Texas Expunction & Non-Disclosure Attorney
Petitions/Orders for Non-Disclosure and Expunctions
Having an arrest or indictment on your criminal record can be disastrous to your personal and professional life. Did you know that after you have accepted deferred adjudication probations for your misdemeanor and/or felony arrest and have completed the probation in agreement with a dismissal, this offense still remains on your record for life? Did you know that even though your case got dismissed, it still shows up as a dismissal (with the charge) for the rest of your life? This is one the biggest generally accepted misconceptions regarding a dismissal.
Your arrest, court and probation terms remain on your record, and are available to the public unless you are granted a petition for non-disclosure by the courts or an expunction. These measures will have your offense legally removed from your record by the courts. You may be entitled to have your Texas criminal record cleaned if you meet certain qualifications.
What is a Petition/Order for Non-Disclosure and Expunction?
In plain English, an order for non-disclosure is removing harmful information from the public eye. An expunction is erasing the information as if the incident never happened.
An order for non-disclosure is an order that prevents law enforcement agencies from making your records available to the public. It also allows you to legally deny the occurrence of the arrest and prosecution. Your present and future employers, lenders, educational institutions, leasing agents, landlords, adoption agencies, neighbors and everyone else may have access and view your record, potentially to negative consequences. The intent behind the order for non-disclosure is to protect you from criminal background check prejudice.
However, sealing the record from the public is not the same as expunging a record. Sealing only prevents release to the public, which means that this information will still be available to law enforcement and other state agencies, and may still be used against you should there be any subsequent criminal proceedings. In order to have your record cleared completely, you must qualify for an expunction. In Texas, an expunction is the complete deletion of an entire criminal file. This is to help you if you have been wrongfully arrested and/or if you have been acquitted/found not guilty of your offense. Once expunged, you can legally deny ever being arrested for that incident.
Am I eligible to seal my record through a petition for non-disclosure?
An order of non-disclosure is available if you have received deferred adjudication probation and successfully completed the probation. This is only for defendants that have successfully completed the deferred adjudication probation agreement. You must not have been convicted or placed on deferred for any other offense; final convictions are not eligible. The only convictions eligible for expunction are certain offenses pertaining to alcohol. Other actions that will prohibit you from becoming eligible are:
- Being found guilty of a lesser included offense
- Placement on regular probation
- Paying a fine
- A time served jail sentence
Other crimes which are not eligible for an order of non-disclosure are:
- Capital murder
- Sex offenses
- Injury to a child or elderly person
- Violation of a protective order
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Any offense involving family violence
For some misdemeanors, there is a two-year waiting period from the date you completed your probation. For other misdemeanors, there is no waiting period.
Regarding felonies, there is a five-year waiting period from the date that you completed the probation.
Am I eligible to expunge my record?
For starters, not every type of probation is eligible for an expunction. Although deferred adjudication probation may be subject to non-disclosure, it can never be completely erased. Remember, though, the pre-trial diversion program (most commonly used in DWI, theft and drug offenses) is not considered probation, and may be eligible for expunction. Other eligibility requirements for the expunction of your criminal record are if:
- You were found “not guilty” at trial
- Criminal charges against you were dismissed
- You were convicted, but your conviction was later overturned on appeal
- Your case was dismissed or “no-billed” by the Grand Jury
- You were arrested for an offense, but the case was never filed
- You are a victim of identity theft, and the arrested person falsely gave your information
For misdemeanors, expunctions are allowed if your offense was dismissed with no court-ordered probation, you were acquitted by the trial court or pardoned and released without court-ordered probation, and you also have no prior felony convictions in the five years preceding your date of arrest.
Regarding felonies, you must have had the charge dismissed with no probation and have not had a felony conviction within 5 years of your offense subject to expunction. Certain felonies have exceptions, exclusions and stipulations regarding eligibility that we would be happy to discuss in greater detail with you.
An order for non-disclosure will prohibit public information brokers that sell your records for background checks from releasing that information once they have been notified of the existence of an order of non-disclosure. There are many websites that offer these services, and each one must be served individually to ensure compliance.
Mark Thiessen, Criminal Trial Attorney at Law, is dedicated in achieving the very best for every client. If you think you may or may not be eligible for a nondisclosure or expunction, please contact the Thiessen Law Firm for a free consultation so that we may help you look forward to the future, knowing that your past is behind you.
NOTE: This information is not legal advice. It is provided for educational use only. If you need legal advice regarding expunction or nondisclosures in Texas, contact the lawyer who can help. Call Mark Thiessen at 713-864-9000, or request a free case evaluation.