Obtaining Expunctions and Non-disclosure Orders in Texas (Record Sealing)
Texas law allows for previous arrests, charges, and convictions (in very limited circumstances) to be expunged from your record under certain circumstances. An
expunction deletes all information about the arrest, charges or convictions from your criminal record, and allows you to continue your life as if the incident had never occurred. Not all charges and convictions can be expunged under Texas law. To be eligible for expunction, the charges, convictions, or arrests must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Arrests for crimes that were never subsequently charged
- Convictions that were overturned on appeal
- Convictions that received pardons from the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States
- Charges that were dismissed by the court
- Qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offenses
- Alcohol offenses by juvenile offenders
- Convictions for truancy from school
- Charges, convictions, and arrests that result from identity theft
Texas does not have an automatic process for the expunction of records. You will be required to file a lawsuit requesting that your records be expunged by filing a Petition for Expunction in a Texas District Court. It is necessary to have a Houston criminal lawyer manage this complex process; even small errors in the legal process can lead to serious complications,which can result in a permanent bar to your ability to obtain an expunction of eligible records.
A number of factors can lead to the ultimate denial of an expunction. Felony offenses that occurred within three years of the date of the incident for which expunction is requested may result in a denial. Additionally, under some circumstances the statute of limitations for the crime must have expired prior to the request for an expunction in the state of Texas. An expunction may still be possible outside of these standard guidelines depending on your specific situation – you should always contact an experienced expunction lawyer such as Matthew Gallagher who will provide you with a free assessment of your case.
Orders of Non-disclosure (record sealing)
Orders for non-disclosure may be available for charges and arrests that are not eligible for expunction. An order of non-disclosure is also commonly referred to as “record sealing” and is what an order of non-disclosure ultimately accomplishes.
An order of non-disclosure is a court order that prohibits and forbids the disclosure of a criminal record to any party other than law enforcement agencies and specific list of state licensing agencies. A non-disclosure order removes the underlying court case and arrest from your public criminal record and as such employers, most education facilities, companies performing background checks, or any other private party will not be able to see that you were arrested or charged with an alleged offense. Applicants for non-disclosure orders must have been placed on a deferred adjudication probation and been released from the deferred adjudication probation by the court.
Non-disclosure orders can not be obtained for certain offenses, the following offenses are not eligible for an order of non-disclosure:
- Domestic violence
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Sexual offenses that require registration as a sex offender in the state of Texas
A qualified Houston expunction and non-disclosure order attorney can provide you with the necessary help in preparing the necessary Petitions for Expunction and Orders of Non-disclosure. More importantly, they can provide you with the material support you need to build your case and arguments, which will increase your chances for a favorable outcome.
Matthew Gallagher has worked with numerous clients to obtain expunctions and orders of non-disclosure orders for their past offenses. If you can benefit from having arrests or charges removed from your criminal record, Matthew Gallagher can provide you with the legal representation you need to achieve these goals and get your life back on track.