Straight Facts About Expungement of Criminal Records in Dallas Texas
You have heard the term that a criminal record can continue to follow you throughout life. Even after you have served your time and paid the fees and fines required, that ‘black mark’ on your personal history can continue to make life difficult for years or even decades after your sentence was served.
Whether you were incarcerated for a short period, or long-term, a criminal record can pose some significant obstacles to finding or retaining employment. Even if you currently have a good job, many employers have corporate policies or bondable restrictions that prohibit employees with criminal records from doing certain activities.
That means a termination of employment (with just cause) for many people.
There are five major ways that a criminal record and present substantial obstacles for individuals who want to resume their activities of normal life:
1. Gaining Employment
Almost every type of application form or interview process will involve a question or two about a history of criminal charges. Some hiring processes may even include a background check, and as criminal records are public information, it is easy for a prospective employer or recruiter to find that information.
There should not be prejudice based on a one-time criminal charge, particularly if it is a non-violent offense. Nonetheless, employers do apply that information as a negative, and many individuals with prior find it difficult to secure traditional hourly or salaried employment.
2. Securing a Loan or Housing or Incorporating a Business
Are you surprised to learn that your criminal charge can make finding a new residential rental property, or purchasing a home more difficult? Whether you are dealing with a landlord or housing rental agent, or a conventional lender for the purchase of a home, a criminal record is one of the most common reasons why people are denied lending, financing and property services.
If you are an entrepreneur and plan to incorporate your business into a classic or S-Corp, the presence of your criminal record will not prohibit you from starting a business in the State of Texas. However, small business loans can be difficult to acquire because of the criminal record.
3. Going Back to School for Retraining and Continuing Education
Thinking of apply to a College, or participating in a trade program to retrain for a new career? This is common for individuals who have served time for a criminal charge, and often they spend their time while incarcerated working on distance learning to upgrade their skills, and earn diplomas, certifications and even College degrees.
The first step in going back to school full-time is to apply to attend the institution, and possibly explore financing and scholarship options. There are some programs that specifically support former felons with bursaries or scholarships to help pay some of the educational costs. However, outside of special interest groups and programs, many Colleges and technical training schools will deny scholarship or financing for adult students who have a criminal record.
4. Being Ineligible for Bonding
Many career roles and jobs require that the individual employee is bondable. This is for insurance purposes as a screening or check to avoid hiring people who may be a higher risk for certain crimes like theft and fraud. Once you have a criminal conviction (that has not been expunged) those records are available to the public, including prospective employers. Employers who discover that one of their employees has a new criminal charge pending, are within their legal rights to dismiss or fire the employee, if being bondable is a mandatory condition of employment.
Employers that hire staff with previous criminal records and infractions (or charges pending) may be subject to civil liability if they knowingly employ staff with prior criminal offenses. Credit bureaus also retain criminal record information, for full disclosure to banks or other lending service providers.
5. Traveling Outside of the United States
Some types of convictions can result in the revocation of your American passport, which with today’s heightened border security requirements, would make it impossible to legally board a plane, travel and enter another country. In these circumstances you must wait until you are permitted to have your passport reinstated, which involves authorization and reapplication.
There are also some travel programs that individuals with a criminal record cannot participate in from the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and similar agencies in other countries. This includes the TSA pre-check privileges and Global Entry program. Each time you visit an airport, you will be required to be thoroughly and manually booked in with your ticket, and a criminal record makes you more susceptible for additional screening and a full search of your person and luggage.
While the United States criminal record network is not accessible by other countries, if you are intending on traveling to another country to work, or apply for a student or work Visa, your criminal record may make you ineligible to receive the documentation you need.
What Does the Criminal Record Expungement Process Involve?
Some charges can literally be wiped off the record. These charges are typically low-level misdemeanors. Felony convictions, particularly for Federal crimes, violent crimes (assault, manslaughter, murder) or crimes of international fraud or money laundering may not qualify for criminal record expungement.
If the legal system feels that you are a high risk for re-offending, the presence of your public criminal record is deemed to be a protection to other people who may do business with you or hire you as an employee.
While some charges cannot be expunged, they can in many cases be sealed. What this means is that your criminal record will not be searchable (or detectable) by anyone else other than United States Government authorities, including law enforcement.
The process of expungement starts with a written request for consideration. This request is reviewed, and a decision is provided. This can take time, as requests may be deferred for adjudication. If the individual is denied their request for expungement, a criminal law Attorney can assist with writing appeals to petition for expungement with special consideration, or to move forward with sealing criminal history from public record.
Texas does not allow for expungement of convictions, no matter how long ago the charge and conviction occurred. The only way that individuals can remove or expunge their criminal record is by requesting a formal pardon.
There are also many online databases and websites that maintain a ‘who is’ of criminal charges and history for residents in the United States. There are some service providers who (for a fee) can also petition online background check websites and agencies such as the credit bureaus, to remove the information.
For felony convictions, a citizen must wait for five years after the date of the charge, to request a pardon and pursue criminal record expungement.
The first step is to book a free consultation with Britt Redden, Criminal Law Attorney for Redden Law PLLC, in Dallas. During your free consultation, we will discuss the nature of your charge and other criteria to determine your eligibility for a pardon and seal of your criminal records. Get the help you need to make a fresh start, with Redden Law PLLC, in Dallas, Texas.
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