A common question we receive is “How can I get my criminal record cleared?”. Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple one. It is important if you are seeking to clear your record that you contact an experienced attorney to evaluate your case and help you navigate this tedious process.
In Texas, there are two options for having one’s criminal record cleared: expunctions or non-disclosures. An expunction is when all records relating to a certain criminal charge are completely destroyed. A nondisclosure, on the other hand, is an order from the court that prohibits one’s criminal record from being disclosed. This is commonly known as having a criminal record “sealed”.
An expunction means that all records relating to a particular charge are destroyed. No secret record is kept, and all background companies must remove the information from their records. Once a person’s record is expunged, all information is removed from the criminal record and that person can deny the incident ever occurred.
However, not every criminal record is eligible for expunction. Generally, in order to be eligible, the charge must have been:
Pardoned by the governor of Texas or the President of the United States
For a crime that was ultimately acquitted
For a certain misdemeanor juvenile offense
Or an arrest for a crime that was never charged
This list is not exhaustive, however. To find out if your criminal record is eligible for an expunction, contact us so that we can evaluate your specific situation.
What if you are not eligible for an Expunction?
Even if you’re not eligible for an expunction, you may be eligible for a nondisclosure.
An order for nondisclosure means that courts and other public entities are not allowed to share your arrest information or court record.
This means that private individuals cannot access the criminal record and criminal background companies must remove the information from their records.
While there are exceptions to this rule, an order for nondisclosure can allow you to be free from having to disclose criminal history information on job applications.
To be eligible for an order for nondisclosure, you must have been placed on deferred adjudication for the offense, completed all terms of the deferred adjudication, and the offense must be one that is eligible for a nondisclosure.
It is extremely important that you contact an attorney if you’re seeking either an expunction or an order of nondisclosure.
The procedure is very specific and if it is not done properly, the court can refuse to accept the petition or deny the order.
We have experience handling expunctions and nondisclosures, and we can help you finally get your record cleared so that you don’t have to be held back by a mistake in your past.