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Four Ways to Handle Your Criminal Record In Texas

It feels like a nightmare. A million thoughts are racing through your head, colored by panic, fear, and worry. You clamor for ideas, for information, for a guide on what exactly you need to do. Who should you call? What do you say? What will this mean for your future?

The reaction is the same whether you have been arrested or a member of your family is calling for your help from a jail cell. You scramble to figure out what comes next and sort out what the options are. There is a plethora of information available on how to make it through an arrest, booking, and even court appearances. But what happens after everything is wrapped up and you are trying to move on with your life? What are your options then?

There are several options available for clearing your criminal record in Texas. It is important to weigh your choices and all of the potential repercussions before making a decision.

Your first option is sealing or order of non-disclosure. While this doesn't erase your record from existence, it makes it more difficult for the public to access. The court can order your records sealed so that basic searches don't necessarily show your past arrests. While this is may not be your ideal outcome, it can help you overcome the stigma of an arrest.

Expungement is a court-ordered process that essentially erases the record and makes it legal for you to answer "no" if asked about prior convictions. It is important to note that this is not an option for some charges and even if your records are expunged, some sources may be able to obtain the records.

Another option is having the record set aside. This entails the original record being modified in some capacity. The original order is available but while it may appear in some background checks it will also show that it was amended. Again, certain offenses are not eligible for this option.

Finally, in the event that you were given probation as the result of your arrest, there is an opportunity for early termination if you have completed all of the actions set forth by the court including but not limited to the payment of all imposed fines and completion of any classes or other services.

Given the complexities of the legal system, it is strongly advised that you retain an experienced criminal attorney to help you navigate each scenario to determine which is best for your circumstances.

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