Having an arrest on your record for drug possession in Texas can have a negative impact on your life. Even if you were found not guilty or received deferred adjudication, your record could be used against you when it comes to finding a job, getting insurance, buying a house or during a divorce or child custody dispute.
What’s a person to do? You can’t just erase that drug arrest from your record, can you?
Under some circumstances, such as if your arrest did not result in a conviction or formal prosecution, Texas law allows you to permanently have your drug arrest record expunged, which means to remove information about your arrest, charge or conviction from your permanent record in a legal process called expunction.
Under What Circumstances Can You Have the Record of a Drug Crime Arrest Expunged?
Expungement is a civil action in which a person petitions the court to have all records of their arrest and any subsequent court proceedings permanently removed from the public record. Legally, it’s as if the arrest never took place.
Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a person who has been arrested for either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
- They were arrested for a drug crime but not charged.
- Their case was dismissed due to a lack of probable cause, insufficient evidence or unavailable witnesses.
- A grand jury “no billed” the indictment against them.
- They were acquitted – found not guilty – by a judge or jury of the drug crime they were charged with.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a drug crime by a judge or jury you will not be able to get your arrest record expunged.
If you are not eligible to get your drug arrest record expunged, you may qualify to request an Order of Nondisclosure, also known as Texas record sealing. It does not eliminate the record of your arrest but seals it from public domain. Only certain government agencies will be able to view your records.
Getting Your Drug Arrest Record Expunged
The process for getting a drug arrest expungement can be a complicated one. You must complete and submit a notarized Petition for Expunction to the court with jurisdiction in your case. A hearing will be scheduled and the court will send notice to all relevant respondents.
At the hearing, the court will consider the respondents’ testimony. If it’s determined that you meet all the requirements, your petition for expunction will likely be granted and filed. It will be as if the arrest never took place. In fact, you can legally deny the arrest ever took place, even on a job or loan application.
Failing to provide the proper information to the court can result in your petition to have your drug arrest expungement denied by the court.
Does Your Drug Arrest Record Qualify for Expungement under Texas Law?
Sometimes having a drug arrest on your record can be as bad as having a conviction. Fortunately, Texas law provides a way to have the information pertaining to your arrest permanently and completely removed from your public record.
If you were arrested and charged with a drug crime in Houston, it’s important to seek the services of an experienced attorney who can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Houston criminal defense attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss has helped many clients minimize the effects of a drug arrest on their lives. Call Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the details of your case.