Clearing Criminal Records: Nondisclosure and Expunction
People often get arrested because of thoughtless mistakes or quick lapses in judgment triggered by anger, alcohol, peer influence, or being young. Sadly, a single mistake can impact your life for a long time. In Texas, being arrested can stop you from getting into college, finding a job, renting a car, or buying a house. It’s like a never-ending consequence of that mistake.
There’s a common misconception that when a case is dismissed, it disappears entirely from your record. However, even if the case is dismissed, the arrest record remains. To put it simply, the arrest will appear if someone looks at your criminal background.
Yet, there remains an opportunity for a favorable result. In the state of Texas, you have the option to eliminate or conceal your criminal records through two approaches: expunction and nondisclosure.
Difference Between Nondisclosure and Expunction
You could think that keeping your criminal record sealed and erased is the same thing. Nonetheless, this is far from reality, even though both require a court order, they’re quite distinct from each other.
Nondisclosure, which means keeping your criminal record private, stops most government and private groups from seeing your charges. Yet, certain licensing groups like the Texas Medical Board or the Texas Education Agency might still be able to see them.
Expunction, sometimes called expungement, goes way beyond just hiding records; it makes them vanish entirely. This means all information about your arrest, charge, and so on gets wiped out, and nobody can see it, not even police officers, prosecutors, or the courts.
An expunction erases a criminal record; a nondisclosure seals it from the public. If you qualify, opting for an expunction is the most favorable decision.
Eligibility for Nondisclosure and Expunction
To hide your criminal record, petitioning for an order of nondisclosure in Texas is necessary, but it is not accessible to everyone. Texas rules say you can hide your record if you:
- Were given a chance called “deferred adjudication”.
- Completed this opportunity without any issues.
- Waited for the right period before asking for a nondisclosure order.
- No additional crimes were committed after completing the opportunity and before requesting to conceal your record.
Expungement is rare in legal cases, but if you qualify, it’s worth trying. If your petition for expunction gets approved, your criminal history is wiped away. Nobody, neither the public nor private groups, can see your criminal charges. According to Texas law, you can get an expunction if:
- A trial court or the Court of Criminal Appeals said you’re not guilty.
- You were pardoned for the crime.
- You were never found guilty and weren’t told to do community supervision.
- The documents were not presented to you and you endured a lengthy wait.
- The charging papers were wrong; the charges got dropped because of a legal mistake or trickery, and the court said so.
- You finished a program to fix things before a trial, not including one for veterans.
- The time limit for the crime passed, or you got deferred adjudication for a minor crime.
In Texas, you have to wait sometime before asking for nondisclosure. These waiting times are:
- 5 years for serious crimes;
- 2 years for things like unlawful restraint, sexual offenses, and more;
- No wait for smaller crimes or misdemeanors.
If you were charged with a crime but it was never presented to you, you might have a chance to erase your record. In Texas, you need to wait a certain amount of time after the charge before you can ask to expunge it. These waiting periods for expungement in Texas are:
- For class C misdemeanor is 180 days
- 12 months for class A and B misdemeanors.
- A three-year sentence for a grave or felony offense.
Contacting An Experienced Attorney
If you’ve recently been arrested or need guidance on expungement or nondisclosure choices, reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. The process is quite intricate, and figuring out if you’re eligible for an expunction or nondisclosure can be challenging. The Texas Criminal Defense Group is capable of managing your case comprehensively, from inception to conclusion, and will robustly represent you in court.