With Texas being one of the least felon friendly states in the country, it is not uncommon for those charged with a felony to face difficulty retaining a job or even voting regardless of whether their charges resulted in a conviction. In Hays County especially, where over 83% of inmates in the county jail have yet to be convicted, there is a clear hostility towards those with a criminal record despite many charges leading nowhere. Given the detriment of a criminal record, many Hays County residents who have been found not guilty or have been acquitted or exonerated are interested in learning more about the expungement process. Here’s an explanation of what expungement is and what the process involves along with our recommendations for expert San Marcos expungement lawyers.
What is Expungement?
In Texas, the process of expungement completely removes an arrest or conviction from a criminal record. Those granted expungements are provided all of the freedoms of having no criminal record, as their charges can only be seen by federal governmental agencies. Expunctions are initiated by filing a Petition of Expungement with the district or county court housing an arrest record. Given the benefits they provide, expungements are only granted under very specific circumstances, such as when:
- An individual was arrested but never charged, found not guilty, or had charges dismissed and the statute of limitations has expired.
- An individual was acquitted on appeal.
- An individual was exonerated.
- An individual accepted a plea bargain.
- An individual was convicted of a juvenile misdemeanor.
- An individual received a pardon.
Under most circumstances those eligible for expungement will be able to file a petition right away, however, for those who were granted a plea bargain, never received formal charges, or were convicted of a juvenile misdemeanor, there is a mandatory waiting period. This waiting period begins after the statute of limitations for a case has expired, and lasts 180 days for Class C misdemeanors, one year for Class A and B misdemeanors, and three years for a felony before a case is deemed eligible for expungement.
Given the nuances in who is eligible for expungement and who may be required to wait, it is recommended that those interested in the process consult a San Marcos expungement lawyer to determine eligibility and assist with the petition and hearing.
I’m Ready to Petition for Expungement, Now What?
Once a waiting period has ended, a Petition for Expungement can be filed. This petition will include some simple information regarding an individual and their arrest, such as an individual’s date of birth, social security number, charges, date and location of arrest, case number, and arresting agency. Many San Marcos expungement lawyers offer a template for Petition of Expungements and can assist in finding and filling out any pertinent information and filing a petition with the courts.
If you qualify for expungement, an expungement hearing will be scheduled to provide any opposition (such as the prosecution or arresting agency) with an opportunity to oppose expungement. In more serious cases, a judge will often have to be convinced that a defendant does not pose a threat to society and is deserving of expungement. An expert San Marcos expungement lawyer can gather evidence and argue for expungement based on a defendant’s past and current good behavior, and the damages they’ve incurred due to having a criminal record. If an expungement hearing is favorable, an individual’s record will be cleared from all state agencies in 6 months to a year.
San Marcos Expungement Lawyers:
Here are a few San Marcos lawyers who specialize in expungement:
The Law Offices of Scott Courtney: Scott Courtney has 25 years of experience handling expungements providing him with an awareness of how to proceed with even the most complex cases. For a free consultation, call (512) 392- 9292.
Cofer and Connelly PLLC: Cofer and Connelly swiftly and diligently handle all manners of the expungement process and have a knowledge of the local courts that often leads to successful outcomes. For a free consultation, call (512) 991- 0576.
Trey Porter Law: Trey Porter is a results-based lawyer known for expertly representing expungements, which, in addition to his criminal defense, has led to recognition as a Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association. For a free consultation call Porter’s home office at (210) 673-1180.