How to Seal Past Dallas Drug Convictions With an Attorney
How to Seal Past Dallas Drug Convictions With an Attorney
Having a past drug conviction on your record can make life really hard. It can be difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or even apply to college if you have a criminal record. But there is hope! In Texas, you may be able to seal your criminal record and move on with your life. This article will explain how the record sealing process works in Dallas County and provide tips for working with a Dallas record sealing attorney to clear your name.
What is record sealing?
Record sealing, also called expungement, is the process of removing eligible criminal records from public view. When your record is sealed, most private employers and landlords will not be able to see your past conviction anymore. Record sealing limits access to your criminal record so you can have a clean slate and a fresh start.
Am I eligible to seal my Dallas drug conviction?
In Texas, you may be eligible to seal certain drug possession charges, even felonies, after a waiting period. For misdemeanors, the waiting period is 2 years after you complete probation or 3 years after the end of your jail term. For felonies, you must wait 5 years after completing probation or parole. There are other requirements too – for example, you can’t have any pending criminal charges.
Unfortunately, record sealing is not allowed for all types of crimes. You can’t seal violent felonies, sex offenses, or DWI convictions. Your attorney can advise if your specific drug charge is eligible.
How does the Dallas record sealing process work?
Sealing your criminal record in Dallas County involves a few key steps:
- Filing a Petition – Your attorney will prepare the legal paperwork called a Petition for Nondisclosure and file it with the court.
- Background Check – The court runs a background check to verify you are eligible.
- Hearing – In some cases, you may have to attend a short hearing where the judge reviews your petition.
- Court Order – If approved, the judge issues an order sealing your eligible convictions.
From start to finish, it can take 2-3 months to seal your record. The waiting period is usually the longest part. Once eligible, the actual sealing process moves quickly.
Should I hire a Dallas record sealing attorney?
Trying to seal your criminal record on your own is very difficult. That’s why hiring an experienced Dallas record sealing attorney is highly recommended. Here are some key benefits of having a lawyer handle your case:
- Ensures Eligibility – They will examine your specific drug conviction and criminal history to advise if you qualify for record sealing in Texas.
- Handles Paperwork – Your attorney will properly prepare and file the petition and other required documents.
- Represents You in Court – If a hearing is required, your lawyer will attend and present your case to the judge.
- Increases Approval Odds – Their expertise and advocacy can help get your petition approved.
Without an attorney, your petition could be rejected due to errors and you may not get a second chance. Don’t risk it – hire a lawyer you trust.
How to choose the right Dallas record sealing attorney
Not all lawyers have the same skills and experience with record sealing cases. When researching Dallas expungement attorneys, look for these important qualifications:
- Expertise with Texas Record Sealing Laws – Make sure they regularly handle expungements in Dallas County and keep up with changes in the law.
- High Petition Approval Rate – Ask about their success record – the best lawyers have high approval ratings.
- Strong Client Reviews – Look for consistently positive client reviews and testimonials.
- Clear Communication – They should explain the process in detail and set clear expectations.
- Fair Fees – Record sealing attorney fees vary, but should be affordable and not overpriced.
Take time to have a consultation with a few Dallas record sealing attorneys before deciding who to hire. Make sure you feel comfortable with them and confident in their abilities. This is your chance at a clean slate – you want the best lawyer possible sealing your Dallas drug conviction.
What does a Dallas record sealing attorney cost?
Attorney fees for record sealing vary depending on experience, demand, and other factors. In Dallas County, you can expect to pay:
- $2,000 – $3,500 for a misdemeanor drug possession charge
- $3,000 – $5,000+ for a felony drug possession charge
Complex cases with multiple convictions may cost more. Additional court fees and expenses may also apply. Be sure to get a written fee agreement upfront so you know the total estimated cost.
While attorney fees may seem expensive, having your record cleared is truly priceless. It removes barriers to getting a job, finding housing, and rebuilding your life. View it as an investment in your future.
Legal financial help for record sealing
If you can’t afford a private attorney, there are options for free or reduced cost legal help in Dallas County:
- Legal Aid of Northwest Texas – Provides free record sealing services for low income individuals. Call (214) 748-1234.
- Dallas County Public Defender – May assist with sealing for eligible past clients. Call (214) 653-3550.
- Texas A&M Law School Clinics – Law students offer pro bono assistance under attorney supervision. Call (214) 653-3550.
Consult with a legal aid organization first to see if you qualify for their services. If not, many private attorneys offer payment plans or will reduce fees in proven hardship cases.
The benefits of sealing your Dallas drug conviction
Getting your record sealed is a major milestone. It removes the barriers of your past conviction and allows you to move forward. Here are some of the biggest benefits:
- Better Job Opportunities – Employers won’t see your record, opening up your options.
- Easier Apartment Rental – Landlords can’t access or discriminate based on sealed records.
- Continuing Your Education – You can often pursue college or vocational training.
- Improved Self-Esteem – You don’t have to be defined by your past mistakes.
- Gun Ownership Rights – In some cases, you may restore your ability to own firearms.
Record sealing gives you a true second chance in life. If you have past Dallas drug convictions holding you back, contact a local attorney today to start the record clearing process.