Expungement is a civil lawsuit in which a person’s criminal record can be effectively “erased” by the court. Following a successful Expungement petition, all records of the petitioners arrest and any subsequent prosecution are destroyed. The petitioner can then legally answer “No” if they are ever asked if they have been arrested or charged with a crime.
The legal definition of expungement means that the court destroys the records of both the arrest and any court proceedings so that neither is viewable by anyone. Under Texas law, a person is allowed to expunge an arrest if it did not end in a conviction or some type of community supervision.
A person can also expunge class C misdemeanors if it resulted in a successful completion of a deferred adjudication. It is then against Texas law to use expunged records by any entity “for any purpose.” The person with the expunged records can deny the arrest and the existence of the expunged records and even the expunction order unless being questioned under oath in court. This denial can be carried to include when applying for government and law enforcement jobs. With an increasing use of public records by more than 80 percent of employers conducting background checks, expungement is definitely a great investment.
Pretrial diversions are becoming more common as prosecutors look for new ways to resolve cases. This begs the question; “Can someone completing a pretrial diversion get an expunction?”
In the past, a person receiving a pretrial diversion could eventually obtain an expunction as a dismissal, but they would have to wait out the statute of limitations before becoming eligible. In 2009, however, the legislature amended the statute to allow a person an immediate expunction upon completing “a pretrial intervention program authorized under §76.011, Government Code.” If your pretrial diversion program qualifies under §76.011—which is the statute authorizing probation departments to supervise pretrial diversion participants and assess fees upon them—the defendant can obtain an expunction as soon as they complete the program.
It is typical in Texas for an expungement to take about 4 to 5 months. The courts are said to operate on a “first come, first serve” basis, so the quicker a person begins this process, the quicker the record is expunged and the person’s name is cleared. A person involved in a criminal court proceeding must be truthful about his or her arrest for which the records have been expunged. Yet, in that instance, only the point that the records in question have been expunged can be disclosed. The person has no obligation to go into any details of the arrest or count proceedings.
Can I Have My Record Expunged?
If you have been arrested for a crime, but were not subsequently charged, you should seek expunction. If you were charged, but the charges against you were dismissed due to lack of probable cause, insufficient evidence or unavailable witnesses, you should seek expunction. If you completed a deferred prosecution or pre-trial diversion, you should seek expunction. If you were found not guilty by a judge or jury, you should seek expunction. If you were placed on a deferred adjudication for a Class C misdemeanor, you should seek expunction. If you plead guilty to a Class C alcohol crime, you should seek expunction.
The benefits of filing an Expungement far outweigh the costs associated with having a criminal record. Having your arrest record expunged closes the door on an unfortunate incident in your past and allows you to move forward and look forward to a promising future. You don’t have to let one misfortune ruin the rest of your life and cause you to miss out on promising career opportunities.
If you believe you qualify for Expungement, contact us today to discuss your case. Time is of the essence as you want to act fast when it comes to an Expungement. Our law firm offers free consultations and welcomes the opportunity to help you put this behind you.
In Texas, prosecutors often offer first time defendants deferred adjudication in exchange for a “guilty” plea. Deferred adjudication means that the judgment on the charges is postponed or deferred and then the defendant is placed on probation for a period of time. When that period is over and if the conditions of the probation are successfully met, the charges are then dismissed by the Judge.
Many people falsely believe that once they have completed their deferred adjudication they will no longer have a criminal record. In truth, while your record will not show a criminal conviction, a record of your arrest and the court action will remain available for public view in a background check or investigation. In order to truly clear your record following a deferred adjudication, you need an Order of Non-Disclosure signed by the Judge.
Non-Disclosure is very different than expunging. An Expungement order requires the destruction of all references and records of the person’s case from public records. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) must also request any federal repository to return any copies to the DPS who then destroys them. The actual court record ordering the Expungement is itself destroyed 60 days to one (1) year after issuance of the order.
A Non-Disclosure requires the DPS to send a copy of the Non-Disclosure order to all law enforcement agencies, jails, and other entities that are typically given a copy of these types of activities. The places that are sent the Non-Disclosure order are then ordered to seal the records, but not to destroy them. Also, these facilities cannot disclose the offense, but must retain the records. The person’s prior criminal record can be used against the person in a subsequent prosecution.
A person’s case is eligible for only one of these two services. Whether an order of Non-Disclosure or expunction is the eligible service is based on the “sentence” given for that case or lack thereof. A person who has an attorney for his or her case should ask the lawyer to make sure the expunging or Non-Disclosure action is done properly and completely the first time. This will minimize any possible delay that could take months or even a rejection by the court. If there is a delay, the lawyer can also write letters or provide copies of the filed documents to the person’s potential employer to let the employer know that the case has been re-opened for Expungement or Non-Disclosure and that their record will soon be cleared.
Obtaining an Order of Non-Disclosure is commonly referred to as sealing your record. When your record is sealed, only those who are authorized by state or federal statute to view your record may do so. This means that Non-Disclosers can still be …Although most employers will not have access to the information. Additionally, with a Non-Disclosure action, the record is not destroyed, however, with an Expungement the records are. Non-Disclosures can still be accessed by certain government agencies, and it can still be used against you in a court of law.
While many charges are eligible for Non-Disclosure, there are some felony charges that can never be sealed. Additionally, you can only seal your most recent deferred adjudication, so it’s important to seek an Order of Non-Disclosure as soon as possible. With most misdemeanors there is not a waiting period before you can seal the record. There are certain misdemeanors that you must wait two (2) years after successfully completing your probation before the record can be sealed. With felonies, however, there usually is a five year (5) waiting period before you can apply for a Non-Disclosure.
If you have successfully completed a deferred adjudication and would like to seal your record, then call our office today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We can answer all of your questions and start the process today toward clearing your good name from the criminal records.
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