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Expunction vs. Sealing Your Criminal Record

Whether you have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor, that charge can follow you and affect the rest of your life. Even after you have finished your punishment, whether it was jail time, fines, or probation, you may find that your conviction still impacts factors like applying for a job or a place to live. That is why many people who have faced conviction in the past turn to ways of clearing their criminal record, like expunction or sealing of criminal records. Our San Antonio criminal defense attorney explains what you need to know and which option works best in your situation.

Is There a Difference Between the Two?

When an individual seals their criminal record they make it so that the record cannot be accessed by normal means. That means that people who may try to access your record when you apply for a loan or a job will not be able to see your conviction. The record will still exist but only those with higher access, like police officers, will be able to see your conviction.

On the other hand, an expunction makes it as if your record never existed. No one can access your record, not even by court order. Like a true clean slate, expunction makes it as if you were never convicted of a crime, unlike sealing your record which makes your record difficult to access by conventional means.

Which One Should You Pursue for Your Record?

Because expunction removes your record completely, many people want to pursue that option for their record. However, not every case is qualified for expunction since some cases can only be sealed.

In Texas, you may be qualified for expunction if:

You were charged but not convicted of a crime The offense was a minor alcohol-related charge The offense was a qualifying misdemeanor juvenile You were charged with Failure to Attend School You received a pardon You were acquitted by the Criminal Court of Appeals.

If you do not qualify for expunction, you can still have a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer help you seal your record.

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