Any assault charges in Houston, no matter if you are found innocent or the charges are dismissed, will remain on your permanent public record for the rest of your life. This can make it difficult to find a job, qualify for a loan, enroll in school or even lease an apartment.
You shouldn’t continue to be punished for a crime you weren’t convicted of. Is there any way to get an assault charge removed from your record in Texas?
Texas state law allows residents to request to have an assault charge removed from their record if they meet certain criteria.
Getting an Assault Charge Removed in Texas
“Expunction” is a civil action where an individual petitions the court to have all records relating to an arrest be sealed, effectively having the assault charge removed or “expunged” from their public record. If your arrest resulted in a fine, incarceration or any form of court-ordered probation, you are probably not eligible for expunction.
Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states that 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 only if the meet certain criteria:
- They were arrested but charges were never filed.
- They were acquitted (found “not guilty”) by a judge or jury.
- Their case was dismissed for lack of probable cause, insufficient evidence or unavailable witnesses.
- The grand jury “no billed” an indictment against them
- They were convicted at the trial level, but then acquitted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
- Their criminal record is the result of identity theft.
- They were pardoned based on their actual innocence.
Petition a Judge to Get the Charge Removed
So you meet the criteria – how do you go about having your assault charge removed from the record?
The first step is filing a petition, or request, for expunction or nondisclosure with the district court in the county where you were arrested. If the judge agrees with your petition, the record of the charges will be hidden from the general public and will not appear in any background checks. You don’t have to acknowledge the arrest ever took place, even on a job or loan application. Only law enforcement and criminal justice agencies will continue to have access to the record.
Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Even though the assault charges against you were dismissed or dropped, the record of your arrest and being charged will remain in the public record forever, unless you take action. Getting an assault charge removed or expunged from the public record is a complex process with many rules and procedures.
Houston assault attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss has a long record of helping those who were unfairly arrested or accused get an assault charge removed from the public record. Contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a consultation to determine if you meet the criteria to have your assault charge removed and expunged.