Expunction? Why do I Need One?

Contact Us Today at (512) 359-3300

I frequently get cases dismissed for clients that do not take the extra step of getting their cases expunged when the time comes. I know there are attorney fees and court costs involved along with the hassle of an extra court date, but in the end, all records of your arrest will be destroyed for all purposes. This means that even prosecutors and the police will not be able to see records of the arrest. Why is this important you might ask? My case was dismissed?

First off, in Texas an expunction allows you to answer under oath that you were never arrested for the offense that was expunged.

Secondly, an expunction is huge for employment purposes. Employers will have a much more difficult time finding an expunged arrest. (In this digital day and age, it may be impossible to remove every entry on every website). Since there are so many background check websites out there that collect data, there may be a website or websites that still have information regarding the arrest despite the fact that it was expunged and is no longer on your official arrest record.

The biggest reason you may want to get an expunction, however, is that you may get arrested again. I know what you are saying. It will not not happen to me. I am seeing it more and more where clients who have cases that were eligible for expunction get arrested for another crime or the same crime at some point in the future and that dismissal is still on their record plain as day for the prosecutor to see. You may say, "Well, the prosecutor shouldn't hold a dismissal against me." Unfortunately, they almost always do. They treat the dismissal as a learning exercise. They feel like you should have learned from the dismissal and not made a mistake in the future and will usually enhance the punishment during negotiations, and/or attempt to introduce it during sentencing if convicted at trial, on the next arrest or on the next series of arrests.

Currently, I have client who has had two DWI cases eligible for expunctions and ignored getting either of them expungedand then got arrested again for the same crime, DWI, and is now wondering why the prosecutor and the county in general is viewing his case and the punishment on his new case so harshly. In my client's eyes and in the technical eyes of the law, it is a first offense. Yes, but in the prosecutor's eyes and in the State of Texas' mind, it is his third arrest and he got breaks on his first two arrests. Pretrial bonding is treating him like a multiple offender for purposes of his bond conditions (meaning he has an ignition interlock device and has to take enhanced DWI classes) and the prosecutor is treating him as if he has prior DWI convictions for purposes of punishment in plea negotiations. Having an extraordinarily high blood alcohol concentration along with a traffic collision does not help either. Had he gotten those two prior arrests expunged, the prosecutor and state would have had no idea he had the prior arrests and they would have treated him like any other first offender with a high blood alcohol concentration and traffic collision. (Mind you, he also has a pending case in another county as well.)

It is important to note that your entire criminal history is something that prosecutors take into account when negotiating punishment in a given case. When I step into a courtroom to plea bargain a case, every arrest you ever had that has not been expunged is sitting there in front of the prosecutor and they take it into account. It may be a first offense DWI case, but if you have been to prison, had multiple arrests for various crimes, had multiple DWIs dismissed, and have a pending DWI in another county, the prosecutor is going to treat this first offense DWI a lot differently than they would a first offense with no other criminal history. That is why it is important to clean up your criminal history as much as you possible can. You never know if you might get arrested again in the future.

If you have a question about whether any of your prior arrests in Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, Burnet County, Bastrop County, Caldwell County, Comal County, Lee County, and Bell County may be eligible for an expunction call the Law Offices of Jason Trumpler at (512) 359-3300.

We have offices in Austin, Texas and Round Rock, Texas.

Categories: