An Expungement is a legal process that “seals” or destroys criminal records and Kevin Bennett is a leading advocate and criminal attorney in Austin that specializes in this legal area. He possesses a passion for expungement because he has seen how relatively minor legal infractions can result in a lifetime of negative consequences. “Many people make the mistake of thinking that a dismissed case will not appear on their criminal record or that it will not show up on a background check. That is a common misconception and often times comes back to haunt individuals when applying to graduate school, an apartment, a new job or some other large opportunity in their life. These dismissed cases will almost always show up on a background check and this is why it is so important to protect your criminal record through the expunction process,” states Mr. Bennett.
As an Austin criminal defense lawyer Mr. Bennett has worked with numerous individuals from young adults to the elderly and long ago realized that most people do not know that they have the legal right to request an expungement of a dismissed case that happened years in the past. “As a practicing criminal defense lawyer in a major college town such as Austin, I’ve helped many young adults expunge old cases such as DWI, drug possession and other types of felony or misdemeanor cases off their record. Many of these clients wanted to clean their criminal record prior to graduating, entering the job market or attending medical or graduate school,” explained Mr. Bennett.
Most expungements relate to events that occurred on the state level and are processed by state courts, not federal courts. Texas has its own laws and rules that guide the expungement process. There are many convictions that do NOT qualify for an expungement. These convictions would include murder, rape, major weapons violations, numerous sexual crimes, and various crimes involving minors.
It should be noted that when a criminal record is expunged in Texas it could be sealed or destroyed. They are not the same. Every case has its own set of circumstances but dismissed proceedings usually have a greater chance of having records destroyed rather than sealed. And criminal cases resulting in deferred adjudication also have a better success record when requesting that the records be sealed, because judges, like most people, are more forgiving of errors in judgement by the young or first time offenders.
Since every criminal case and the circumstances are different, Austinites who desire a “cleaner” record should contact an Austin criminal defense attorney. A one hour consultation is affordable and could prove to be a life-changing moment. Most attorneys are reluctant to discuss prices publicly but Mr. Bennett suggested most expungement cases fall in the $1500 to $2500 range. That sounds like a fair price when considering that a tainted background check can disqualify people from employment opportunities, housing, educational advancement, military service, and other aspects of life most people take for granted.
After a reasonable time period has expired after a successful expungement a criminal lawyer can confirm and verify that an individual’s background check is “clean” and not reporting the prior criminal event. There are also reputable background checking agencies that provide a similar service.