If you have a possession charge on your record, you’ve probably wondered how to get a possession charge expunged in Texas. After all, it’s not exactly something you want to be attached to your name forever.
The good news is that you can, under certain circumstances, get a drug possession charge expunged from your record. The state does not make the process easy — it isn’t as simple as filling out and sending an expungement petition form — and they’re often looking for any reason to keep charges on your record. If the charge disappears, why did they even go through all the effort in the first place?
If you’re looking to get a possession charge expunged in Texas, your best bet is to get a lawyer to represent you. They can handle all the legal red tape and make sure that the state has no reason to reject your request for an expunction.
What is the difference between expungement and record sealing?
Record sealing, otherwise known as a non-disclosure order, is a bit different from expungement in several ways. While expungement means that the charge will be taken off of your record, a successfully filed non-disclosure order only guarantees that the records of your criminal charge aren’t available to anyone outside of a government law enforcement agency.
When a record is sealed the government does not strike the charge from the record but makes it virtually inaccessible to the public. Record sealing is just as good for the purposes of home buying or job hunting, but does not truly clear your record.
When can you have a possession charge expunged?
Thanks to recent changes made to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.01 , more cases than ever now qualify for an expungement in Texas. The new expungement law in Texas dictates that Class A and B misdemeanors, as well as felony charges, qualify for an expunction if:
- An individual was acquitted
- An individual was convicted and later found Not Guilty
- An individual was pardoned
- An individual had a case with a now expired statute of limitations dismissed
- An individual was arrested without being formally charged
Class C misdemeanors are now eligible for an expunction once the person charged completes deferred disposition, so long as they have not been convicted of a felony during a five year period prior to the arrest.
Continue reading: How to get drug possession charges dropped
What charges cannot be expunged in Texas?
Can a drug felony be expunged in Texas? Yes! As long as you meet the conditions listed above. First time drug possession charges in Texas can be expunged, as can charges for possession with intent to distribute, as long as they meet the above criteria. Some charges that do not qualify for an expunction in Texas include:
- Sexual assault
- Family violence
Qualifying for expungement does not mean that your record will be expunged. Unfortunately, whether or not the judge decides to allow your expungement petition form or non-disclosure request is entirely up to them. This is why you need a good lawyer. While forms can be filled out by anyone, knowing the criminal justice system is vital if you want your record wiped clean.
Can you expunge your own record in Texas?
You can attempt to file and process your own expungement petition forms in Texas, but doing so without a lawyer is difficult and less often successful. Once you file a petition, all of the parties involved in your initial case will be notified, and another hearing will be held. Any party that believes you don’t deserve to have your record expunged will have an opportunity to appear before the judge.
At this point you are essentially going to trial again. If you lose you can always file an appeal, but if you reach this stage without a lawyer, you’ve more than likely already lost. You need an attorney who both knows the criminal justice system and isn’t afraid to argue your case in front of a judge or jury.
Wondering how to get a possession charge expunged in Texas? Hire a good lawyer.
Now that you know the basics of how to get a possession charge expunged in Texas, who need to start thinking about who can get a possession charge expunged in Texas. If you’ve got a case that may qualify for expungement, and you’re looking for an expungement lawyer in Houston call Thiessen Law Firm today.
The criminal attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm, led by Triple Board Certified criminal law expert Mark Thiessen, are dedicated and aggressive, and ready to do what it takes to win for you. If you believe that you or a loved one deserves an expunction, call Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation today.
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