What Is An Expunction?

scales of justice statue

Do criminal records disappear after a certain period of time? No. If you have been charged with a crime (not a traffic ticket) the arrest record will not go away on its own. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for an expunction or a non-disclosure. These are two different legal mechanisms that may assist you in minimizing or eliminating the impact of a prior arrest or criminal case.

If you were charged with a crime in Texas before your 17th birthday, you may be eligible for a sealing of your juvenile records. It’s important to note that record sealing under the family code is different than an expunction or non-disclosure.

An expunction is a complete elimination of a prior arrest, codified in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 55.01(a). Basically, an expunction order tells the police and other governmental agencies that they have to destroy their records related to an arrest. An expunction is a really powerful and effective tool to erase prior arrests. However, the right to an expunction is extremely limited. To have a case expunged, the case must have resulted in one of the following:

  • a dismissal a finding of not guilty
  • a grand jury no-bill
  • a refusal
  • a class C deferred adjudication
  • a conviction for unlawful carrying of a weapon prior to September 1, 2021
  • a pardon by the governor

What If You Aren’t Eligible for An Expunction?

Even if you do not qualify for an expunction, you can limit the impact a prior arrest has on your future in other ways. The State of Texas also has a procedure for making criminal records private, meaning not accessible to the public. The process is called a petition for non-disclosure.

Non-disclosure is an order prohibiting the government from releasing criminal records information to the general public. Unlike an expunction, the records are not destroyed.

Government entities, like the Department of Public Safety, State Licensing Boards, and police departments will still be able to view your criminal record. However, these agencies cannot release the information to the public. The law also allows a person who has received a non-disclosure to deny the existence of the prior record on job applications.

Who Is Eligible for a Non-Disclosure?

The list of crimes eligible for non-disclosure continues to grow. Generally, a person who has a prior deferred adjudication probation for a class A or class B misdemeanor who has successfully completed the probation will be eligible for a non-disclosure.

Certain felony crimes that resulted in successful completion of deferred adjudication will also be eligible for a non-disclosure. The list has been expanded to include certain misdemeanor convictions. Since the timing and qualifications for a non-disclosure vary depending on the particular crime and circumstances, you should consult a criminal attorney if you are interested in applying for a non-disclosure to see if you are qualified.

If you believe you might be eligible for an expunction or a non-disclosure, you should contact The Law Office of Chris Fredericks online to confirm your eligibility. You will need to provide the date of arrest, the county of arrest, your full name, date of birth, and the charge. From there, our attorney will set up a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your case.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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