Whether improving your chances for getting a better job or obtaining closure from a stressful event, there are many benefits to clearing or sealing your record. Make the most of your second chance and move forward by pursuing an expunction or an order of nondisclosure. Contact us today to learn more about expunctions and petitions for nondisclosure.
Expunctions are intended to remove records of a wrongful arrest or charges that resulted in an acquittal or dismissal. Chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure governs expunctions. The major types of expunctions are for: acquittals and pardons, dismissals and no-bills, and identity thefts. Records of an arrest for either a misdemeanor or felony offense are subject to expunction. Arrests for contempt of court or probation violations are not covered by statutory expunction provisions and thus such arrest records could not be removed via expunction.
Typically an expunction deals with an “arrest,” as opposed to the offense charged. For most cases, your case must not have resulted in any type of community supervision or final conviction – the charges need to have been dismissed, declined or rejected. Further, if a person enters a plea to a lesser included offense or if enters a plea to only one of multiple offenses charged, no expunction can be granted because of a conviction for “an offense arising out of the arrest.” However, if the arrest was for a new offense and an existing warrant for offense on a previous date, a petitioner for expunction could be able to meet the elements for the multiple offenses occurring on different dates but from one arrest. A court may not grant an expunction for an acquittal if one was convicted or other charges remain pending out of the same criminal episode.
If a person was acquitted by a trial court they are entitled to an expunction. A pardon will also entitle a person to an expunction. However, if a person is found not guilty by reason of insanity such finding will not provide for an expunction.
An expunction for an offense that was never tried is the most complicated. There are two main requirements of the person was released without a conviction or supervision and either the statute of limitations or waiting period has passed. Expunctions are available if the statute of limitations period has expired, barring prosecution of the case. A person may also receive an expunction if the case was dismissed pursuant to completing a pretrial intervention or veterans court program or because a lack of probable cause at the time of dismissal to believe the defendant committed the charged offense.
There are also some expunctions outside of Chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that provide for expunctions in typically Class C offenses for juveniles. (Tobacco or Alcohol use by minors).
While expunctions were intended to correct situations where one was wrongly arrested, nondisclosures are intended for low-level and first-time offenders. An order of nondisclosure essentially “seals” one's record so the arrest won't show on one's criminal history. For example, when one is placed on a period of deferred adjudication there is an arrest on the criminal history but no conviction for the offense. After an order of nondisclosure is granted a regular background check will not reveal the case; only law enforcement and some state agencies will maintain access to the information.