Everyone makes mistakes. While some are simple memories to laugh at, others can be immortalized in your criminal record. Fortunately, the State of Texas realizes that sometimes people need a second chance. Enter “Expungement” and “Non-Disclosure”. This blog will discuss general information regarding the basis for these types of criminal record modifications as well as a general overview of the process one must follow to request them.
An expunction is the removal of information regarding an arrest, charge, or conviction from the permanent criminal record under certain circumstances. In essence, it means you will no longer have that charge on your record. After this is performed, you can deny that the incident even occurred. Records eligible for an expunction include arrests for crimes which were never charged, a criminal charge that was dismissed, some misdemeanor juvenile offenses, among others.
There are, however, regulations and guidelines one must follow in order to successfully complete the expungement process. For more details, please consult Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. For example, if a person received probation or deferred adjudication for the crime they are trying to expunge, or if the person committed a felony within five years of the arrest, then the expungement will not be granted.
In order to apply and obtain an expunction it is recommended to consult an attorney, like a criminal defense lawyer Arlington TX trusts. The process begins by filing a “Petition for Expunction” with the district court. This petition will include language relating to the individual and specific crime, and it will ask the court to grant an “Order for Expunction”. After the petition has been accepted and verified, the court will schedule a hearing and send notice to all applicable parties involved, including the Petitioner. Once notice of hearing has been properly distributed, the court will conduct a hearing to allow all the parties involved to present their opinions on the matter, whether they accept or oppose the expungement. If, however, all the requirements followed by law are met, the court will likely grant the order.
After the order is granted, the Petitioner will need to have it signed by the judge and distribute it to any agency which holds control over the records. The agency will destroy the records or return them to the appropriate court, depending on what the order states. This completes the process.
Non-Disclosures are the next option for when an expunction is not available. An Order for Nondisclosure does not completely destroy the records for the offense, but will limit who can access this information. Most people who apply for Non-Disclosure simply want the records hidden from private entities, such as apartment complexes or employers. It is important to know, however, that under certain circumstances, government agencies and other entities will gain access to these records. Some guidelines that apply to a Non-Disclosure Order include waiting a set amount of time before one can apply, as well as not having any convictions for any other offenses.
The process to obtain a Non-Disclosure Order is quite similar to that of the Expunction. It begins by filing a petition with the court, conducting a hearing after proper notice has been served, and the court will then determine whether to grant the order or not.
If you find that your criminal record continues to place restrictions on your life, consult an attorney and ask how an expungement or non-disclosure can benefit you.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into criminal defense.