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Expunging Domestic Violence Records

Expunging Domestic Violence Records

No one is perfect. At some point in every person’s life, they’ve made a mistake or had poor judgement that resulted in negative consequences. This is especially true when it comes to family relationships, which can be complicated and carry a lot of history. If the event resulted in criminal charges, then you may be wondering if there’s a chance you can erase charges and/or conviction off your record completely so you can move on.

Having a domestic violence conviction and/or charges on your record could hinder both your professional and personal goals. It could limit your housing and employment prospects as well as make you ineligible for a professional license or a business/home loan. These are just some of the collateral consequences that may occur due to your conviction/charges. Thankfully, with the right legal representation, you can possibly seal or expunge your record.

Domestic Violence Expungement Texas Attorney | Houston, Criminal Record Sealing

When you seal or expunge your record, you’re essentially taking it away from the public view. Depending on which order you’re granted, most employers and landlords will not be able to access your criminal records. If you expunge your criminal history, then the record is physically destroyed and only a few government entities will be able to pull it up.

Find out how you can expunge or seal your criminal record of a family violence crime today by calling Horak Law. Attorney Matthew Horak has spent years dedicating his career to defending Texas residents accused of all crimes including family violence. He suspends all judgement when it comes to a case and understands his clients are simply people who have made mistakes. Matthew Horak’s extensive knowledge of Texas’s expungement/order of non-disclosure laws as well as his vast experience may be the tool you need to move on from your criminal past.

Horak Law can be reached at (713) 225-8000. Call today for a free consultation. Horak Law accepts clients in Harris County and throughout the state of Texas including Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and Fort Bend County.

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Expunging a Domestic Violence Charge or Conviction

Expunction is the official judicial process of erasing a person’s criminal record history whether it’s a prior arrest, charge, and in some rare cases conviction. If you expunge your criminal record, you’ll be able to legally deny the existence of the charges in a job interview without any fear of retaliation. The document will be physically destroyed, and no one will be able to access your record even licensing agencies.

The catch with expungement is that it’s incredibly hard to qualify for. The state of Texas typically reserves expungement for those who were wrongfully convicted, indicted, arrested, or never had a final conviction. You will not qualify for expunction if you were court ordered to community supervision or granted deferred adjudication either.

The only way you can qualify for expungement with a family violence charge or conviction is if:

  • You were acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeals
  • You were pardoned
  • The indictment was never presented to you
  • The indictment was considered void by the court
  • The court never convicted you and you were never court ordered to community supervision
  • The indictment was dismissed due to a legal error or fraud
  • The statute of limitations for the crime passed
  • You were granted deferred adjudication for a class C misdemeanor
  • You completed a pretrial diversion program other than veteran’s court

If an indictment was written but never presented to you, you can still expunge your record and will just have to wait a certain period of time. These waiting periods include 180 days for a class C misdemeanor, 12 months for a class A or B misdemeanor, and 3 years for any felony.

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How to Seal a Domestic Violence Conviction

Sealing your record is very similar to expunction, but it’s ultimately a different process and yields a separate result. If you seal your record, most public and private entities will not have access to it. Most of the general public such as potential landlords and employers will not be able to pull up your criminal history. However, some licensing agencies such as the Texas Education Agency and the Medical Board will be able to as well as law enforcement.

To seal your criminal record, you must file a petition for an order of non-disclosure. Although it’s much easier generally to qualify for an order of non-disclosure, the Texas Government Code Section 411.073 states you cannot seal your record if you were given deferred adjudication for a family violence offense. No matter if it’s a minor misdemeanor or serious felony offense.

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The Best Route is Dismissal

After reviewing the information above, it’s clear to see how difficult it is to expunge or seal a domestic violence charge or conviction in Texas. In fact, the only way you can truly be eligible for expungement is if your case is somehow appealed, dismissed, or if you are given a not guilty verdict. Furthermore, that means the best route of defense is to fight for dismissal. You can successfully do this with the right attorney on your side.

A skilled and practiced criminal defense lawyer can assess your charges and determine the best defense strategy for dismissal. They can file motions, suppress evidence, call upon witnesses and experts, depose key players of the case, and do whatever needed to build a strong defense for you. That way you can secure a not guilty verdict or dismissal and immediately expunge your record afterwards.

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Additional Resources

Expunction in Texas – Visit a document provided by the Texas Bar to learn more about the expungement process in Texas. Access the document to learn more about the step-by-step expunction processes, how to apply for an expunction, and the actual form needed to file for expunction.

Order of Nondisclosure Overview – Visit the official website of Texas courts and access a document by the Office of Court Administration. Find more information about orders of nondisclosure, access to the form, the deferred adjudication process and more.

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Harris County Expungement Attorney | Sealing Domestic Violence Records

If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence crime or is seeking out expungement, call Horak Law. Matthew Horak of Horak Law is an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer with years of experience handling expungement and family violence cases. Call today for a free case analysis and to learn your legal options.

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