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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 940-230-2386 or contact us online.
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