Drug crimes are very serious charges, and they can haunt you for years to come. Having an arrest for drug possession in Texas can negatively affect your life for years to come. Even if you weren’t found guilty or you were given deferred adjudication, your criminal record could be used against you when you are job hunting, buying a home, or buying insurance coverage. It can also be used against you in a child custody battle or divorce dispute.
How Can I Get Rid of a Drug Crime?
If your arrest didn’t result in a conviction or you weren’t formally prosecuted, you can have your drug arrest expunged, according to Texas law. This means information about the conviction, arrest, or charge can be removed from your permanent record through expunction. When you go through expungement, it is a civil action where you will petition the court to have all arrest records and subsequent court proceedings permanently deleted from the public files.
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows an individual who has been arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony to have all records and files relating to that arrest expunged if any of the following are applicable:
• You were arrested for a drug crime, but not formally charged.
• Your case was dismissed because it lacked probable cause, there were witnesses who weren’t available, or there was insufficient evidence.
• The indictment against you was “no billed” by the grand jury.
• You were found not guilty, or acquitted, by a judge or jury for the drug crime you were charged with.
If you either plead guilty for a drug crime, or a judge or jury finds you guilty of a drug crime, you will not be able to have your criminal charges expunged from your permanent record. If you aren’t eligible for expungement of your drug arrest record, there is a chance you might qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure, which is also called a record sealing in Texas. This will not eliminate the record of your arrest, but it will seal it from public domain so only certain government agencies will be able to see it on your file.
The Process for a Drug Crime Expungement
Having a drug crime expunged from your record in Texas can be challenging. You must fill out then file a notarized Petition for Expunction to the court that has jurisdiction for your case. The court will send notice to all relevant respondents, and a hearing will be set. The court will consider the testimony of the respondents.
If you meet the requirements at the hearing, most likely your petition will be approved and filed so it will seem as though the arrest never occurred. In fact, after approval, you can legally deny the arrest ever happened, even if you are completing a job application or a loan application. You must provide the court with your proper information, so you won’t have your request for expungement denied by the court. Working with a criminal defense attorney will also ensure that the expungement or non-disclosure is handled properly and not be subject to unnecessary delays and avoid mistakes which may cause outright rejection.
If you are looking to have an attorney remove your criminal record, contact the experienced team at Fears Nachawati to discuss the specifics of your case and what options you may have.
A good lawyer can help guide you through each step of the process and help you get your life back on track, so your past stops coming back to bite you. In order to schedule your free, no-obligation legal consultation at one of our offices located throughout the state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin, please call (866) 705-7584.