Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record 101

April 9, 2011

By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

There are several steps I take when trying to help someone clean-up their criminal record.

The first and most important question is what are we dealing with?  Your lawyer needs to know (1) the charges brought against you and (2) what the outcome of those charges.

This is where the analysis gets a bit tricky.

Virtually any Texas case that resulted in a final conviction will be very difficult to work with.  There are always remote possibilities of continuing appeals or perhaps even a pardon, but those are another topic for another day.  Really, if your previous case resulted in a final conviction — regardless of classification, there simply aren’t many ways to mitigate your record that isn’t a long-shot.

Many cases where someone has successfully completed deferred adjudication for a class b misdemeanor or above may result in what is known as a non-disclosure.  A non-disclosure, in a nutshell, is a sealing of your criminal record so that only law enforcement and governmental entities are privy to your record.  Non-disclosures are discretionary which means that it is up to the Judge to say yes or no.  Also, a person is not eligible for a non-disclosure for 2 years after they are off of deferred in a misdemeanor, or 5 years for a felony.  Additionally, the legislature has cherry-picked certain offenses as not being eligible for non-diclsosures even where deferred is successfully completed.  The best example is where the court enters an affirmative finding of family violence.

And then there are expunctions which, frankly, is the goal in every criminal case.  An expunction under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 55 is a complete destruction of your arrest record.  You can read about expunctions in the link I provided, but generally speaking, an expunction is typically available when the State is legally barred from prosecuting you for whatever reason.  The main reason is generally an acquittal (which creates a double-jeopardy bar).  Also, as you can see in the statute, most class c misdemeanors allow for expunctions upon successfully completing deferred adjudication and the Statute of limitation expiring.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should consult an attorney directly.

Am I Eligible for an Expunction?

August 29, 2010

By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 562-7549

I get asked this question a lot by people that went through the system years and even decades before they come to see me.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 55 governs expunctions.  It can be fairly complex in spots, but as a general rule you’re entitled to an acquittal on a Class B Misdemeanor or above if you’ve been tried and acquitted of the charges.  Also, you’re entitled to expunction where you were arrested for a misdemeanor or felony offense and never charged by indictment or information and the statute of limitations has passed.  On Class C Misdemeanors you’re generally entitled to expunction if you are placed on deferred adjudication and there is no community supervision ordered but there are exceptions.

Several Class C offenses can be used to enhance crimes in the future.  An example is with a Class C assault with a family violence allegation.  Even though it’s a Class C punishable by a fine only, a second offense — no matter how small — can be charged as a felony!

Other conditions of an expunction are that you are not subject to prosecution for anything else regarding the criminal episode which is the subject of the expunction and you can’t get an expunction if you were convicted of a felony offense within 5 years of the date of the arrest you are trying to get expunged.

Often people don’t know exactly what happened with their previous case.  Finding out the legal result should be done prior to seeing a lawyer.  Also the laws on expunctions change frequently so you may not want to assume you can get something expunged later because you never know when the Legislature and/or Governor in Austin will snatch that right away from you!

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice you should consult an attorney directly.