Expunctions and Non-Disclosure Orders in Texas
We all make mistakes. But what happens when you make a mistake that ends up giving you a criminal record in Texas? Do you have options or are you just stuck with that ugly mark on your record? Luckily for you, you may qualify for what is called an expunction or a petition for non-disclosure under Texas law. The truth is that many criminal convictions cannot be removed from your personal record.
Criminal records that are eligible for expunction under Texas law are:
- If you are arrested for a crime and never charged;
- Criminal charges that you received that was later dismissed;
- Certain juvenile offenses;
- Minor alcohol related charges such as DUI;
- Truancy charges;
- Identity theft crimes committed by another person;
- Conviction for a crime that was later acquitted through a jury trial;
- Criminal convictions that were later pardoned.
Remember, just because you may qualify for an expunction under the rules, does not mean that the expunction will automatically be granted. If you have received deferred adjudication in Texas and successfully complete your probation, you will not be eligible for an expunction. Rather, you may qualify for what is called a petition for non-disclosure. Another factor on whether you qualify for an expunction is that you have not been convicted of a felony within five years of your arrest. In addition, if you were charged with other related offenses out of the same criminal episode you may not be eligible for an expunction.
In the instance of a felony expunction in Texas, you may be required to wait out the statute of limitations on that particular felony offense before you may apply for an expunction. The statute of limitations on most felony crimes in Texas is anywhere from three to five years.Petition for Non-Disclosure
While not all offenses qualify for an expunction, some may qualify for a nondisclosure order. While an expunction effectively destroys your criminal record, a nondisclosure order will not destroy your record. Rather, a nondisclosure order will prevent your criminal record from being disseminated by public sources and ultimately only certain government agencies will have access to your record. If you have successfully completed a deferred adjudication probation, you may apply for a nondisclosure order.
There are also certain prohibitions against a nondisclosure order being granted. In some cases, there will be a waiting period for the stature of limitations to run and in some cases such as the new DWI laws in Texas, you may have other hoops to jump through. Typically, you must have an interlock device on your vehicle for at least six months to qualify for an early nondisclosure order. Otherwise, you may be required to wait the full two years from that date of your release from probation before you can apply for your petition for non-disclosure.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Texas and the charge was dismissed, or if you have completed a probation on deferred adjudication you may qualify. Contact our office for a consultation to see if you are eligible for either a nondisclosure order or an expunction.