Most people confuse getting a case dismissed with the case being “off their record”. To the contrary. Even if a case is dismissed, the actual arrest record will always appear on a background check. That is until the criminal record has been expunged.
An expunction is a process of removing your arrest record from view. This includes law enforcement and public or private entities. If you have previously been arrested for an offense and your case was dismissed, you were found not guilty, or your case was reduced to a Class C misdemeanor and you successfully completed deferred adjudication, an expunction can be very beneficial if you are, for example, seeking employment or trying to buy or rent a home. Individuals that have had their case(s) dismissed are usually eligible for an expunction. If you completed deferred adjudication (other than a Class C misdemeanor), regular probation or served jail time, you are NOT eligible for an expunction. If you successfully completed deferred adjudication for a Class A or B misdemeanor, you may be eligible for a non-disclosure of your arrest record.
The biggest catch to petitioning the Court for an expunction is the amount of time that you must wait before the Court will allow you to request that the records be erased. Every case is different and it’s important that you seek the advice of an attorney to determine the date; however, here’s a very general overview:
- Misdemeanor case dismissed – must wait 2 years from the date of the offense, plus the time that passed from the date the case was filed until the date the case was dismissed
- Felony case dismissed – must wait 3 years from the date of the offense, plus the time that passed from the date the case was filed until the date the case was dismissed
- There are several exceptions to the above time frames that may well apply to your situation
The expunction process has three primary steps:
- We draft and file a petition to the Court and notify the difference agencies that have the record of your arrest;
- Set the case for a hearing for a Judge to approve the expunction (the client often does not have to attend this hearing); and
- Receive a signed order from the Judge expunging the arrest record and notification to all the agencies to remove the record from their database.
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense and your case was dismissed, you were found not guilty or your case was reduced to a class c deferred, call Stephen Handy at 817-284-2262 ext. 225 to discuss your eligibility for an expunction.