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In Texas, certain crimes can be expunged from an individual’s criminal record, or they can be sealed by a court order of nondisclosure. If your criminal record is expunged or sealed, it will no longer be visible to the general public, including potential employers. Our attorneys at The Law Office of Krause & Dailey, PLLC will do our best to understand every side of your situation and lend an empathetic hand to helping you start fresh.
Who Is Eligible for an Expunction?
Individuals arrested for a misdemeanor or felony may qualify for expungement of their criminal record if they were:
- acquitted of the crime for which they were charged;
- convicted but subsequently found to be actually innocent;
- convicted but subsequently pardoned;
- formally charged by indictment or information and the case against them was later dismissed, and the statute of limitations has expired; or
- arrested but not formally charged and they satisfy the prescribed waiting period.
Texas requires that those seeking expunction must wait a specific period of time before filing if they were arrested but not charged with a crime. The length of each waiting period depends on the level of the offense:
- Class C misdemeanor – 180 days from the date of arrest
- Class A or B misdemeanor – 1 year from the date of arrest
- Felony – 3 years from the date of arrest
If charges were brought against the individual, the statute of limitations must expire for every crime for which they were arrested before they can procced to file for expunction.
There is no waiting period for individuals whose cases the state’s attorney certified do not need files for subsequent criminal prosecution. Also note that the statutes do not specify waiting periods for expunction if an individual was acquitted, convicted but found to be innocent, or pardoned.
To petition for expunction, an individual needs to file the Application for Expunction in their arresting county and provide their fingerprint card from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The clerk will then notify DPS and set a court hearing no earlier than 30 days from the date of filing. If the court approves their request, the Order of Expunction will remove the entry from the person’s criminal record, and they will not be required to provide any mention of it on job applications or elsewhere.
Orders of Nondisclosure
Alternatively, individuals can seek orders of nondisclosures instead of expunction if they pled guilty or no contest to an offense and have successfully completed deferred adjudication community supervision. The main difference between expunction and nondisclosure is that expunction permanently removes entries from criminal records, while nondisclosure simply seals or hides certain offenses from public access. Nonetheless, both expunction and nondisclosure can clean up adult criminal records, which impact job searches, professional licenses, and credit scores, among other things.
Eligibility for orders of nondisclosure depends on the type of offense and type of community supervision (probation) the individual received – deferred adjudication or regular community supervision. Be aware that offenses ending in conviction or regular community supervision are never eligible for expunction or nondisclosure. Specific offenses are not eligible for an order of disclosure, including:
- any offense requiring a person to register as a sex offender;
- aggravated kidnapping;
- human trafficking;
- injury to a child, a disabled person, or an elderly person;
- a family violence offense; and
The two methods of nondisclosure in Texas are automatic nondisclosure for first-time misdemeanors and nondisclosure with petition. Automatic nondisclosure applies only to first-time misdemeanors (other than traffic fines) regardless of level occurring after September 1, 2015 that resulted in deferred adjudication ending in discharge or dismissal. If an individual meets these legal requirements at the end of the period, the judge must order nondisclosure automatically. The person themselves don’t have to file anything, and there is no waiting period.
Nondisclosure with petition, however, requires the individual to petition for nondisclosure. This method of nondisclosure deals with more serious offenses that don’t qualify for an automatic order. There is a 5-year waiting period for felonies and a 2-year waiting period for serious misdemeanors to apply for nondisclosure.
Let The Law Office of Krause & Dailey, PLLC Help
Expunction is an important and worthwhile step to take to recovering post-conviction if you are eligible. Any mark on your criminal record could severely impact your future opportunities, so you should consult an experienced expunction lawyer to determine your eligibility for clearing your criminal record in San Antonio. Our lawyers at The Law Office of Krause & Dailey, PLLC take an ethical and empathetic approach to all our cases and will do our best to help you move forward after a criminal charge.
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