Can Sex Crimes Be Expunged?Published: Mar 22, 2018 in Sex Crimes
Expungement destroys your criminal record and makes it like an offense never happened. Expunging your record makes it easier to obtain an education, a professional license, and job. You no longer have to declare an unfortunate incident on a job, rental, or loan application. In general, it can help you move forward in life. However, expungement is not available in all situations. Eligibility is limited, particularly if you were convicted of a sex crime.
Expungement in Texas is only possible in certain circumstances, including:
- You were arrested for a sex offense, but never charged with a crime
- The sex crime charges against you were dismissed (there are some exceptions in these situations)
- You were charged with a sex crime, but acquitted at trial
- You were convicted of a sex crime, and then found innocent when the case was re-opened
- You were convicted of a sex crime and later pardoned by the governor or president
- There is an arrest, charge, or conviction for a sex offense on your record due to identity theft, and the other individual was actually arrested, charged, or convicted of the crime
If you were never convicted of a sex crime and the situation is still on your record, call sex crimes lawyer Ned Barnett immediately. If you were convicted, of a sexual offense and the conviction was overturned or pardoned, it is even more essential that you speak with an attorney about your potential options. You should not let an old conviction hold you back if it does not have to.
Other Relevant Factors to Expungement
Even if you are initially eligible to expunge a criminal record, other factors could lead to a judge denying your expungement petition.
If you have been convicted of a felony within five years of the incident you want to expunge, your request will be denied. You cannot expunge a record of an incident that was part of a “criminal episode” while other charges related to that episode are pending or you have a conviction for a crime that occurred during the same episode. For example, an individual was originally charged with kidnapping and sexual assault. The sexual assault charged was dropped. However, the individual was convicted of kidnapping. That person would not be able to have the sexual assault charge expunged because it arose from a criminal episode that led to a criminal conviction.
You may not expunge the record of charges you received deferred adjudication for, even if you successfully completed the deferred adjudication and had your case dismissed. You also cannot get a dismissal expunged if it was for a felony and the statute of limitations has not expired yet. You must wait until the statute of limitation passes before seeking an expungement.
When Expungement Is Not an Option
You, like many others, may not be eligible for expungement for any number of reasons. Eligibility is narrow. However, you could look into sealing your records, which is also known as obtaining a non-disclosure order. For instance, if you successfully completed deferred adjudication, then you may apply for a nondisclosure order. Sealing your records makes then unavailable to the public, though the records are not destroyed.
There are also eligibility requirements for a non-disclosure order. You must wait a certain period of time before you can file a petition to seal your records, and you cannot be convicted of any other offense during that time. The waiting period is up to 10 years and depends on the underlying offense. Also, the underlying offense cannot be domestic violence, aggravated kidnapping, murder, or a sex offense that required registration.
If you have a sex crime on your record and you have been forced to register as a sex offender, then you cannot seal your records. However, if the sex crime did not require sex offender registry, speak with a sex crimes lawyer about obtaining a nondisclosure order.
Ask a Sex Crimes Lawyer About Expungement
The rules regarding expungement and nondisclosure orders are nuanced. It is best to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your eligibility. Ned Barnett will thoroughly review your circumstances and provide an objective opinion on your ability to obtain an expunction of your record or a nondisclosure order. He can also discuss your other options to improve your circumstances despite an arrest, charges, or conviction on your record.