Does My Criminal Record Qualify for an Expunction?
Most convictions cannot be removed from a person’s record, but under certain circumstances, Texas law allows individuals to remove information about an arrest, charge, or conviction from their criminal records. An arrest or charge (even if it’s later dismissed) on one’s record can have an impact on a person’s life and affect his/her career prospects, housing options, and more. The more difficult time experienced by those with criminal arrests and convictions is known as a collateral consequence of being arrested, accused, and/or convicted of a crime.
Depending on a few factors, though, you might be able to clean the slate as if you had never been arrested and/or charged with a felony or misdemeanor or, at least, restrict who can view your criminal record. These procedures are referred to as “expunction” and “non-disclosure,” respectively.
What is Expunction?
You might know it as expungement, but Texas law refers to it as expunction. Expunction means that certain Texans are able to completely remove a criminal event from their records. Most often, this applies to arrests that individuals want to remove. There are only four conditions that lend themselves to eligibility for expunction; you must satisfy only one:
- You were acquitted after a criminal trial for a misdemeanor or felony
- You were found innocent or pardoned by the governor of Texas after a conviction
- You were arrested and the charges against you were dismissed or the charge’s statute of limitations has expired
- You were never actually, formally charged with a crime and have satisfied the required waiting period
To recap, expunction is only available for individuals who do not currently have a guilty finding, guilty plea, or nolo contendere plea (no contest plea). If an expunction is not an option due to the nature of the offense, charge or conviction, it may be possible to obtain an Order of Nondisclosure. In other words, you may qualify to have your record sealed.
Orders of Non-Disclosure
One difference between expunction and non-disclosure is that non-disclosure applies to those who have pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to certain misdemeanors. The other main difference is that non-disclosure of crimes will be sealed to the general public but can be viewed by government and professional licensing agencies. The base requirements for a non-disclosure include:
- You were not convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense (other than a fine-only traffic violation) at any time after you sentenced and during any applicable waiting period
- You were not convicted of a disqualifying crime
In addition to the base requirements, you must fit in a particular category and meet the category’s requirements.
Why Go Through the Trouble?
Many people who have convictions on their record can attest to its effects. Employers often inquire about a candidate’s criminal record, and professional licensing agencies often deny applicants based on a prior arrest or conviction. It can also affect your credit score and opportunities to secure student loans.
The bottom line, though, is that you need a quality criminal defense attorney who can help you determine your eligibility for an expunction or non-disclosure. That is one of the cornerstones of Kimbrough Legal. We have helped a wide variety of clients clean up their criminal records. Questions? Call us at 833-553-4521. We look forward to speaking with you!