This is the next post in a series of articles discussing recent changes in Texas’ unlawful carry law and the ability to expunge certain prior convictions from one’s criminal record. My previous post discussed the provision of the new law which provides for the ability to expunge convictions under Texas Penal Code 46.02(a) that occurred prior to September 1, 2021. The ability to erase such information from one’s criminal record can be life-changing. If you believe you may be eligible to seek expunction of an unlawful carry conviction, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this new development as soon as possible. In this article, I will discuss the expunction process. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
I have previously written about the process of seeking an expunction of criminal charges generally. Those wishing to expunge an unlawful carry conviction from their record as now permitted under Texas law will follow a similar process. First, your attorney will request a complete copy of your criminal record. The lawyer will review this information to verify that you are eligible for expunction and that the record is complete to avoid any potential challenges to the request for inaccuracies in the required filings. In other criminal expunction matters, whether or not a person may be eligible is highly dependent upon their criminal history, nature of the charges, or whether they were actually convicted and later proved innocent or pardoned. For instance, if an individual was charged with multiple crimes or their particular situation requires them to wait for a certain period of time before seeking expunction, determining if they are eligible is not always straightforward. As stated above, however, the new law expressly states that anyone convicted of unlawful carry under Texas Penal Code 46.02(a) prior to September 1, 2021 is entitled to have such charges expunged immediately. Therefore, your attorney will determine whether you were convicted of violating this provision and, if so, continue with the process on your behalf.
Once your eligibility is confirmed, your attorney will prepare and file a petition for expunction. Expunctions are civil matters, not criminal matters. You will, therefore, be identified in the petition and throughout the case as the petitioner and the law enforcement agency will be the respondent. The court will schedule the date and time for a review hearing. The respondent is generally provided with thirty (30) days notice of the hearing and may object to the request on certain grounds. In other criminal matters, they may, for instance, object to a petition because an individual is not eligible or their petition is procedurally or factually incorrect. This is also true in the case of petitions related to unlawful carry charges. Given the express language in the new law, however, there are very few other legitimate grounds for the state to object to the request. Assuming there are no objections to the petition, the court will issue an order for expungement after the hearing concludes and your records related to the unlawful carry charge will be subsequently destroyed or deleted.
If you believe that you may be able to expunge an unlawful carry conviction and need assistance, contact my Austin office to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. I also serve the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.