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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26800
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have a felony and it is very difficult for me to find a job.

Customer Question

I have a felony and it is very difficult for me to find a job. Can you assist me with help on an expunge or something in that field. That will help me when they do background checks for my employment.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.
Good evening, and thanks for your question.

Unfortunately, the state of Texas is not good about allowing its convicted offenders to expunge their records. Unless you received a deferral on your felony and a dismissal of your sentence after the completion of your probation, you will not be eligible to get your record expunged until you first obtain a pardon by the governor.

Here is the Texas Expungement Law. If you are eligible, the link will explain how you would have to proceed in section #5. You would have to petition the court. Strictly speaking you would not need a lawyer to file for an expungement, if you were comfortable doing your own paperwork and appearing in court on your own behalf. There are, however, lawyers who specialize in expungements and pardons.

If it turns out that you don't meet the conditions necessary for an expungement, then you'd have to apply for a pardon. Getting a pardon is very difficult, but if you can get one granted, you could then go back and petition the court for the expungement, for which you would then be eligible. You could do this yourself as well.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles screens applicants for pardons in your state. I have linked you to their site where you can find more information and downloadable forms.. Once again, you would not be required to hire a lawyer to apply for this. The pardon doesn't erase your conviction but it is official recognition from the state that you've turned your life around. It's good to have even if you don't go on from there to seek an expungement.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok, I may have to get a pardon because I did not complete probation successfully. I was just wondering if there is any way I could get help on my record. Yes I have turnedmy life around and have decided to not go back down that road. I just need help it seems as if I can't get no job due to my past mistakes. How long will it take for a pardon approximately? Is there any other way that can assit me? For future employment at least before this year is up.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

There are lawyers who specialize in pardons, expungements and restoration of rights and perhaps it's not a bad idea for you to sit down with one. Many offer free or inexpensive initial consultations, and they may be able to package you in an an application better than you could for yourself.

Pardons are discretionary. That is, the governor of a state is free to use his pardon power as little or as much as he wishes. There are a lot of applicants, and most applicants are rejected. The state has an interest in wanting its criminal offenses to stick, so that people obey the law. There's no saying how long it will take. The screening is done carefully, and there is input from the prosecutor, the judge and the victim (if any) and family. Additionally, there are many people who have already applied who are waiting ahead of you. I am guessing that you could not count absolutely on getting a pardon within the year. However, the Board of Pardons form I linked you to has a contact number. And they could and give you a ballpark time frame if you call them.

I'm sorry not to be able to give you a solution to your problem. I'm limited to what the state affords. The only other option would be to hire a lawyer and see what he can do to reopen your case and get the conviction set aside. You'd need Due Process grounds to be able to accomplish this, it would be expensive and a real long shot. You'd have to talk to a post-conviction lawyer about something like that, who can tell you if it will prove to cost you too much money for too little possibility of gain.

Good luck!