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Expunction vs. Non-Disclosure in Texas

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Were you accused of a crime but never convicted? You know that you were never found guilty in court, but not everyone else sees it that way. The crime you were accused of still shows up when you attempt to apply for a job, get a professional license, or get a credit check.

If you’re experiencing this type of legal limbo, then you’re likely wondering – what can you do to seal your record for good? Is there any way to clean up your criminal record and prevent the crime from appearing on background checks and more?

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to seal your Texas criminal record through expunction or non-disclosure.

What are these two options, and who is eligible for them? Learn everything you need to know about expunction vs. non-disclosure in Texas below.

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The Expunction Process

So, what exactly does expunction mean? Expunction is what one would typically think of when they consider what it means to seal a criminal record. The expunction process clears the crime from your record forever.

That means your alleged crime will no longer be public knowledge. It won’t appear in background checks, it won’t impact your credit score, and law enforcement agencies won’t see it when they pull up your record.

Are you interested in the expunction process? If so, then the first step you’ll need to take is to determine if you’re eligible.

Who’s Eligible for Expunction in Texas?

Not everyone is eligible for expunction. Here are the types of records that are eligible for expunction according to the State Bar of Texas:

  • Arrests that did not result in a criminal charge
  • A charge that was later dismissed in court
  • Prior convictions on your juvenile record (like alcohol offenses and some misdemeanors)
  • Convictions for failing to attend school as a minor
  • Arrests or convictions on your record that are a result of identity theft
  • Prior convictions that were formally acquitted in court
  • Prior convictions that were officially pardoned by either the U.S. President or the Governor of Texas

If you are eligible for expunction, then it’s important to get started on the process as soon as possible. Here’s how:

  • Obtain a Petition for Expunction from your courthouse
  • Fill out all the paperwork
  • Consult with an attorney to ensure the information is accurate
  • Notarize the documents before submitting them
  • Submit your petition with the court
  • The court will schedule a hearing and notify you of the date
  • Attend your hearing

If your request is granted, then the judge will sign your order. Then, copies of this order will be sent to any agencies that have records pertaining to the crime in question. Those agencies, including law enforcement offices, are ordered to erase, destroy or delete the records.

If anyone attempts to look up information about your charge in the future, then no records will appear.

Do you have more questions about how the process works? It’s advised that you reach out to an attorney who can help you throughout the entire process.

The Non-Disclosure Process

Clearly, the expunction process is very exclusive. Often, a situation occurs that falls outside of the scope of expunction eligibility. When that happens, you may still have another option – filing for a non-disclosure order.

A non-disclosure order is similar to expunction, but the records pertaining to your alleged crime will not be destroyed. Instead, access to your records will be limited. Your record will be sealed to the general public, but it will still exist.

That means the record can still be accessed by certain parties like the government and courtrooms.

You must meet a specific set of requirements to be eligible for a non-disclosure order:

  • You must have received a discharge and dismissal of deferred adjudication
  • You must have already completed deferred adjudication

In addition to meeting these conditions, you’ll have a lengthy waiting period before you’ll be able to apply for non-disclosure. The duration of this waiting period is dependent on what you were originally charged with, the nature of the crime and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. This waiting period could be as long as ten years for serious charges.

There are some types of crimes that are eligible for non-disclosure, but petitions for them rarely get approved due to the nature of the crime. These crimes include murder, aggravated kidnapping, family violence or any type of sexual offense that requires registration.

Questions about expunction or non-disclosure? Attorney Brett Podolsky can help »

How to Petition for Non-Disclosure in Texas

Do you meet the criteria for applying for non-disclosure in Texas? If so, then the first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that you’ve outlasted the necessary waiting period. If you’re unsure if it has been enough time, then don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney who can help.

Otherwise, the process of petitioning the court for non-disclosure is similar to applying for expunction. First, you need to get the paperwork for an Order of Nondisclosure from the court. Just like with expunction, you need to fill out all paperwork as accurately as possible.

Then, file it with the court that handled your original crime. Once you’ve done so, a hearing will be scheduled. During the hearing, your order for non-disclosure will be approved or denied.

Expunction vs. Non-Disclosure

Remember when we were children and we were all told that we had a permanent record that would follow us around everywhere? When you’ve been charged with a crime, this notion takes on a whole new meaning.

Suddenly, the crime you allegedly committed begins eroding away at your opportunities and possibilities in life. That’s why so many individuals with records are looking to seal them. In Texas, you have two options – expunction or non-disclosure. If you have any questions about how to get started, then reach out to our expert attorneys today.

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