We all know that youth can be a chaotic time. Many young adults often find themselves in high-risk situations and with a lack of concern for their own safety, that of others, and a propensity for bad decision-making and lack of foresight. Science itself indicates that the teenage brain is actually structured differently, which can account for the often confounding behavior exhibited by the young. Unfortunately for many, however, this time of change and development leads them to a spotty legal record that becomes a real problem as they move out into the workforce and try and become full grown adults.
What is Expunction?
The word itself means to erase, to blot out, or to prick out completely. It refers to the cleansing of one’s personal legal criminal record. The United States legal system seems to be sympathetic to the fact that people make mistakes in developmental youth stages and that these mistakes shouldn’t necessarily mean an eternal condemnation and representation of the person’s character for the rest of their lives. This is why a lot of juvenile records, depending on several factors, can be expunged and sealed, out of the public eye and the consideration of society.
Sealed Records vs Expunction of Records
In many cases, a record of a conviction for an offense committed by a person under 17 years of age may be erased. Juvenile convictions are very often treated differently. In many states, juvenile records are often sealed and available only to law enforcement, courts, and prosecutors. In Texas, this is not necessarily the case. The law in the state allows some juveniles to seal the record after a certain time or it lets them expunge it.
To seal your records in Texas, a person usually needs to wait until they reach the age of 21. This only applies to charges between the ages of 10 and 17. This doesn’t apply to all charges either. Aggravated felonies and sex offenses cannot be sealed.
This is different, however, than the expunction of records. Expunction refers to criminal records that are completely erased. Every state is different. In Texas, the individual must follow certain procedures and meet certain criteria in order to apply to get their records expunged. They must also meet certain criteria. The person charged must have been 17 or younger at the time of the offense and must not have been convicted of more than offense. The person seeking to erase their records must first reach a certain age and/or wait for the statute of limitations must expire. When it comes to charges of consumption or possession of alcohol, tobacco products, or failure to attend school, a person can get these expunged if they follow certain procedures.
When Looking at an Expunction of Records, Get Professional Counsel
The law can be somewhat confusing and the procedures a little convoluted. If you’re looking to get your criminal charges erased—whether you live in Texas or New Mexico— speak to a professional. You want to make sure that the person working your case understands the law and will get the job done effectively. You don’t have to carry those records with you forever, call the Aranda Law Firm and we can help them disappear.