An arrest record is something that can impede your prospects for being hired for a job, renting an apartment or acquiring a license for a profession. The problem is that if you have been arrested in the past, a background company can discover that information and relay it to an employer or a landlord if they conduct a background check on you. Fortunately, Texas law allows for some arrests to be expunged from public view.
Expunging an arrest history means that records of your arrest, which ordinarily would be made available to the public, are now sealed. Background check companies will not find your arrest record. If an employer does a check on you, your prior arrests will not show up. Legally, you do not have to admit to an arrest. If asked on a job application if you have been arrested, you can answer that you have not.
Not all arrests are eligible to be expunged. According to state law, certain conditions must be met. One of them is being arrested but not actually being criminally charged, or, if the arrest led to criminal charges, the case should have been dismissed and the statute of limitations must have expired. If your arrest had led to a trial, you must have been acquitted, or if you were convicted, you must have received a pardon.
It is important to remember that if you were not charged with a crime, you have to wait for a specific period of time to elapse before you can seek expunction. The waiting periods will differ depending on the crime for which you were arrested. A Class C misdemeanor requires you to wait 180 days after being arrested. A Class A or B misdemeanor entails a wait of one year. Felony arrests require you to wait three years.
Past arrests can be a real problem. With the options available under Texas law to seal prior arrests from public view, it is possible to not let previous mistakes or run-ins with the law hamper your life. Because Texas residents will have differing issues with prior arrests, this article should not be read as legal advice, only as general information.