If you make a mistake and default on a bill, the record of that mistake can only follow you around for about a decade. Eventually, your good fiscal behavior will earn you a clean record.
Unfortunately, criminal records don't work the same way. Make a mistake that leads to a minor criminal conviction, and it can literally haunt your footsteps for life. For that matter, even if you aren't convicted, just being charged with a crime creates a criminal record that can affect how other people view you.
For example, imagine that you are charged with drunk driving based on a faulty Breathalyzer test. Knowing you were innocent, you took the case to court and won. What do you suppose will happen the next time you're driving home from dinner and get pulled over for a minor traffic violation? The officer who runs your license is going to see that drunk driving charge. Even though you were acquitted, do you think that the average police officer will assume that you were actually innocent? Or do you suspect that the officer will be looking for any signs that you were drinking and driving?
This is one example of how an expunction can help. A criminal defense attorney can help you petition the court for an expunction, which will eventually remove all records of your arrest and allow you to legally deny that you were ever even charged.
Under Texas law, people who potentially qualify for an expunction include:
- People who were "no billed" by a grand jury
- People whose criminal charges were dismissed
- People who were acquitted at trial
- People who were convicted but later determined to be innocent
- People who were pardoned after their conviction
Do you think that you may be eligible for an expunction? If so, it's time to take control of your future by erasing the mistakes in your past (whether it was your mistake or a mistake made by the prosecutor). An attorney can help you better understand the process of expunction and any other potential options you may have.