Montgomery County Post-conviction Lawyers
Winning and Experienced Trial Attorneys to Help You Move Past Your Conviction
There is always a way out. As defense attorneys, we firmly believe in second chances, and we are here to help you claim them. State and federal law offer a range of post-conviction relief options, from direct appeals to expunctions to nondisclosures. We have been advocating for convicted clients in court for decades, and we are more than prepared to strategize an effective appeal to assert your rights following conviction. We can also help you rebuild your life in the long term after conviction by cleaning up your criminal record.
Your past does not have to define your future; let Steinmann Law Firm help you start fresh post-conviction. Contact our firm for an initial consultation to learn more about your options.
Expunctions and Nondisclosures
Appeals are a way to overturn a conviction, but you can also seek post-conviction relief in the form of expunctions or nondisclosures, which essentially clean up your criminal record. Expunctions can permanently remove entries from your adult criminal record, but only for certain crimes. Nondisclosure, or sealing, hides, instead of removes, certain offenses from public view (they will still be visible to criminal justice agencies and specified government entitles).
Not all convicted individuals may be eligible for expunction or nondisclosure. Typically, charges that resulted in an actual conviction or regular community supervision will not be eligible for expunction but may be eligible for nondisclosure. More specifically, expunction is available to individuals whose Class C misdemeanor offenses resulted in deferred adjudication and those whose offenses did not result in a conviction, were dismissed, or were acquitted or pardoned.
You are eligible for a nondisclosure unless you have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for:
- An offense requiring registration as a sex offender
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Human trafficking
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
- Abandoning or endangering a child
- Violating court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or trafficking case
- Any other offense involving family violence
To obtain an expunction, you can file an Application for Expunction in the arresting county, which will then set a court hearing after 30 days from the date of filing. If the Order of Expunction is granted, the specified offense will be removed from your criminal record and you will not be required to mention it in any context, such as job applications or housing applications.
To obtain a nondisclosure in Texas, you can pursue one of two methods:
- Automatic nondisclosure for first-time misdemeanors – First-time misdemeanors and charges that have been dismissed and discharged after August 31, 2017 will be automatically granted nondisclosure, typically 6 months after the date you were placed on deferred adjudication.
- Nondisclosure with petition – Eligible offenses that do not qualify for automatic nondisclosure should proceed with a petition for nondisclosure.
There is a waiting period to file for expunction and nondisclosure, depending on the offense:
- Class C misdemeanors – 180 days
- Class A and B misdemeanors – 1 year
- Felonies – 3 years
- Most misdemeanors – immediately or soon after you complete your sentence or deferred adjudication
- Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, 43, and 46 misdemeanors – 2 years
- Felonies – 5 years
- DWIs – 2-5 years
If the court has ruled unfavorably in your initial trial, you and your attorney may file a Motion for a New Trial within 30 days of the original judgment. An appeal should not bring in new witnesses or documents; it is not treated as a new trial and is instead a process for the appeals court to review your case record to identify any procedural errors in the first trial. The relevant records for the appeal trial will be your first trial records.
The appeals process will not establish your guilt or innocence in the face of your original charges; instead, it is meant for reviewing the verdict of the lower court to determine whether the evidence actually supports the outcome. If it does not, your conviction should be overturned on the grounds of procedural error.
If you lose your appeal, your attorney has 15 days to file a motion to rehear the case. If this request is denied, you then have 30 days to petition a discretionary review by the appeals court in Texas.
While conviction may feel discouraging, it can be comforting to know you have several post-conviction relief options to explore. Our attorneys at Steinmann Law Firm have decades of experience defending clients in court, and we can help you build a strong appeal against an unfavorable court ruling or help you apply for expunction or nondisclosure to help you move on with your life after conviction.
Contact Steinmann Law Firm for an initial consultation to discuss your legal options in more detail.
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