CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNCTION & NON-DISCLOSURE
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Attorney Richard Carrizales has years experience defending the rights of clients and providing excellent service and competent legal guidance and advice to our clients. Attorney Richard Carrizales is well known in State and Federal Courts as a respected and serious Trial Attorney.
UNDERSTANDING CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNCTION &
NON-DISCLOSURE OF CRIMINAL RECORDS
Many people mistakenly believe that arrest records on their criminal history are automatically removed or sealed when a case is dismissed. The truth is that an arrest will remain a matter of public record and show up in pre-employment background checks and online database searches until you get an order granting expunction or non-disclosure of your criminal history.
If you have been arrested, you could be eligible for an expunction, which deletes and destroys all records of the arrest. You may also be eligible for non-disclosure, which seals the records from the general public.
How do I find out if a case is on my criminal history?
You can get a copy of your official criminal history from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). If your DPS criminal history is clean they will provide a certified letter stating that you have "No record on file".
What types of cases are eligible for expunction?
In Texas, if an arrest did not lead to a conviction, it may be eligible for expunction, which involves obtaining a court order to have the arrest records destroy and allows you to legally deny the arrest ever occurred, even on an employment application. You may be entitled to an expunction if your case was dismissed, if it was no-billed by a grand jury, if you were acquitted at trial (i.e., found "not guilty"), if someone else was arrested using your name without your permission, or if you were convicted but later pardoned.
Is non-disclosure the same as expunction?
Like expunction, non-disclosure allows you to legally deny that an arrest occurred, even on employment applications. Unlike expunction, when an order of non-disclosure is granted, the records are still available to law enforcement; to certain state agencies that are responsible for licensing and certification, care-giving functions, and regulating certain professions; and to certain private entities that are responsible for the safety of children and the elderly or that hire employees for security-sensitive positions.
Who decides if I am eligible for expunction or non-disclosure?
In most cases, if you qualify for an expunction, then you have a legal right to have the records of your arrest and prosecution deleted and destroyed. Non-disclosure is different in that qualifying for non-disclosure means that a judge will have the authority to order the records sealed from the general public if he or she believes that sealing them would be in the best interest of justice. In other words, judges are not required to grant non-disclosure to everyone that qualifies.
Can other cases impact my eligibility for expunction or non-disclosure?
If you were arrested and ultimately convicted of any offense arising out of the arrest, then the arrest may not be expunged. You can also lose the right to expunction by jumping bail or violating the terms of probation.
You can become disqualified for non-disclosure if you are convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense more serious than a traffic ticket while you are on deferred adjudication probation or during any required post-discharge waiting period. Also, anyone previously convicted of certain offenses are permanently disqualified from non-disclosure, even if they successfully complete deferred adjudication probation. Some such offenses are aggravated kidnapping, murder, endangering a child, offenses that require sex offender registration, offenses involving family violence, and stalking. If you think you may be eligible for expunction or nondisclosure of a particular charge and your criminal history contains anything else more serious than a traffic ticket, then you may need to hire an attorney to review your case and the applicable rules to determine eligibility.