Criminal law is a funny thing, except that it is not really a laughing matter. A criminal record has a bad-penny way of cropping up to mess up a person’s life, and in some instances the record isn’t even for a conviction!

When a person is arrested, it creates an arrest record. That’s fine as far as that goes, but the thing is the arrest record does not go away even when the charges are dropped, dismissed, or not even made at all! There are instances when a person gets arrested for being mistaken for someone else, or for suspicion of doing something criminal but without enough evidence to sustain the arrest.

In such cases, you would think that the records will be automatically deleted or expunged because there was no basis for the arrest. Well, you would be wrong. In order to clear your record of even an arrest, you need to petition for expunction. And that is not as easy as it sounds.

It may seem like a small thing, but as pointed out at many finds that having a criminal record can impact on education, career, or financial opportunities. The presumption is that if you got arrested, although not convicted, there must have been a good reason for it.

To qualify for an expunction, you would have to satisfy a set of criteria and then only can you file what is called an ex parte petition in the county where you were arrested. That means that if you live in Houston but are arrested in Allen, you would have to file it in Collin County. You would have to go to a hearing after the details of the case has been verified, and the order of expunction is sent to the responsible state agency, which will then be required to get back all the files and records of the arrest. A petition for expunction can be appealed by the state. All in all, it’s a lot of work so it would be advisable to retain a criminal defense lawyer to undertake expunction for you.