If you have a criminal record, it could have a lasting impact on your ability to find employment, be approved for a loan, be approved for housing, and other crucial life decisions. Even if you were never convicted, your previous arrest or criminal charges could be holding you back. Fortunately, you may be able to have your arrest, charges, and in some cases even your conviction removed from your record, either through expunction or nondisclosure.
As you begin the process to have a record expunged, it is important to have a skilled attorney on your side. Attorney RJ Harber has over a decade of experience defending the rights of his clients. He understands the impact your criminal record can have on your life, and he is dedicated to fighting for the best possible outcome for you. RJ Harber has developed an excellent reputation in the Dallas area for having good communication and helping his clients gain a clear understanding of the legal process and the options specific to their case.
Contact the Law Offices of RJ Harber today at (214) 389-1189 to take the first step towards a cleaner record by scheduling a free consultation.
Potential Consequences of a Criminal Record
Many aspects of your life can be negatively affected when you have a criminal record. This can include:
- Loan approval
- College admissions
- Child custody
- Professional licenses
If you are eligible for expunction, removing your criminal record could keep your life moving in the direction you want.
Challenges in Applying for Expunction
Applying for expunction can be complicated, and even small mistakes on paperwork or missing important deadlines can delay your case significantly.
Understanding the legal terminology can also be a barrier to successfully getting a record expunged. Individuals who attempt to make it through the process alone might make costly mistakes simply because they do not understand the terminology. An experienced attorney like RJ Harber can help you fill out the paperwork correctly as well as advocate for you during your court hearing.
Expunction vs. Nondisclosure
There are generally two options to remove a criminal record. The first is expunction, which would remove the record entirely as if it never happened. The second option is nondisclosure or record sealing. This would limit who can access the record so that it is still available to government agencies, but potential employers, landlords, and others will no longer be able to see your criminal record when they run a background check.
Eligibility for Expunction
The eligibility criteria for expunction is explained in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. A few common examples that may be eligible are:
- Drug offenses
- Juvenile offenses
- Arrest for a crime that did not result in charges
- Dismissed criminal charges
There are many other situations that are eligible for expunction or nondisclosure, and an experienced attorney can look at the specifics of your case and discuss the options available to you.
An attorney will walk you through the process, but it is good to be familiar with it beforehand so you can begin preparing the records you will need.
- Prior to applying for expunction, you will need to have a copy of your criminal record and a fingerprint card. It is best to acquire these documents before meeting with your attorney. If you have difficulty obtaining them, your attorney can help you with this step.
- File a Petition for Expunction with the same court where the arrest was originally filed.
- The court will schedule a hearing and send a notice of the hearing to all involved parties, known as respondents.
- Draft an Order of Expunction and have it ready for the hearing.
- The court will conduct a hearing. Respondents have the opportunity to contest the expunction. Your attorney will advocate for you during the hearing.
- If the expunction is granted, the judge will sign the Order of Expunction.
- The Order of Expunction will be sent to all agencies that have a record of the arrest or charge.
To obtain an Order for Nondisclosure, you will follow almost the same steps as applying for expunction.
Frequently Asked Questions
You likely have many questions about the expunction process. These are some questions we are commonly asked about expunction. We can answer your specific questions during a free consultation.
When can I apply to have a record expunged?
Depending on the type of crime you were accused of, there are different waiting periods before you can apply for expunction. The waiting period can be anywhere from a couple of months to about 10 years.
Are there certain crimes that can’t be expunged?
Yes, there are certain crimes that cannot be expunged, including murder; aggravated kidnapping; human trafficking; injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person; and anything that requires you to register as a sex offender.
What will it cost to have a record expunged?
The cost will vary depending on the reason for the arrest or charges in addition to other factors. You can expect to pay a filing fee with the court as well as the attorney fee.
How the Law Offices of RJ Harber Can Help
Some people choose to handle the expunction process on their own, without the help of an attorney. While this works in some cases, other times it is met with disappointing results. When you choose RJ Harber to assist you with the expunction process, you can rest assured that he will do everything correctly and efficiently.
RJ Harber has over a decade of experience as a defense attorney in Dallas. He has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 and has earned five stars on Google from his satisfied clients. From initial paperwork to the court hearing and beyond, RJ Harber is devoted to giving you one-on-one attention as he seeks to defend your rights and help you move forward with your life.
Contact the Law Offices of RJ Harber today at (214) 389-1189 to schedule a free consultation.