Regardless of whether a person was arrested or has a felony or misdemeanor conviction, having it listed on his or her record can be prohibitive for moving on in life. Criminal records are permanent. However, there are some options for people who would like to stop those past crimes from resurfacing after they have made positive life changes. One of these options is to have the record expunged. Therefore, learning the benefits of expunging your criminal record may help you to determine whether pursuing this legal process is worthwhile. For assistance with expungement, consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney at Jason S. English Law, PLLC, by calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a consultation.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is the legal process of sealing or erasing a criminal record so that members of the public cannot view it when conducting background checks. The process protects an individual's privacy and enables him or her to apply for jobs or schools or other opportunities that may previously have been unavailable due to the presence of an arrest or conviction on his or her public record.
What Is the Point of an Expungement?
An expungement may help even those whose experience with the criminal justice system involved only an arrest, not a conviction. According to The Papillon Foundation, a record of an individual's arrest still exists, even if that person was not formally charged or was found not guilty or if the court dismissed the case. Having an arrest record or a conviction record expunged can benefit these individuals in many of the following ways:
- Social impact
- Beginning or growing a family
- State support programs
Having a record expunged can help people who have been arrested or convicted of a crime to find jobs. Expungement prevents most employers from being able to see a particular record in an individual's background when they complete a background check. Law enforcement or federal government agencies, however, can still view this information.
Some landlords order background checks on prospective tenants. This means that a prospective tenant with a criminal record may be unable to rent a home in a desired neighborhood. An expungement can help improve a person's chances of finding a decent place to live by removing the negative information from his or her public record.
Often, young people request expungement to clear their juvenile records of something they did before reaching adulthood. Prospective students of any age may also have negative records that can affect their ability to enroll. Colleges perform background checks on prospective students, and they may refuse entry after learning about an otherwise promising student's background. Therefore, it can be beneficial to seek an expunction to prevent educational institutions from viewing those records.
Due to the abundance of online resources, anyone can easily check another person's criminal background. By expunging a criminal record, a person can prevent his or her past from impacting current friendships and relationships.
Most volunteering positions can only be filled by candidates without a criminal background. Getting a record expunged can allow a person to pursue these volunteering opportunities, such as mentoring others, chaperoning school events, or volunteering for a local charity.
Individuals with specific charges on their records, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), may notice that their vehicle insurance premiums have increased. Expungement can help to reduce insurance premiums, lowering a person's long-term expenses. Furthermore, an expunction can make a person insurable and, therefore, able to apply for a commercial driver's license, making him or her eligible for employment in that field.
Beginning or Growing a Family
If an couple wants to adopt or foster a child to expand their family, they may find this challenging if one spouse has a criminal background. The State performs background checks on individuals who want to foster a child. Adoption agencies also typically require clean records for a couple to receive approval to adopt. Expungement can clear records and allow these couples a better opportunity to expand their families through these programs.
State Support Programs
Even after completing a sentence, a person who was convicted may still face certain consequences. For instance, many individuals may not be eligible for certain state support programs due to their convictions. Having a record expunged can help these people to obtain the support they require for their families.
Is Expungement Worth It in Texas?
Expunctions normally cost approximately $600 for filing fees and process costs in Texas, although it is advisable to check online for the most up-to-date costs. The process can also cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. A person can, however, apply to expunge multiple arrests in the same request, as long as each arrest is eligible for expunction. Despite these costs, expunctions can be worthwhile. If approved, a person can significantly improve his or her earning potential and generally move on with normal life. Learn more about the benefits of expunging your criminal record from a skilled Texas attorney at Jason S. English Law, PLLC.
Will My Expunged Record Show Up on a Background Check in Texas?
In Texas, once an individual expunges his or her criminal history, that person can legally deny that the arrest or conviction occurred in job applications and other queries. After a judge issues an expungement in Texas, it becomes a criminal offense to willingly reveal any information that is subject to the expunction order. Also, it is an offense to not destroy the information as ordered. Those who fail to follow an expunction order can also expect to receive civil legal penalties.
According to the American Bar Association, when a court issues an expungement, the majority of public entities cannot see the individual's conviction or any documents related to it. Despite this, law enforcement agencies can still see these records. In addition, a prosecutor can view these records, and the court may consider the expunged conviction as a previous offense when determining sentences for additional offenses.
Contact an Attorney for Help Expunging a Criminal Record
After reviewing the benefits of expunging your criminal record, you may want to expunge a record of your own. Expunging a criminal record can help a person to progress more easily in his or her life, on both a personal and professional level. A lawyer who is familiar with expungement can provide his or her clients with essential advice and help them navigate the process of expunging a record. If you would like to learn more, consider contacting an experienced attorney at Jason S. English Law, PLLC, by calling (512) 454-7548 today.