Understanding the Difference Between Expunctions and Petitions for Non-Disclosure
An expunction erases an arrest and disposition from a person's criminal record, usually as a result of a dismissal or an acquittal. A Non-Disclosure seals a person's criminal record if they plead guilty or are found guilty and have an otherwise clean criminal record.
ExpunctionsThe most common situations which enable you to get an expunction will be if your case was dismissed or you went to trial and were found not guilty (acquitted). It is also common to get an expunction if you completed a pre-trial diversion program, completed deferred adjudication probation for a class c misdemeanor, if you were a minor convicted of a class c misdemeanor involving underage drinking, or if you were the victim of identity theft.
Expunctions are not extremely complicated but must be done just so. You must file a petition with all the relevant facts, law, and details with the district court (or lower level court with class c misdemeanor cases). You must pay a filing fee and all agencies who may have a copy of your arrest record must be notified of your intent to expunge your case. There are more agencies that have a copy of your arrest than you may think. After the agencies have been notified, there will be a hearing in which they have a chance to object. If you have a legal right to an expunction and have followed this process correctly, the judge should grant the order of expunction. A copy of the order will be sent to all agencies listed on the petition with a destruction date with which they must comply. You can then deny your arrest ever happened and your record is clean. Civil penalties can apply to agencies that disclose details of your case if your case is ordered to be expunged.
Petitions for Non-DisclosurePetitions for Non-Disclosure(PNDs) are the next best thing to an expunction. You haven't beat your case or had it dismissed, but you may have never been in trouble before and completed your probation/sentence. PNDs used to be only for people who completed deferred adjudication probation. Now, they can also apply to people who completed straight probation, including DWIs, or those who were sentenced to jail. To get a PND, you usually need a clean record. If you received deferred adjudication for a non-violent offense, you can often get a PND right after you complete your deferred. Straight probations, DWI's, and jail sentence cases usually have a waiting period of 2-3 years.
To get a PND, you need to file a petition with the court which heard your case. After a hearing or an agreement with the prosecutor, the Judge will sign an order for agencies which have a record of your case to seal information about your case. Law enforcement and certain state agencies can still find your case, but most private entities cannot. You are able to lawfully deny the arrest did not occur if the judge grants your PND. Civil penalties can apply to agencies which reveal your record to unauthorized entities.