How Many Years Does a Criminal Record Last?

If you or a loved one has a criminal record, or if you are facing criminal charges, you are probably wondering how long those charges are going to follow you around. Having a criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, find housing and visit your kids. It can also effect your ability to get credit and enroll in certain career training programs. Texas has a reputation for being tough on crime, and criminal records are hard to lose once you have them on your record. You will need the assistance of a good criminal law firm like Cole Paschall Law.

 

What does a Criminal Record Look Like?

A criminal record is a compilation of documents that are related to your particular criminal case. Depending upon the kind of case you have, those records are maintained by either the state or federal government. Ideally, they should be filed in chronological order. The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a database of federal crimes, but some states voluntarily provide their records to this database.  

In the state of Texas, a person’s criminal records are public and stored in the state’s database. They are available to anyone who wants to access them in a criminal background report. Criminal records are considered public records, as a criminal trial is a public event. The laws you are accused of breaking are rules that were agreed upon by a government elected to make decisions for the people. Hence, criminal records are deemed public, and people wanting to know someone’s criminal record are within their rights to inquire about it. People may be motivated by concern for their own safety, or just because of curiosity; the law makes no distinctions. 

 

How Long Will People Be Able to See My Criminal Record?

Criminal records are available to the public for an indefinite period of time. However, there are some cases in which your attorney may be able to get the record sealed or expunged. There are some rare cases where you might even be able to get the hard copy of a criminal record destroyed. Depending on your case, you may be eligible for a presidential pardon, if write a particularly compelling letter, or if you have the right person advocate on your behalf. 

 

Getting Records Expunged in Texas

When a criminal record is expunged, it means that that record can never be used against you and it cannot be released to anyone. If you were charged with a crime and then found not guilty or if the case was dismissed, you may be eligible for an expungement. You may also be eligible for expungement if you worked out a plea deal with the courts.

When you want to get a criminal record erased in Texas, your attorney will have to file paperwork with the court to get an expungement hearing. It takes about 30 days to get such a hearing in the Lone Star State. After that, you will wait about 180 days to actually have the record erased from your criminal history. 

 

Whenever you are accused of a crime, it is very important to find a lawyer with years of experience in Maryland and with the particular type of crime of which you have been accused. Your freedom is too important to be left in the hands of a public defender. 

*Authoritative Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expungement_in_Texas

https://www.fbi.gov/services/laboratory/biometric-analysis/federal-dna-database

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