If you’ve ever been arrested, then you know how it can impact your life. Even if you were never charged or convicted of a crime, your criminal file still shows a record of your arrest. That information can influence the decisions of potential employers, landlords, and others who might offer you opportunities.
Expungement can be the answer for some people. This legal process can give you a fresh start and allow you to move on with your life after an arrest by removing information from your criminal record. But can anyone see expunged records after the process is complete? Is it really a fresh start or will officials still have access to the records?
What Does Expungement Mean?
Filing for an expungement (also known as an expunction) means a person is requesting that a criminal record be erased. Expungement is an important part of the legal process as it allows people who have been acquitted or were never charged with a crime after an arrest to get a clean record. In most cases, crimes resulting in convictions are not eligible for expungement.
The expungement process requires the court to destroy paper records and delete digital information regarding the case. After a successful expungement, no official record of the arrest or any proceedings that followed will exist.
Can Anyone See Expunged Records in Texas?
Because of all the official paperwork surrounding a case is destroyed after an expungement in Texas, no one will be able to see the expunged criminal records in the future, even court officials. If you have a record expunged, it is as if you were never arrested in the first place.
You don’t ever need to talk about an expunged case again, except in one situation: in a courtroom, under oath. If you testify in court and your case is relevant to the proceedings, you will need to disclose information about it as needed. However, you can explain that the record was expunged.
It’s important to note that legally expunging a record does not mean that unofficial records, like newspaper articles, will be destroyed. Only the official court documents can be expunged.
Will You Need Legal Help for an Expungement?
Getting a clean record can make a huge positive difference in your life. If your arrest record has been affecting your opportunities, it can be worth seeing if you’re eligible for expungement. It’s best to get help from an experienced attorney so you can reduce any potential delays and get your record cleared as soon as possible.
To learn more about your expungement eligibility, reach out to our law offices today at 214-575-8300. Our attorneys in Houston and Dallas will help you through every step of the process so you can clear your name and enjoy your life.