YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PUBLIC TO VIEW FOREVER UNLESS YOU ARE GRANTED AN EXPUNGEMENT OR AN ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE THROUGH THE COURTS
Getting information put on your criminal record can be like coming home after a weekend trip and finding vandals came through and tore the place up. It wasn't right and isn't fair, but you're going to have to clean this mess up. It may be that you were arrested by mistake, but you've still got the criminal record. It may be that you were arrested, charged, prosecuted, and that you won an acquittal at your jury trial, but you've still got a criminal history. It may be that the State recognized early on that it didn't have a righteous case and dismissed it, but you've still got a rap sheet. It may be that you weren't even arrested at all, that someone else was arrested and used your name, date of birth, and social security number to fool the jail into thinking that he was you, but you've still got the criminal record. You're stuck with cleaning up the mess, even if you didn't make it. Your criminal record is available for the world to see.
Background Checks: Your criminal record can be viewed by potential employers, lenders or landlords.
Years ago, background checks were reserved only for people who sought 'top secret' government clearances. Not anymore. They are common now. Anyone with access to the internet can look up your criminal history with just a few clicks of a mouse. If you qualify for a Petition for Nondisclosure (to seal a record) or an Expungement (to erase your record), you had best get your criminal record cleared up.
What is an Expungement (expunction)?
Under current Texas laws, offenses can be removed legally from your criminal record via an expungement (the official term is expunction).
An expungement gets its start in either an acquittal or a dismissal. An expungement means that all records related to a particular arrest are deleted or destroyed. If your criminal record is expunged and you are later arrested, neither the police nor the prosecutor nor the court itself should be able to find any records relating to the old arrest which resulted in a dismissal or acquittal.
If you have been given a "regular" probation, you cannot get your record expunged nor can you get an order of non-disclosure. If you received a deferred adjudication probation, you cannot get an expungement, but you may be able to get an order of non-disclosure.
Orders of nondisclosure and expungements (expunctions) are complicated legal processes; you’ll need to hire a criminal defense attorney in the county where your criminal case was handled. Lawyers who don’t practice in that county won’t know the local practices on some of the finer, but still important, points necessary for clearing your record.
Click here to see if you are eligible to have your criminal record expunged.
What is an Order of Non-disclosure?
An order of non-disclosure may be available to you if you have been granted a deferred adjudication probation. A deferred adjudication probation means that you have not technically been convicted because the judge did not specifically find that you were guilty of the offense. Rather, the judge found that there was enough evidence that a finding of guilt could have been made. (If this sounds like hair splitting to you, you’re right.)
In some instances, people who successfully complete a deferred adjudication probation can petition the court for an order of non-disclosure so that private individuals and businesses cannot learn about a case after the court orders the clerk of the court and other governmental agencies not to release that information. An order of non-disclosure does not mean that the record has been erased. It still exists, and governmental agencies can still find it. If you are arrested again, the police and the prosecutor can easily find out about this case.
Click here to see if you are eligible to receive an order of non-disclosure.
Criminal defense lawyer Bill Mange practices in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties. If you believe you may be eligible for an expungement or order of non-disclosure, call for a free consultation with Attorney Bill Mange: 512-451-5885.