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Attorney at Law

1002 Rio Grande
Austin, Texas 78701

Phone answered
24 Hours a Day



If you are arrested, there are two major distinct repercussions which flow from the arrest.  The first, and most obvious, is the consequences of the sentence that you face if you are convicted of the charges.  The second, which is less obvious, but which in many ways is as serious, is the existence of records related to your arrest which are generated throughout the criminal justice system. Just follow the flow of the paperwork for a minute.  The arresting agency, for example, say the Austin Police Department or the Travis County Sheriff's Office, enters your name into their computers.  Upon arriving at the jail, the record of your arrest is entered into the jail records and photographs and fingerprints are taken and sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety, where a file with your name is opened and those items are recorded and stored.  DPS can also forward these records to federal law enforcement agencies.  If you were interviewed by the Travis County Personal Bond Office for release on personal bond, your name will be entered on their computer.  If counseling is ordered as a condition of the bond, the counseling agency likewise will have a file on you.  The Travis County District Clerk and the District Attorney's Office (in the case of a felony) or the Travis County Clerk and the County Attorney's Office (in the case of a misdemeanor) each will open a file on you.  As you can see, this is quite a paper trail.  While the general public does not have access to these law enforcement records, law enforcement and prosecutorial offices can check these records any time they like.  The general public, however, does have access to files in all District and County Clerk's Offices in the State of Texas.

If you are fortunate enough to have charges against you dismissed, it is possible to have this entire paper trail destroyed.  This is called an expunction.  If you have had misdemeanor charges filed against you and they are dismissed, then you are entitled, as a matter of law, to have them expunged.  You should be aware that if you are placed on a deferred adjudication probation, although that is not considered a conviction, you are not entitled to have your records expunged; your criminal history will always show that you were arrested, although no conviction will be noted.  If you are arrested for a felony, and no indictment is returned against you, you also are entitled to have your records expunged.  If you are indicted for a felony and you are acquitted at trial, then the records may be expunged.  However, if the DA's office dismisses the case on their own motion, prior to trial, then you must show the court in which the expunction is filed that the indictment was the result of a mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of dismissal.  This is a very difficult thing to prove, which is why it is so important if you are arrested for a felony, to have your attorney get in touch with the DA's Office as soon as possible to see if an indictment can be avoided.

To have your records expunged, a petition for expunction must be filed in the District Court of the county where you were arrested.  This is a civil lawsuit and the petitioner (that is you), must pay the District Court the same filing fee as you would in filing any civil lawsuit.  The total filing fee cost depends on how many law enforcement agencies must be served with the lawsuit papers.  The court filing fees are generally around $275; this is in addition to whatever legal fee an attorney charges for the work.  If the expunction is granted, then all the law enforcement agencies that were served with the petition of expunction are served with a court order which orders them to destroy all the records that they have related to the arrest and prosecution in question.  Even more importantly, a person who has had his records expunged is entitled to deny that he ever was arrested for the expunged offense.  This is the only instance that I know of that the law actually will allow you to knowingly lie about something.  Therefore, you can see how important it is to have your records expunged if you are legally entitled to do so.

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