If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in the past, you understand how having a criminal record can have life-long consequences. Having a criminal arrest, charge or conviction on your permanent record can impact your ability to get a job, housing, or even student loans.
In certain limited circumstances, Texas law does permit an individual to clear or seal his or her criminal record. This is done either through expunction, sometimes also known as expungement or non-disclosure orders. The conditions under which an individual is eligible for an expunction or non-disclosure order can be complex, but the benefits of having your record expunged or sealed are significant for your future.
If you are interested in exploring either of these options, you should contact a Houston non-disclosure lawyer who has experience in this area.
Expunction, or expungement, means that an arrest, charge or conviction is removed from an individual’s record. While most convictions cannot be expunged, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 55 sets out the limited circumstances under which an individual is eligible for expunction.
Records eligible for expunction include:
- An arrest for a crime that was not charged
- A charge that was ultimately dismissed. This does not include dismissals that occur following deferred adjudication except in the case of a Class C misdemeanor.
- A charge that resulted in a not guilty verdict
- A conviction that was later acquitted
- An arrest, charge, or conviction due to identity theft by another who was actually arrested, charged or conviction of the crime
- A pardon by the Governor of Texas or US President
An individual’s record will not be eligible for expunction if he or she has been arrested and found guilty of a crime, or was arrested for a crime and received probation (also referred to as community supervision), except for Class C misdemeanors. A person is also not eligible for expunction of a felony that was ultimately dismissed if the statute of limitations has not expired for that crime.
For an individual who is tried and acquitted of an offense or convicted and subsequently pardoned for an offense, his or her record is only eligible for expunction if he or she has not been convicted of another crime arising out of the same criminal episode.
To apply for expunction of your record, you must file a Petition for Expunction with the proper court. It is important to understand that there may be a waiting before you can apply for expunction. It is advisable to consult with a criminal attorney in Houston to first determine if you are eligible to have your record expunged because the law in this area can be rather complicated. This petition should be handled by a Houston expungement lawyer who has experience with the expunction process as any filing errors could have serious consequences on your ability to have your record expunged.
Petitions for Non-Disclosure
Even if you are not eligible for expunction, you may be able to petition the court for an order of non-disclosure. The purpose of the non-disclosure order is to limit public access to your record.
An order for non-disclosure is available to individuals who have successfully completed deferred adjudication. However, not all offenses qualify for non-disclosure and you cannot obtain an order for an offense for which you have been convicted.
Similar to the process for expunction, a person must petition the correct court for an order of non-disclosure and there may be a waiting period before you can apply. If the court grants an order for non-disclosure, the order will be sent the Texas Department of Public Safety. From there, DPS will send the order to other public agencies such as law enforcement departments or courts. The order prevents these public agencies from releasing the information subject to the non-disclosure order to private parties.
Contact a Houston Expungement Lawyer
If you would like to get your record sealed or expunged, contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett to learn more about your legal options. Expungement attorney Ned Barnett can determine if you are eligible and assist you with filing a petition for expunction or non-disclosure. He understands the long-term problems that an arrest can have on your life and is committed to helping his clients find solutions to these issues.
Barnett opened his practice in 1994 and has over 20 years of experience representing people arrested and charged with criminal offenses in the greater Houston area. He has the training and skills it takes to obtain the best possible result for his clients. Ned Barnett approaches each case with a high level of care and he is committed to providing personalized communication and service to all of his clients.
Get the fresh start that you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a consultation with a Houston non-disclosure lawyer today.