Is It Possible To Have An Arrest Expunged From Someone’s Record?
It’s rare, but you can be arrested without charges ever being filed against you. In those cases, it is possible to have your arrest record expunged even though it didn’t result in the filing of a criminal case and you having to appear in court.
In Harris County, whenever a person is arrested, the Intake Division of the District Attorney’s Office has to accept charges before they can be brought to the jail. If they decline charges, the person is released. The police will write an offense report indicating that you were arrested and the DA’s Office declined charges, but the records of your arrest won’t appear in a criminal history search. Someone would actually have to request the police report containing your name directly from the police department to get a record of that. I’ve yet to have anyone in Harris County ask me to expunge a record of arrest only because that sort of thing doesn’t turn up in a background check.
Rural counties are different, though, because they don’t have 24/7 intake divisions. In those counties, it’s possible to be arrested and detained at the jail for some time before the District Attorney’s Office rejects charges. Those arrest records can, and sometimes do appear in background checks, so it’s more important to look into expunging those records. I usually tell clients in that situation to just let me do my own background check on them. If I don’t see a record of the arrest, chances are an employer doing a background check isn’t going to see it either.
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