Having a criminal record can make completing everyday tasks challenging. Leasing an apartment, finding a job, and applying for financial aid for college are just a few things that a criminal record can impact. However, depending on the nature of your crime, you may be able to leave the conviction behind. Working with Houston white-collar crime lawyer will offer you the best chance at getting your conviction vacated.
Ask a White-Collar Crime Lawyer: What Does It Mean to Get a Conviction Vacated?
When a conviction is vacated, the judgment is annulled or set aside. Having a conviction vacated is not the same as being declared “not guilty,” as it does not mean the original judgment was wrong. Instead, it simply resets your record as if the conviction never happened.
Once you have had your record vacated, you can say you were never convicted of the offense legally. For individuals who have encountered issues with employment due to a conviction, this will be a welcome relief, as they will not have to admit to having a criminal record on job applications.
Having a Conviction Vacated in Texas
While the rules that dictate whether you can attempt to vacate your conviction vary from state to state, most require specific grounds to be met before you can pursue this option. For example, the Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure and Texas criminal law do not specifically allow for a generic “Motion to Vacate” to be filed. That means if you wish to file for your conviction to be vacated, you must file it in conjunction with other post-conviction procedures, such as:
When You File a Motion Requesting a New Trial
If your trial results in a guilty verdict, you can request the court to set aside your guilty verdict and order a new trial. This motion must be filed within thirty days of sentencing and brought before the original judge who presided over the trial within ten days of filing. For you to be able to file a motion requesting a new trial, your trial must have met specific criteria that make the original trial invalid.
When Filing a Motion in Arrest of Judgment
This motion questions the soundness of the information, which is the formal criminal charge that initiates court proceedings. A motion in arrest of judgment can also question the validity of the accusation made against the defendant or the verdict concerning the information or charge. These motions are used by defendants when they believe a judgment has not been legally decided and must be made within 30 days of the original sentencing.
When Filing a Motion for Judicial Clemency
You can only file for judicial clemency if you are sentenced to probation following your conviction. Your lawyer will present an application to the trial court that claims you are fully rehabilitated and prepared to live as a law-abiding citizen. The right to grant clemency is entirely up to the judge’s discretion, and you do not have the right to pardon simply for completing probation. In addition, certain crimes are ineligible for clemency.
When Directly Appealing a Conviction
With a direct appeal, you don’t disagree with the verdict as much as you are stating errors or negligence occurred during your case that resulted in you having an unfair trial and unjust sentence. Directly appealing a conviction will require your lawyer to submit a brief detailing all the errors made by the trial judge during your trial.
This brief is presented to an appellate court for review. If the appellate court finds enough issues in your case that they believe you did not have a fair and just trial, they can reverse the original verdict or refer the case back to the trial court.
When Filing a Motion for Habeas Corpus
Filing a motion for a writ of habeas corpus is sometimes used to vacate felony convictions in Texas. A writ of habeas corpus means “to produce or find the body.”
This motion requires the entity holding the person in custody to bring the defendant to court and show a legal, valid reason for their detainment or incarceration. In addition, when filing habeas corpus, there must be a basis to claim that the defendant had their federal constitutional rights violated, which led to the conviction, or that the defendant is innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.
Find Houston White-Collar Crime Lawyers
If you believe your conviction for a crime could potentially be vacated, you’ll want to contact a lawyer with experience handling cases like yours. Since having a conviction vacated is complicated, your chances of success are low without a skilled attorney’s expertise. To learn more about removing convictions for white-collar crime from your record, you’ll want to discuss the details of your case with an experienced lawyer.
Once you’ve decided to pursue having your conviction vacated, reach out to a lawyer immediately. Texas law has strict time limits on filing motions and appeals, and if you miss these deadlines, you’ll miss your opportunity to clear your record. Alternatively, depending on the crime you have committed, you may have to wait a set period before seeking to have your conviction vacated.
When you file a motion to vacate a conviction in Texas, that motion must be made in conjunction with one of the motions or appeals mentioned above. Regardless of the motion you file, there’s no guarantee that you will get your conviction set aside. You’ll need to discuss your case with Houston white-collar crime lawyers to determine whether vacating your conviction could be feasible for your situation.