Expunction After A Successfully Completed Pretrial Diversion Program In Texas
A criminal record can cause you a lifetime of inconvenience. An arrest record could cause problems in your career if an employer does a background check, or you plan to apply for a professional license. Any records of your arrest, including photos, videos, and interviews, may also be a matter of public record, accessible by any curious person. You could even be barred from public assistance or college financial aid programs. You may be eligible for a criminal expungement or expunction, though, which removes the arrest from your criminal record and destroys all related documents, especially if you have been acquitted, had your case dismissed, or successfully completed a pretrial diversion program in Texas.
A Texas criminal defense attorney from Jason English Law can explain your options for an expunction, having your records sealed, or obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure.
If you have completed your Pretrial Diversion Program, Contact the firm today at (512) 454-7548 to schedule a consultation and take the first steps for a better future.
What Is an Expunction?
If your case meets certain conditions, you may qualify for an expunction or clearing of your criminal record. Only certain offenses and situations qualify for expunction consideration, though. If you were eligible for and completed a pretrial diversion program under the criteria established by the United States Probation and Pretrial Services, you likely qualify.
Expunction removes the record of your arrest from the police department that arrested you, and the Texas Department of Public Safety destroys all associated documentation related to the arrest. In all practical ways, it is as if the arrest never happened.
What Is the Difference Between Expungement and Expunction in Texas?
In Texas, expunction refers to the set of laws covered in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 55, that permit a petitioner to have their record wiped clean of particular arrests or charges if they meet the legal qualifications.
Expunction means the same thing as expungement, and until the Texas legislature changed the verbiage in the law in 2021, this process was referred to as expungement. These two terms refer to the same legal process.
What Is a Pretrial Diversion Program?
A pretrial diversion program, also referred to as a pretrial intervention, is an option for people charged with certain crimes to avoid a conviction and have their charges dismissed. Individuals must meet the eligibility criteria to be considered for the program and comply with all conditions the Texas courts set for their program.
Benefits of Pretrial Diversion
Pretrial diversion means an opportunity to avoid the charges on a record entirely because the charge is dropped once you have completed the program. Most people can avoid incarceration as long as they are compliant with the program, meaning they can keep working and caring for their families.
Detractions of Pretrial Diversion
There are some downsides to the pretrial diversion program. Individuals must enter a plea of guilty during their arraignment. If someone violates the terms of their pretrial diversion program, their prosecution may be resumed, or the penalties for their charges assessed.
How Long Does It Take To Get an Expunction in Texas?
Once a participant has finished the pretrial diversion program and submitted proof of their successful completion to the judge overseeing their case, they may file a petition for expunction with a Texas court. Petitioners will usually be assigned a hearing within about 30 days after filing the petition. The whole process can take about four to six weeks. Once a judge signs the expunction, then it may take up to six months for the local, state, or federal agencies involved in the arrest to destroy all records and remove the charges from their records.
Who Is Eligible for Expunction in Texas?
Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines the conditions under which someone may be eligible for expunction:
- Your charges were dismissed after completing a pretrial diversion program
- There was a mistake in or a voided charging instrument
- You were pardoned after a conviction
- You were acquitted in a jury trial or bench trial
- Your conviction was overturned (you were acquitted) by a Texas Appellate Court
- Your name was falsely used
- No charges were filed within the statutory time period
- The State Attorney recommended an expunction
- The statute of limitations for your charges expired, and you had no final conviction
- You received an Unlawful Carry of a Weapon (UCW) Conviction before September 1, 2021
Entitled to Expunction
In some situations, such as after successfully completing their pretrial diversion program or other circumstances detailed in the Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 55.01(a), the petitioner is entitled to an expunction. If you are entitled to an expunction, then the judge must grant one as long as your petition is correctly filed.
Eligible for Expunction
Some people may only be eligible for an expunction, so while they may apply, a judge may deny their request. The Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 55.01(b) covers the situations where someone is eligible for a petition for expungement but is not automatically entitled to one.
Filing for Expunction
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney familiar with the exceptions and eligibility requirements for an expunction can help you build a strong case for an expunction if you are not entitled to one and guide you through the application process. You only have one chance to petition for an expunction, so a mistake or delay could be costly. The attorneys at Jason English Law have the experience necessary to complete even the most complex expunction petitions.
What Is the Process to Expunge a Criminal Record in Texas?
You may file for an expunction as soon as your case concludes, or months or even years later. The process begins with filing the Petition for Expunction in the county where you were charged. The petition indicates your eligibility for expunction and supporting evidence for your petition.
If you have successfully completed a pretrial diversion program in Texas, your petition would include the associated documents showing you complied with your program's requirements. You then have a hearing before a judge. If you are entitled to an expungement, you will be granted one. If you are eligible for one, then your attorney presents evidence showing a judge why you should receive one.
A Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Your Petition for a Texas Criminal Record Expungement
If you have been falsely arrested, acquitted of criminal charges, or had your case dismissed, you may petition for a records expunction to fully remove the arrest and any associated documentation from public record. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Jason English Law can help you understand your legal options.