We all make mistakes. Do something we later regret. Most of the time, an apology or some other act of contrition can make things right again. In other situations, such as when the transgression involves criminal wrongdoing, it is more difficult to put the event behind you and move on, due to its lasting presence in your permanent record. However, expunction and Nondisclosure Orders may present an opportunity for you to put your past behind you…for good.
What is expunction?
Expunction is the process of removing information from a permanent record, such as an arrest, charge, or conviction. Once an individual’s record is expunged, all information is permanently removed from their criminal record, as if the event never happened. In Texas, expunction is allowed in certain situations.
Records eligible for expunction in Texas
Texas law permits expunction of records that are considered eligible. Those records include the following:
- Arrests for a crimes that were not charged
- Criminal charges that were then dismissed
- Qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offenses
- Certain alcohol convictions for minors
- Convictions pertaining to failure to attend school
- Cases of identity theft when another individual was arrested, charged or convicted
- Convictions that later result in acquittal
- Convictions that are subsequently pardoned by the Texas Governor or U.S. President
It is important to note that the above indicates those records that are eligible for expunction. Not everyone who has an eligible record will qualify to receive an expunction.
Circumstances when the court will not grant expunction
Adults whose adjudication or probation has been deferred may not receive expunction. If you are found guilty of a felony within five years of the arrest you are trying to have expunged, the Court will not grant expunction. If the offense you wish to expunge is part of a “criminal episode”, and you are facing charges for — or have been convicted of — another crime that occurred during the episode, you cannot have your record expunged. If you have a felony charge that has been dismissed, you must wait until the statute of limitations has passed before seeking expunction. In most cases, juvenile expenses can be expunged, providing the individual meets the criteria. An individual may not apply for expunction for a juvenile record until after they are a certain age. Those with multiple convictions may not receive expunction.
In cases where expunction cannot be granted, an individual can seek a Nondisclosure Order, whereby the record is removed from the public record and may not be accessed or released by certain private parties. Government agencies will always have access to these records and, in certain court proceedings, they will be admissible. You must wait until after the statutory waiting period has passed to apply for a Nondisclosure Order, and you may not have committed any offense or been convicted during that period to be considered.
Don’t let your past ruin your future – call our skilled Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers today
If events of your past are like a dark cloud hanging over your future, don’t despair. Give us a call. The Fort Worth & Southlake criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker understand the importance of having a clean slate, and we work aggressively on your behalf to give you a new start on life. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case at 817-332-7703 or online.