To erase a criminal conviction, as well as any arrest or other records related to that conviction, defendants must meet certain minimum requirements. Only certain types of offenses, and certain dispositions, qualify for expungement.
Even if the defendant meets the minimum requirements, the judge still has a great deal of discretion. In fact, unless the defendant convinces the Parker County judge that expungement is appropriate in that particular case, there’s a good chance the judge will deny the petition.
So, Weatherford criminal defense attorneys often advance one or more of the following arguments during expungement hearings.
Federal Assistance Eligibility
Many states deny public housing, TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) benefits, and other federal money to people who have criminal convictions on their records. Qualifying for these benefits helps people start over, which is one of the main reasons the expungement law exists.
License and Certificate Denial
Typically, states do not issue professional licenses to people with criminal records. That’s normally the case even if the license had nothing to do with the conviction. It makes sense that a person with a sex offense conviction cannot open a daycare, but why should that person not be able to be a barber?
This one often comes up many years after the fact. In most cases, if you have a conviction on your record, you cannot adopt a child. End of story. The good news is that very old convictions are usually easier to expunge than more recent ones.
Organizations have a great deal of discretion here. For example, many groups do not allow people to volunteer if they have been convicted of a Crime of Moral Turpitude. The CMT label sounds awful, but it includes many nonviolent cases, like theft and even writing a bad check.
Landlords also have considerable discretion when it comes to leasing property to people with criminal records. Many are simply prejudiced against people with certain criminal pasts, so they just refuse to rent to anyone in that category.
Certain convictions terminate your right to own a gun. The prohibition may apply to other types of protective equipment as well, regardless of why you need it.
A criminal record is usually an employment bar, especially in certain situations. Even if the state or municipality has a “ban the box” law, such laws only prevent employers from asking conviction-related questions during the initial interview.
Criminal convictions often derail college admissions. They nearly always prevent students from obtaining financial aid and receiving any awards or recognition. People need to pursue their educations to start over, which is why this pro-expungement argument is particularly powerful.
Criminal convictions could even prevent people from getting student loans. In fact, that prohibition usually applies to other types of commercial loans as well. Even if the bank approves the loan, people with criminal histories often pay higher interest rates. Banks consider them greater credit risks.
Higher Insurance Premiums
This area affects almost everyone, because almost everyone must have some kind of property or other financial insurance. Insurance is all about risk, and when companies see criminal convictions, they believe the person might file fraudulent claims.
Record expungement may change your life. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Parker County and nearby jurisdictions.