In my experience, Expunction of a criminal record requires a great deal of care. First of all, the facts must be exact: exact date of arrest, date of offense, and place where the offense was filed. Once those details are determined, then all lesser offenses, if any, must be tracked down and identified.
For instance, I have had a number of cases where a client was arrested on a drug charge and the cops filed a class C misdemeanor Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia along with a State Jail Felony Possession of Controlled Substance. The Class C rested comfortably in the files of the Sheriff’s Department, while the Felony charge travelled across to the District Clerk’s Office and emerged as an Indictment. Unless the misdemeanor was discovered, one charge would be ordered expunged, but the other would stay and would remain as an arrest. So all records must first be searched–local Police, District Clerk, District Attorney, and the County Sheriff. Cops like to charge as many offenses as they can out of one arrest–its like looking for a mouse-there is never just one.
A Hearing cannot be set less than thirty days from the date the Motion for Expunction is filed. And guess what? The DPS doesn’t have to show up at the hearing or even file an answer– but nevertheless, they can still appeal the judgment! So, I try the case as if the DPS is looking over my shoulder. Because they are.
Most hearings are not contested; that is, the District Attorney rarely objects and the Department of Public Safety never shows up anyway. For that reason, these hearings rarely take long and should be granted as soon as a well-prepared lawyer puts on the proof. But remember, the DPS can file a motion for a new trial or appeal until the records are actually destroyed.
It should not matter to the client how far his lawyer has to go to get to the hearing as long as the lawyer knows what to do when he gets there. That is a lot more important than having a lawyer who offices right across the street from the courthouse but doesn’t know how handle an expunction properly; that is, carefully, thoroughly, and in great detail.