Few people want a mistake they made years ago to follow them for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what a criminal record can do.
Because a criminal record can affect a person’s ability to find a job, get good housing, or be an effective parent, many people request to have their criminal record expunged.
Expunction vs. Nondisclosure
Texas allows adults two general ways to clean up their arrest record — expunction and nondisclosure.
Having your record expunged can permanently remove entries from your criminal history. However, it’s very limited and some convictions are not eligible for expunction.
Nondisclosure (also commonly known as having a sealed record) can hide certain offenses/information from public record. However, they’ll still be visible to law enforcement, other criminal justice agencies, and certain government agencies.
In Texas, expunction can only be applied to:
- Class C misdemeanors that resulted in deferred adjudication.
- Offenses that did not result in a conviction (no matter the level).
- Offenses where charges were not filed.
- Offenses where the charges were dismissed or the person accused was acquitted or pardoned.
However, even if charges were never filed, there is a mandatory waiting period a person must wait before filing an application for expunction. The waiting period varies based on the crime:
- Class C misdemeanors: a 180-day waiting period.
- Class A and B misdemeanors: a 1-year waiting period.
- Felonies: a 3-year waiting period.
Texas also has two types of nondisclosure methods, including:
Automatic Nondisclosure for First-Time Misdemeanors
This course of action only applies to cases in which.
- This is a person’s first misdemeanor (regardless of level).
- The incident occurred after September 1, 2015.
- The misdemeanor resulted in deferred adjudication ending in discharge or dismissal.
If you meet each of the above requirements, the judge will order a nondisclosure, meaning you don’t have to apply for or request one. There’s also no waiting period.
Nondisclosure with Petition
This is a court order that prohibits the courts and other law enforcement agencies from disclosing certain criminal records. A petition is required for all eligible offenses and for misdemeanors that don’t qualify for an automatic order.
If you’ve ever been convicted or received deferred adjudication for any of the following, you can not have your record expunged or sealed:
- Offenses that required you to register as a sex offender.
- Murder and capital murder.
- Aggravated kidnapping.
- Injury to a child, elderly or disabled person.
- Abandoning or endangering a child.
- Certain family violence offenses, sexual assault or abuse offenses, or stalking offenses.
Are you looking to have your record expunged or sealed? Marsala Law Group will take the time to get to know you and learn about your circumstances. Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (940) 386-6848 or contacting us online.