A question our office frequently encounters is whether an arrest and/or conviction can be expunged from their record. Sometimes the existence of a criminal record can limit your future possibilities and can hinder future employment. It can often keep you from getting the right job, or moving within your company, or can even come back to haunt you in the event you are ever faced with another criminal charge in the future. The answer to whether you can get something expunged or sealed is almost always complicated, and many factors usually come into play. A knowledgeable Texas attorney can help you take actions, however, in sealing these records and protecting your future.
The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC can help clients with two different methods of criminal record sealing: an expunction and a nondisclosure. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your detention, arrest or conviction, either one might be the right fit for you.
Expunction vs. Non-Disclosure
An order of expunction essentially erases ALL records of the offense: arrest records, court records and criminal history record information. Expunction is only granted in limited circumstances, contrary to what most people believe. These include when your criminal case was dismissed or when you were found "Not Guilty" and acquitted after a trial. People who are not eligible for expunction may still be eligible to file a motion for a non-disclosure.
When a petition for Non-Disclosure is granted, criminal justice agencies are prohibited from giving information about the offense to the general public. Your record, therefore, is effectively "sealed." Usually, a Non-Disclosure Order is granted when you have successfully completed deferred adjudication. For many offenses, there is a waiting period before you can file a petition for Non-Disclosure, which can range anywhere from two to five years. However, some offenses are eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure immediately. Obtaining an order of Non-Disclosure means that law enforcement agencies cannot release your criminal record as it relates to the specific incident. Generally speaking, the only way an entity can see the arrest records is if you are prosecuted subsequently for another crime. If your Order is granted, your record is effectively "sealed" in all other respects. You can read more about Non-Disclosures here.