Austin, TX asked in Criminal Law and Domestic Violence for Texas

Q: Do I have the ability to remove something on my record if it was just an arrest, and I wasn't convicted?

It's been years since this happened, but about 4 years ago I applied at HEB and was declined because of my "assault charge", is what they said. I know this has to be inaccurate because I was never charged, so I am curious what they saw on my background check?

4 Lawyer Answers
Tristan Nicolas LeGrande
Tristan Nicolas LeGrande
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Yes. Under Chapter 55 of the TX Code of Criminal Procedure, you can petition a civil court to have many types of criminal history record information removed from their respective databases. This includes, but is not limited to, records of formal misdemeanor or felony charges. An attorney can assist you with identifying which parties are reporting this information, and asking the court to expunge those records. Keep in mind, the process takes 3 to 6 months to complete, and many background check companies take a few months before the reported data that has been expunged has been purged from their systems.

Michael Hamilton Rodgers agrees with this answer

Michael Hamilton Rodgers
Michael Hamilton Rodgers
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: What Mr. LeGrande said is correct. To be clear in your case, it sounds as if no "formal" charges were ever filed. You don't say what "level" of offense you were arrested for, but the severity of the underlying facts determines the time frame whe you are able to request an expunction.

You should absolutely get this off of your record as it will very likely cause you problems the rest of your life if you do nothing.

For example, you might (and probably have been already) denied other employment opportunities. Prospective employers often do not mention why you didn't get hired, even if you ask them nicely! Also, your credit rating probaly is being harmed by this arrest. You can check this online, although I don't suggest checking your own credit unless you know what your doing. Sometimes just checking can lower your score. Your ability to get a higher security classification is definitely something that can occur because of arrests that are never removed.

Also, an added reason to take care of this is that assault is a violent crime and involves moral turpitude. That means that assault is wrong (or immoral) by its very nature, which implies serious negative character traits. In contrast, possession of marihuana is a crime, but not a crime of moral turpitude. This means that small amount of weed possession does not imply you have a negative character trait. Weed possession is only "wrong" because the Legislature has made it a crime, not because there is anything inherently criminal about the offense, other than the fact it has been made illegal.

Call a criminal lawyer as soon as you can to get the ball rolling on this. You're the only one who can do it, no one else can or will step up to fix your problem without affirmative action on your part. And good luck.

Penny Wymyczak-White
PREMIUM
Penny Wymyczak-White
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: If you were not convicted you can file to expunge the case.

John Cucci Jr.
John Cucci Jr.
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX

A: Yes!

As long as you were really never formally charged, it can be removed. There is a process to do so. The process may move slow, but it works.

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