Written by attorney Graham Thayer Williamson II

Expunctions and Non Disclosure Orders

Expunction or the removal of arrest records A criminal history on someone will show that they were arrested and charged with a crime, even though their case was dismissed or they were found not guilty. Criminal history is used by governmental agencies, schools, employers, apartments and credit agencies to judge a person. This can result in the denial of admission to schools, employment, housing and credit. In Texas, if a person does qualify to expunge their criminal record, they can remove or erase their arrest, booking and court proceedings from the local, state, and federal records. A clean criminal record is something no one should take for granted. Do you qualify for a record expunction? Contact us for general questions on record expunction or other criminal cases in fort worth, or the dfw area.

What Criminal Records Can Be Expunged? What is eligible for a criminal record expunction? Many Class "C" misdemeanors can be expunged, even if there was a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) should the Defendant have received a deferred adjudication. A felony or a misdemeanor can be expunged if the person who was tried for the offense and arrested was Acquitted or found not guilty by a judge or jury. Convicted and subsequently pardoned or dismissed. Even if a person's criminal case was dismissed or they were found not guilt, their criminal record will show that they were arrested and charged with a crime. A record expunction in the state of Texas will remove all criminal history from their record. If a person does not qualify to have their criminal record expunged, they may be able to have their records sealed by an order of non-disclosure.

Non-Disclorure Orders: An Order of Non-Disclosure prevents certain law enforcement agencies from releasing any records associated with your arrest, prosecution and deferred probation sentence to the public. With a Non Disclosure Order, your criminal records are exempt, or sealed, from disclosure under the Public Information Act. The disclosure order also allows you to deny the occurrence of that arrest and prosecution unless the records are being used in subsequent criminal proceeding. Contrary to what many people think, a criminal record does not automatically seal itself or go away over time. It remains public and permanent until it is ordered sealed or expunged by a judge. So, even if your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, your criminal history will show that you were arrested and charged with a particular crime. You must seek sealing your record, known as an order of non disclosure, through the courts and in appropriate time. Each case is different and will be decided individually by the Court. Who is eligible for an Order of Non Disclosure? An individual who has successfully completed deferred adjudication probation may qualify for an order of nondisclosure. An Order of Non-disclosure, also referred to as Sealing your record is a great way to limit the discovery of any past criminal history, you may have. If granted, what does an Order of non disclosure do for me? If granted, an Order of non disclosure prohibits criminal justice agencies from disclosing records to the public related to that arrest and charge.

However, be forewarned, if your particular offense calls for a waiting period, you may lose your eligibility for this Order if you receive a subsequent conviction or deferred adjudication, except for traffic violations. Aren't juvenile records automatically sealed? There is a common misconception in Texas that records of Juvenile offenses are secret or are automatically sealed after the individual has reached adult status. Now due to the internet and other sources Juvenile Records are more accessible than ever to schools, employers and governmental agencies. Fortunately Texas law allows for the sealing of most Juvenile offenses. You must seek sealing of records through the courts and in appropriate time. Each case is different and will be decided individually by the Court. Violation of an Order of Non Disclosure. Persons who violate this "order" will be subject to civil sanctions by the Attorney General's Office - a first offense will generate a warning; subsequent violations will generate a civil penalty with a fine.

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