Expunction And Nondisclosure/Sealing Records
Laws on cleaning up criminal records differ by state. Having a criminal record deleted completely or sealed is critical since such records have an impact on job searches, credit scores, professional licenses, etc.
In Texas, an expunction removes criminal record entries permanently from a person’s criminal history. However, expunction is limited.
Nondisclosure (sealing records) is simply “hiding” such records from public disclosure. However, the records will be visible to licensing agencies, some government entities, and criminal justice agencies.
Eligibility for expunction and sealing of misdemeanor records in Texas
A person’s ability to completely remove criminal records or seal them is dictated by the offense in question as well as the type of probation. In Texas, offenses resulting in conviction or community service aren’t eligible for expunction or sealing of records/nondisclosure.
Expunction of records in Texas
In Texas, few criminal records can be completely removed from a person’s criminal record (mostly arrest records). You can have your criminal record/s removed if the arrest didn’t result in a criminal charge. The same applies to arrest records for specific acquittals, certain juvenile misdemeanors, arrest records that don’t result in criminal charges, dismissed criminal charges whose statute of limitations expired, and Class C misdemeanors (after a deferred adjudication). Convictions that are overturned or result in pardons can also be completely removed from a person’s criminal record.
Important: Expunction is applicable if there are no pending criminal charges.
Sealing records/nondisclosure in Texas
As mentioned above, sealed criminal records are only removed from public records. However, they can be accessed by parties mentioned above i.e., government agencies and licensing agencies such as the Board of Education Certification, Board of Nursing, and Texas Education Agency. It’s also worth noting that sealed records can be used in court.
There are two main ways of sealing records in Texas i.e., Automatic nondisclosure (applicable to first-time misdemeanors) and sealing records using a petition (nondisclosure with petition). First-time misdemeanors (besides traffic fines, occurring after 1st September 2015 and resulting in deferred adjudication ending in dismissal or discharge) can be automatically sealed in Texas. Provided all legal requirements are met, nondisclosure can be done automatically without filling anything or waiting.
As the name suggests, nondisclosure with petition requires a petition. This type of disclosure is applicable to misdemeanors that don’t attract an automatic nondisclosure order.
Filing for expunction in Texas
To get a criminal record permanently removed in Texas, you must file an application for expunction. The process should be done in the county where you were arrested. Applications should be accompanied by a fingerprint card (Texas DPS). The DPS will be notified by the clerk to set a hearing 30 days or more from the filing date.
Expunction removes criminal entries from your record. You aren’t required to acknowledge expunged records in job applications or anywhere else.
You need assistance from an expunction lawyer in Texas if you require more information on the process. There is more to expunction and sealing of misdemeanor records in Texas than what is covered above. Attorneys are the best-placed professionals to advise you on all matters regarding expunction and nondisclosure.
Should you speak to an expungement Lawyer In Fort Worth for further assistance.