This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Texas Setting Aside of Conviction service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.
Yes; however, the case will show as set aside or dismissed instead of as a conviction. If an employer searches for convictions then it will not appear because it is not a conviction but if the employer searches for dismissed cases then it will appear. Even though it is not sealed, a setting aside releases you from most penalties, disabilities, and restrictions resulting from that conviction.
Yes. If you ever commit another offense in the future, the conviction that has been “set aside” can be used by the judge in that future case.
As indicated above, setting aside does not erase the records from your background. However, you can state that you were not “convicted” in the case because the guilty judgment will have been “set aside” and dismissed.
Yes. If you are granted a setting aside, most state agency will be prohibited from considering the offense in deciding whether to grant you a particular license (teaching, nursing, etc.), except for when you apply for a license with the Health and Human Services Commission that involve child care services. However, even if your conviction is set aside, you are still disqualified from becoming a law enforcement officer, security officer, or county jailer.
Section 19 of the FDIA (Federal Deposit Insurance Act) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.
"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission.
Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.
If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the FDIC. It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.
You have an attorney to (1) make sure it is done right the first time so it does not get rejected or cost you months of delay (2) handle objections from the district attorney (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will most likely have the conviction off of your record in the near future.
Although a licensed attorney will appear in court for you, in Texas cases, the judge will frequently require your presence. If you live out of state or if attending the hearing would be a hardship for you, we can ask the court to excuse your presence, but this is not guaranteed.
Once you sign up we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks questions that influence the outcome of the case and allows us to argue the case before a judge. Although some of the questions may seem simple, the more information and detail that you provide in your answers the better we are able to argue the case in your favor.
The case typically takes four to seven months (depending on county) because the court has to give the government an opportunity to respond, and if the government objects a hearing is often held. The length of each petition varies based on the circumstances of each case and each individual, as well as the caseload of the court at the time.
We base our estimates of how long a case will take on how long the average is for that service in that state. However, some cases can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the DA is agreeing or objecting, the age of the case, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and DA in anything they need to get your case heard.
The courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner it is heard and decided. If it helps, we would be glad to write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having it dismissed.
We have an online tracking system that is just for your case or cases. You will have a user name and password for the account and it will have the information specific to the case. Whenever anything happens in your case we post it in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that is made. If there is no post on your online account then that means that there is no update in the case. For example, once we update your online account to reflect that we have filed the motion with the court we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or District Attorney. Depending on the court, it can take several weeks to months to hear from the court or District Attorney whether there is an objection, hearing, or anything else. If something is taking longer than usual for the court we will call to obtain status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information in the case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.
Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print it.
While we cannot definitively predict the exact outcome, we have been successful in most of our set aside cases. The more supporting evidence that you have of your reform and law abiding behavior the better your chances of success are. If you would like us to evaluate your case and give you the chances of success then we can do so for a fee and it will be applied to the probation termination fee if you sign up.
Because judges rarely grant setting asides in Harris and Tarrant County we do not provide the setting aside service in Harris and Tarrant County.
No, it does not matter. If you have a case that is eligible for setting aside, it does not matter whether you plead guilty/no contest or were convicted after a trial.
We are unable to offer a money back guarantee because the process involves a substantial amount of preparation and sometimes several appearances in court by our attorneys. We cannot afford to offer this low of a price and a money back guarantee.
We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Please view the pricing for details regarding the payment plans.
We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done. We charge a researching fee to do it and we apply that to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.
The court will look at each individual case and determine if that particular case is eligible to be set aside. Thus, having multiple offenses on your record does not necessarily make you ineligible; however, the court can still consider your entire criminal record in deciding whether you are worthy of being granted the request.
No. At the present time, there does not appear to be any law in Texas that allows a judge to reduce a felony down to a misdemeanor long after the felony has been imposed.
The guilty judgment is set aside, and the charge is “dismissed” as though you were never convicted. The records will not be sealed or expunged, but they can only be used against you in the future under very limited circumstances (see above). You can represent to people that you were never “convicted” in the case.
Yes. Setting aside does not seal or expunge the records. However, the records should be updated to reflect that your case resulted in a set aside/dismissal rather than a “conviction.”
Yes. Your criminal history will state that you were charged with a crime and the charge resulted in a dismissal.
The court will issue a written order, which directs all agencies that have records of the offense to act according to the order and send it to the Texas Department of Public Safety and other agencies with your records. The agencies typically update their records within 30 days.
The court updates the records shortly after the order is signed. The Texas Department of Public Safety and agencies typically update their records within 30 days.
If it is denied, it is usually because of (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) the court does not believe it will be in the interest of society to grant you a setting aside, (4) you violated your probation, (5) you have not paid all fines, or (6) the offense is otherwise not eligible to be set aside.
If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If we do not believe that refiling would be successful or we recommend the person wait longer to refile, then we review the case to see if there is any basis for appeal.
No. This is because offenses that require sex offender registration are not, in most cases, eligible for setting aside. Although you may still able to obtain a setting aside for certain registrable offenses (offenses committed before September 01, 2009), getting the offense set aside does not release you of your duty to continue registering.
Yes. Setting aside is meant for those who were convicted and then granted probation/community supervision.
No. The records will still be a part of your driving records. However, DMV records fall off your driving record after a certain period of time unlike criminal history records.
If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you are prohibited from entrance and further action is required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States; so the Canadian government will have the same information the United States has on record. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of this will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and no longer considered a conviction and improve the odds of not being denied entry to Canada or being stuck at the border for lengthy interrogation.
The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; so it would be wise to invest in record clearing before applying for a pass. A modest investment in expungement could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. It will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.
Voting rights are restored to felons convicted in Texas once a person is fully discharged the felony sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or after completion of a period of probation ordered by any court.
Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, it is important to get a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case it is imperative you contact a qualified immigration attorney. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.
You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.
Yes. Setting aside restores your gun rights in Texas. However, there is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States government (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by the federal law. The federal definition is different than many states’ definitions, so your domestic violence conviction in might not trigger the federal law. Expungement in Texas does not lift the federal prohibition. Additionally, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a conviction that has been “set aside” still counts as a conviction for purposes of getting a concealed handgun license in Texas.
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Law Firm of Higbee & Associates
825 W. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701 *
1314 Texas Ave. Suite 701, Houston, TX 77002 *
6060 North Central Expressway Suite 315, Dallas, TX 75206 *
*By Appointment Only