Interviewer: Can you expunge or reduce a felony?
Gary Churak: Yeah, any case is subject to getting an expunction. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the conditions apply, you can get an expunction. You can be found not guilty of a murder and you can get an expunction of that case because you were found not guilty. With the aspects of a dismissal, it’s a little different because you have a limitations issue and you have to establish no probable cause and there are some technicalities to get an expunction of a felony that’s inside limitations and some cases have no limitations, so that’s sometimes an issue. But, yeah, expunctions apply both to felonies and misdemeanors.
What is the Timeline for the Expunction Process
Interviewer: How long does it take?
Gary Churak: It really depends on what county you’re dealing with. As a rule of thumb, I usually say it takes 90 to 120 days to get the paperwork all through the court system, get your order of expunction signed by the judge, and get it processed out through the courts and to the clerk’s office. Then add another six months to a year, sometimes, for the case to fall off the reporting agency’s data list. Here’s the way criminal background checks work: basically, what happens is the courts and law enforcement (like DPS, San Antonio Police Department, San Antonio District Clerk) throughout the state is they have all this information about your criminal cases and what happens is these criminal reporting agencies purchase this data information from them.
Whether they purchase on a monthly basis, quarterly basis, semi-annually basis, it just depends on what the contract is to update and purchase the information. The more reputable criminal background check people purchase on a regular basis – monthly or weekly or whatever. The less reputable, cheaper ones probably don’t do it that often. What happens is they purchase the information, so that’s what they use to do their criminal background checks. They have to basically update their system after the expunction to find out the expunction has been granted, where the information is not there anymore. It takes sometimes up to a year for the case to actually fall off the criminal background reporting agencies’ radar.