to decide whether to grant you an expungement. You must follow the law of the state in which you were convicted in order to try and get your felony conviction expunged. Depending on the state, this legal process can take anywhere from three months to a year or more.
If you are successful in having your conviction expunged, your records related to this conviction will be erased and sealed from public view. Thus, if a prospective employer performs a criminal background check on you, your criminal conviction will not show up in those records. It may take additional time after you receive a court order expunging the offense before it is completely removed from all local, state, and federal criminal history databases.
Not everyone is eligible for Expungement
If you have a felony conviction on your record in the five (5) years prior to the arrest you wish to expunge, you are ineligible for expungement. Additionally, if you have been convicted of any crime other than a Class C misdemeanor, you cannot have that charge expunged from your record.
A lengthy process
If you are lucky enough to have the judge rule in your favor you usually cannot have your felony conviction expunged until a certain period of time has passed since the date that you completed your sentence or period of probation related to the conviction. This timeframe can range from one year up to five years or more following the date you completed your sentence or probation. Therefore, it may be several years following your conviction before you are eligible to try and have it expunged.
This is a general article for example purposes. As always, please contact us at 979-821-2663 regarding your specific case.