Have you ever been arrested, charged with a crime or granted deferred adjudication? If so, you have a criminal record.
Depending on your situation and particular charge, you may be able to have your record cleared with an expunction.
If you have ever been arrested, charged with a crime or received deferred adjudication for a crime, you have a criminal record that is viewable to everyone in the general public. As you may know, a criminal record can cause some major hold-ups in life; it may prevent you from getting a job, receiving higher education, adopting a child or even securing a loan or mortgage. Depending on the criminal charge, however, you may be able to clear your record with an expunction.
At Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP, we are well versed in the legal process of record clearing via expunction and would be happy to meet with you to determine if you are eligible. If expunging your record simply isn’t possible, you may be able to seal your record from public view via a Petition for Non-Disclosure.
What Is Expunction?
Expunction refers to a legal process people go through to erase, or expunge, a particular event from their criminal record. For a person to receive an expunction in Texas, he or she must be eligible. The state of Texas will allow Expunction for the following situations only:
- You were arrested but never charged with an offense;
- You were arrested and charged with an offense, but the case was dismissed by the County or District Attorney;
- You were arrested, charged, tried and found “Not Guilty”;
- You were arrested, charged, tried and found “Guilty,” appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeals or the Court of Criminal Appeals, and that Court found the evidence was insufficient to support your conviction and “Reversed and Rendered” a verdict of “Not Guilty”;
- Someone stole your identity and used your identity to obtain a conviction for a crime you did not commit; or
- You were convicted of a crime, but you were pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the U.S.
If you fall into one of the above categories, you may file a “Petition for Expunction” in a District Court in the county where you were arrested or charged, and ask the Court to sign an “Order of Expunction,” which Orders all of the respondents to your petition (and all private entities who purchase criminal background information from the DPS in Austin) to delete or destroy all digital or hard copy records of your arrest and charge. In addition, the Order will permit you to “deny” that you have ever been arrested or charged with that offense.
The statute provides for a waiting period, which must expire before you may file your petition, in most instances.
Expunction for Juveniles
Juvenile offenders can also be eligible for an expunction in some instances. These include misdemeanors that are punishable by fine (before the individual reaches 17 years of age), alcohol-related offenses and truancy offenses. Even so, juveniles may be deemed ineligible for expunction if they are convicted multiple times or for reasons of insufficient age.
There is also a provision in the Texas Family Code for sealing of records for juveniles found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision.
What Happens If You’re Not Eligible for an Expunction?
If you are not eligible to expunge your criminal record, you may still be able to seek an Order of Non-Disclosure. An Order of Non-Disclosure is a means of sealing your criminal record from public view. While sealing your record via Non-Disclosure cannot erase an offense from your record like an expunction, it keeps your record hidden from the eyes of the general public; only certain government agencies may be able to view it. To be eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure in Texas, you must have successfully carried out the court’s terms for deferred adjudication. Further, the type of criminal charge will determine when you can have your record sealed.
- Misdemeanors – You can file your Petition to seal your record after completing deferred adjudication and the required waiting period.
- Felonies – You must wait five years after completing deferred adjudication probation to seal your record when it comes to felony charges. However, there are some charges an order of nondisclosure cannot seal, and some of those include sex crimes, family violence, murder, stalking and others. If you were charged with a felony and would like to know if you are eligible for an order of nondisclosure, contact our law firm today.
The Order of Non-Disclosure also allows one granted such relief to “deny” he or she was ever arrested or charged with the original crime, unless that person is charged with another crime and is testifying in Court in the subsequent case. In that situation, he or she cannot deny such arrest or charge.
Reach Out to Our Firm for Expunction Services
If you are interested in clearing your criminal record by way of expunction or an Order of Non-Disclosure, our criminal defense attorneys would be more than happy to schedule a consultation with you to discuss your options. Give us a call at (940) 387-3518, or contact us here.