Expunctions & Nondisclosures in Texas
Clearing or Sealing a Criminal Record
Being arrested or charged with a criminal offense will likely have life-long effects. The consequences may result in issues involving employment, educational opportunities, housing assistance, or other valuable prospects. However, areas of law may be a useful tool in clearing your criminal record, or at the least, not allow the general public to view certain criminal history from your past. Texas law allows an individual to clear their record in certain circumstances when a court grants an expunction. In other situations, the State will seal the record of a criminal offense after there is a signed order of nondisclosure.
Expunctions - Clearing the Records
An expunction will result in the State permanently removing any information of an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction in certain circumstances. The original purpose behind an expunction was to allow a person to clear the record of a criminal charge after being wrongfully arrested for or convicted of that criminal offense. Eligibility for an expunction has since expanded. A person may also be allowed to expunge their record after completing certain types of community supervision programs, such as Veterans Treatment Court or other pre-trial diversions not resulting in a final conviction. Certain Class C misdemeanor arrests or convictions during a time when a person was a minor may also be eligible for expunction. Additional requirements must be met for a person to be eligible for an expunction. There are specific waiting periods after the disposition of the case and individuals must refrain from being arrested or convicted of certain offenses leading up to an expunction request. Generally, common situations leading to eligibility may include:
- A criminal charge that resulted in a dismissal or no-bill;
- The case went to trial and a verdict of "not guilty" was returned;
- A criminal conviction was overturned by a higher court and resulted in an aquittal;
- Arrest, charge, or conviction on a person's record because of identity theft;
- Class C offenses resulting in a deferred adjudication disposition;
- Certain misdemeanor offenses committed as a juvenile;
- Tobacco Use by a Minor;
- Minor in Consumption of Alcohol conviction - MIC; or
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol conviction - MIP
Nondisclosures - Sealing the Records
If a person is not eligible for an expunction, they may have to the opportunity to have the records of a criminal offense sealed. This is commonly known as nondisclosures. An order granting a nondisclosure will seal a person's record for a criminal offense that led to a conviction or deferred adjudication. Deferred adjudication community supervision is a form of probation in which a person likely enters a plea and is placed on probation. If there probation is successfully completed, the case is set-aside or dismissed. There is no final conviction. Nondisclosures will not clear the records, but it will no longer appear in ordinary background checks. As a result, its less likely that employers or the general public will see the record. Law enforcement and certain agencies of the State will still have access. Most view nondisclosures as a second chance for first-time or low-level offenders. While there are a lot of criminal offenses eligible for nondisclosures given certain circumstances, some offenses are not eligible.
Contact the Law Office Today
Expunctions or nondisclosures may be an essential step in getting your life back after a criminal case. The inability to find employment is a common concern when someone has a criminal record. Expunctions or nondisclosures could potentially help. Attorney Anthony Smith can assist in having your criminal record cleared so you can take advantage of those everyday opportunities without the past holding you down. If you are interested in having your criminal record expunged or sealed, feel free to reach out today for a free consultation. Contact the law office by completing the form on this page or calling 713-242-8917.