Evidence of criminal transgressions remain on your permanent record in Texas. This means that, every time you apply for a job or an apartment, it can come back to haunt you. Maybe you paid your fine or served your time — or maybe you never received a conviction at all. Either way, you deserve to live a life outside the shadow of your past.
In Texas, a process known as expunction (or expungement) can help clear your criminal record. If expunction is not possible, you have another option, non-disclosure, which will permanently seal your record from public view. Get an expunction and non-disclosure lawyer in Plano to help you with this complex and important process.
To schedule a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today: 214-696-9253.
How does the expunction process work?
Expunction, as established in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, is the removal of an arrest from your record. The process of petitioning for expunction or non-disclosure is somewhat complex and convoluted.
For example, you must petition different courts for different types of charges. You may need to petition one of the Texas municipal courts, the county court, or the district court.
The petition itself is also challenging, and requires extensive research to complete, and any errors in the procedure can cause problems and potential legal consequences.
Once the court receives the petition, it will schedule a hearing date. On the date of the hearing, you must appear in court, and any Respondents have the option to appear as well.
During the hearing, any Respondents may present arguments as to why the court should not grant expunction of your records. You will be given the opportunity to prove that you have met all the necessary requirements for expunction, which you must prove with supporting legal documents.
What records are eligible for expunction?
In Plano, not every crime is eligible for expunction. Those records that do qualify for expunction include:
- Arrest records that were never charged
- Convictions for which you were pardoned
- Convictions overturned on appeal
- Criminal charges that were dismissed
- Events attributable to identity theft
- Juvenile alcohol offense convictions
- Select misdemeanor juvenile records
What are the requirements for expunction?
Expunction of arrest records is available if you went to trial and received an acquittal or pardon. Expunction is not available if the court convicted you of a crime related to the same episode.
Expunction of arrest records is available if you have not gone to trial if:
- You did not receive a conviction for that offense
- You did not flee while on bail
- The arrest was not for a probation violation
- The court did not order probation or community supervision for that offense
In addition, one of the following conditions must be true:
- The State dismissed the charges
- The State voided the charge because it was false
- The statute of limitations expired
- The prosecutor states the records are no longer necessary
- The prescribed waiting period has passed
How does the non-disclosure process work?
As established in the Texas statutes, a non-disclosure order limits the accessibility of your criminal history by removing the information from the public record. Once the court grants the order, only government agencies will have access to the records, although they will continue to be admissible in court.
What records are eligible for non-disclosure?
If you completed a deferral or probation program, your records are eligible for non-disclosure, subject to its requirements and conditions.
The court cannot grant you a non-disclosure order if your crime involved kidnapping, sex crimes, child injury, abandonment or endangerment, injury to an elderly or disabled person, violation of a protective order, stalking, or domestic/family violence.
What are the requirements for non-disclosure?
To qualify for a non-disclosure order, you must have completed your deferral or probation. As with expunction, you must wait to petition for non-disclosure until the prescribed waiting period has passed and, during that time, you must not have received a conviction for any other offense.
What are the prescribed waiting periods for expunction and non-disclosure?
The waiting period for expunction varies depending on the charges. For a full expungement, you must wait until the statute of limitations has run out for that offense.
If you prefer to request expunction prior to that time, you may do so. However, if the court approves your request, the prosecutor will retain your file until the statute of limitations has run out.
These are the statutory waiting periods for apply for expungement:
Class C Misdemeanor 180 days after arrest
Class B Misdemeanor 1 year after arrest
Class A Misdemeanor 1 year after arrest
Allowable Felonies 3 years after arrest
You can petition for a non-disclosure order for a misdemeanor offense upon completion of a deferral or probation program, as long as your offense was not a sex crime, weapons violation, or a crime of violence.
Once the court grants an expunction or order of non-disclosure, the court advises all relevant agencies and directs them to purge or seal your records. The time it takes to complete this task depends on the agencies.
Why do I need an expunction or non-disclosure lawyer?
If you would like the court to grant your petition for expunction or non-disclosure, consider hiring an attorney.
As you can see, both processes are complex and fraught with potential for failure. In addition, your attorney can prepare the documentation that is necessary to support your petition.
If you commit any errors during the process, or neglect to provide the necessary documents, the court may deny your petition.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can handle the entire expungement or non-disclosure process for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to speak with an expungement and non-disclosure lawyer in Plano: 214-696-9253.