Many individuals find themselves involved in legal trouble when they are younger and do not realize that arrests and criminal convictions can stay on their permanent records. A criminal record can severely limit your ability to hold certain jobs, join the military, or even attend the school of your choice.
One way to clear your good name is to petition to have your record expunged. However, not all criminal records are eligible for expungement but may be eligible to be sealed, also known as non-disclosure. An experienced attorney can go over your criminal record and determine the best way to move forward.
What is Expungement?
Expungement in Texas is often referred to as “expunction.” If your criminal history is expunged, it will no longer be visible to the general public. This is highly beneficial because it means that it will also no longer be visible to potential employers who may be conducting a background check. As a result, you will have the ability to say that you were never arrested or convicted of a crime.
However, there are only certain criminal records or situations that are eligible for expunction, which includes:
- You were charged with a crime but later acquitted
- You were convicted of a crime but later found to be innocent
- You were convicted of a crime but later pardoned
- You were formally charged by indictment, but the case was later dismissed
What is Non-Disclosure?
If your criminal record is not eligible for expunction, you may be able to have it sealed through a court order of non-disclosure. If you pled guilty or no contest to a criminal offense and successfully completed deferred adjudication community supervision, you will be permitted to petition the court for the non-disclosure order.
There are, however, certain crimes that are not eligible for non-disclosure, including the following:
- Any offense that requires you to register as a sex offender
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Human trafficking
- Any offense involving family violence
- Any offense that involves an injury to a child or a disabled or elderly person
Is There a Waiting Period to Have a Criminal Record Expunged?
Under Texas law, specific time periods must pass before you are eligible to petition to have an expunction or non-disclosure of your criminal record. The time limits vary based on what type of criminal charges were filed. Most misdemeanor charges resulting in you being only ordered to pay a fine are eligible for non-disclosure without a waiting period.
Due to the variations in eligibility to file, one of the most straightforward steps you can take is to speak with an expunction attorney who can review your criminal history and give you a better indication of when you will be permitted to petition the court.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Expunge My Criminal Record?
If you are uncertain whether you are eligible to have your record expunged, you need to speak with an attorney who can examine your criminal record and give you the legal advice you need to proceed forward.
You should be aware that certain conditions may automatically disqualify you. Contact our law office by calling (979) 596-4088 and ask to schedule a free consultation.