Is your criminal record interfering with your ability to obtain or maintain employment? If so, we encourage you to continue reading this post to gain useful information regarding expunctions and non-disclosure orders. Included in almost every application for employment is a question about your criminal history. Depending on the type of job you are applying for, an affirmative answer to this type of question could disqualify you from even being offered an interview. Not only is this frustrating, but it has a substantial impact on your ability to earn a living after the incident for which a criminal record was created. Before getting into the details of expunction and non-disclosure, we want to stress that not everyone is entitled to this type of relief. In fact, expunction and non-disclosure are very limited. The benefit of achieving this type of relief, however, is far reaching. Therefore, if you believe that you qualify for an expunction or non-disclosure, please give us a call so that we may further discuss your options. Once we know more about your specific case, we can make a determination about your ability to have your record expunged or to have a non-disclosure order granted.
First, what is an expunction? An expunction allows for the removal of information regarding on arrest, charge, or conviction from a person’s permanent criminal record. If the expunction is granted, all information related to that offense is removed and a person can deny disclosure of any information related to the offense that is expunged. This is a powerful tool. For that reason, its availability is limited. Only certain types of criminal records are eligible for expunction. This includes: an arrest for a crime that was never charged; the dismissal of a criminal charge; specific misdemeanor juvenile offenses; specific alcohol offenses committed by a minor, convictions for Failure to Attend School; arrests, charges, or convictions of a victim of identity theft when the person responsible for the criminal action is actually arrested, charged, and convicted; crimes that are later acquitted by the trial court or Court of Criminal Appeals (the highest criminal appellate court in the State of Texas); and convictions that are later pardoned by the Texas Governor or the President of the United States. Other requirements limit the availability of expunction even if your offense falls within the list described previously. Your attorney can examine the facts of your situation to determine if you meet these other requirements before proceeding with the expunction. Namely, if you have received deferred adjudication, probation, or have been convicted of a felony within 5 years of the arrest for which you are seeking expunction, the court will not grant your request for expunction. This limitation is very important, and you should disclose these details with your attorney.
Also, what is a non-disclosure? A non-disclosure order allows for limited accessibility to criminal records; however, the order does not destroy all records related to the offense. Specifically, those records subject to the order are removed from public record and are not accessible by certain private parties (such as private employers). This option might be available if you are not eligible for an expunction. Non-disclosure is available to those who have completed deferred adjudication for a Class B or above criminal offense. If the crime for which you were ordered to deferred adjudication did not involve sex, guns, or violence, you are immediately eligible for non-disclosure at the time your deferred adjudication is completed. If the crime did involve sex, guns, or violence, you are eligible to apply for non-disclosure after 5 years from the time deferred adjudication was completed. There is a 10-year waiting period for felony arrests. Non-disclosure is strictly unavailable to those that receive deferred adjudication for more serious offenses, such as endangerment of a child or elderly. During the waiting period, if a period applies, the applicant cannot have been convicted of another offense, whether related to the original offense or not.
Finally, how long does it take to obtain an expunction or a non-disclosure? The process for obtaining either of these orders is similar. A petition is filed with the court that originally handled the underlying offense. The court will conduct a hearing after giving notice to all required parties. At the hearing, the court will determine whether or not to grant the order. The court uses it own discretion to determine if the order should be granted, and will deny the order if doing so is in the interest of justice. While it cannot be said with certainty how long it will take the court to issue a decision once it receives the petition, the following are some suggestions as to how the case will proceed. Generally, an expunction is ruled on between 6 and 8 weeks after it is filed. If the request is granted, the court will issue an order to all those that maintain records related to the offense to destroy those records. This could take some time depending on the volume of the records. After one year, you should check with the DPS headquarters in Austin, Texas, to determine that all of the records were destroyed. A non-disclosure order, if granted, is sent to DPS indicating the existence of the order. Those agencies then file the order and also send the order to other agencies with records related to the order. Once the agency has notice of the order, it is liable for any erroneous disclosures. Importantly, if your information is disclosed in violation of a non-disclosure order, you should immediately contact your attorney to determine the appropriate action.
Our firm specializes in criminal defense, and we want you to know that your defense does not end once the court rules on your guilt or innocence. We can help you following trial or completion of probation to clear your record. This will allow you to secure gainful employment and to receive benefits for which you are entitled to receive. Although there is no guarantee that you will qualify for an expunction or non-disclosure, we encourage you to call our office to discuss these options. With candid conversation, we can help you move forward after an arrest, charge, or conviction.
Suggested tags: expunction, non-disclosure, criminal records, criminal defense