Expunctions and non-disclosures were created by the Texas Legislature to help prevent a low-level contact with the criminal justice system from following someone for life. Unfortunately, less than 5 percent of those who are eligible for expunction or non-disclosure actually can take advantage of this relief.
Expunction Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy help clients file a petition to expunge any and all of the records arising from an arrest and prosecution in Tarrant County, TX. By expunging the record, you can protect your good name. Protect yourself from a record of arrest and prosecution that can impact your ability to find a job or continue your education.
Call (817) 422-5350 today.
Eligibility to Expunge a Record in Fort Worth or Tarrant County
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 55.01(a)(2) states, in the relevant part, that a person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for the commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
- the person has been released;
- the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction;
- the charge, if any, is no longer pending; and
- there was no court-ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 for the offense unless the offense is a Class C misdemeanor.
See TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 55.01(a)(2) (2016).
In other words, the expunction serves to clear your name by removing an arrest from your record. You are generally eligible to expunge a record if:
- you were tried for the offense for which you were originally arrested and were acquitted;
- you were convicted, but subsequently pardoned; or
- you were found to be actually innocent of the crime for which you were convicted.
The District Court judges in Tarrant County have the discretion to grant or deny an expunction request. That discretion is not invoked until the prosecuting office recommends an expunction to the district court.
After the expunction order becomes final, the release, maintenance, dissemination, or any other use of the expunged records is prohibited by law. They may then legally deny or fail to acknowledge that the arrest ever occurred. Only a few exceptions exist that would require you to ever reveal the existence of the expunction order.
Limitations Under the Texas Expunction Statute
The expunction statute is “arrest-based” and expunction is not available for less than all offenses arising from one arrest. S.J. v. State, 438 S.W.3d 838, 844 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2014, no pet.). In other words, a person is not entitled to have any arrest records expunged under article 55.01(a)(2) when a charge is dismissed, but that dismissal results in a final conviction of any charge arising from the same arrest. See Tex. Dep’t of Public Safety v. G.B.E., 459 S.W.3d 622, 629 (Tex. App.—Austin 2014, pet. denied).
For example, the court in In re A.G., 417 S.W.3d 652, 655 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2013, no pet.), reversed the trial court’s grant of expunction of the DWI charge, concluding the petitioner failed to show the charge had not resulted in a final conviction under the current version of article 55.01 because petitioner pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
Although the law that governs expunctions is part of the code of criminal procedure, an expunction proceeding is civil in nature and is governed by the rules of civil procedure. See Carson v. State, 65 S.W.3d 774, 784 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2001, no pet.). Expunction is not a constitutional or common law right, but purely a statutory privilege. Tex. Dep’t of Pub. Safety v. Nail, 305 S.W.3d 673, 675 (Tex. App.—Austin 2010, no pet.).
The trial court must strictly comply with statutory requirements and has no equitable power to extend the clear meaning of the statute. Harris Cnty. Dist. Attorney v. Lacafta, 965 S.W.2d 568, 569 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1997, no pet.).
An Appeal after an Expunction
DPS can timely file a notice of restricted appeal when it is a party to the underlying lawsuit and did not participate in the hearing that resulted in the trial court’s expunction order and did not file any post-judgment motions or requests for findings of fact and conclusions of law. See TEX. R. APP. P. 26.1(c).
On appeal, the court must determine whether the error is apparent on the face of the record. See TEX. R. APP. P. 26.1(c), 30; see also Lejeune, 297 S.W.3d at 255. If so, the court will reverse the judgment of the trial court.
Nondisclosures in Tarrant County
Call a Fort Worth Attorney at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy to discuss filing a petition for nondisclosures. We can review your criminal history to determine if you are eligible and represent you in any court proceeding. We can also contact the post-conviction prosecutor who will determine whether to oppose or agree to a nondisclosure.
Texas Government Code Section 411.081 provides that a person who entered a plea of guilty or no contest to particular types of criminal offenses can file a petition requesting that the court sign an order of nondisclosure after a deferred sentence. The purpose of the order of nondisclosure is to prohibit the criminal justice agencies that hold the criminal history record information related to a criminal offense from disclosing it to the general public.
After the order of nondisclosure is granted, criminal justice agencies are still permitted to release criminal history record information to the individual who is the subject of the criminal history record information, authorized noncriminal justice agencies, and criminal justice agencies under some circumstances.
The court will consider whether the nondisclosure of a criminal case is in the best interest of justice. Texas law provides for many exclusions and statutory waiting periods before a petition may be filed.
A Fort Worth attorney for nondisclosures in Tarrant County can help you determine if you are eligible for nondisclosure relief under the Texas Government Code.
Expunction Additional Resources
Expunction Explained by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney – The attorneys in the criminal district attorney’s office in Tarrant County analyze petitions for expunction, retrieve the criminal file and appear at all court proceedings. A post-conviction prosecutor will represent Tarrant County agencies at the expunction hearing, file necessary pleadings, determine what type of expunction is appropriate under the facts of the arrest and disposition of the criminal case, and determine whether to oppose or agree to an expunction.
Tarrant County District Clerk on Fees to Expunge Record – The District Clerk in Tarrant County collects the civil filing fees associated with filing a petition for expunction or a petition for non-disclosure if the deferred sentence was granted from a felony court. Fees are paid to the Tarrant County Clerk if the deferred sentence was granted from a misdemeanor court.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Expunction | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure contains provisions for the expunction of criminal history record information, court records, and arrest records. The statutes for expunction in Texas explain the requirements and procedures that apply. The Criminal District Attorney in Tarrant County in Fort Worth, TX, may oppose any petition for the expunction of criminal records. For this reason, the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, cannot assist individuals in the expunction of records.
Call (817) 422-5350 today if you would like to expunge your criminal record, contact an experienced expunction attorney at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy in Fort Worth, TX. We can help you obtain a copy of your criminal history maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety to determine if you are eligible for the expunction of records.