Expunction And Sealing Your Criminal Record: Are You Eligible?
A criminal record follows you — whether you are applying for a job, applying for a school loan or trying to get an apartment. Even if you weren’t convicted, your arrest record may keep you from getting a job. Many people believe that an arrest from the past will eventually fall off their record. However, the only way to clear your criminal record is to take action yourself. I am criminal defense lawyer R. Todd Bennett, and I use my 25 years of experience to advise clients about their rights, explain the legal process and assess their eligibility for expunction (commonly referred to as expungement).
For more information about having your record sealed or cleared, contact me by email or by phone at 713-489-7763. I am a respected Houston expungement attorney with the experience and reputation you need on your side.
Serving Houston And Rosenberg: An Attorney To Help You Clear Your Criminal Record
A criminal arrest record can be damaging to your career even if you are eventually found not guilty by trial. However, you may be eligible to erase your record or have it sealed, depending on the circumstances. In Texas, there are two ways to clear your record — through the expunction or a petition for nondisclosure.
This is a legal process by which a person’s criminal record is essentially wiped clean. A judge orders every public entity with records of the arrest, charging or other information to destroy such records. The records are no longer available to the public, government agencies or other business entities. In effect, the criminal record is erased, and you can lawfully deny ever being arrested and charged with the crime (such as on a job application). Additionally, if a potential employer runs a criminal background check, the record will not come up.
Expunction is only available in limited circumstances. If you were found not guilty after trial or if your case was dismissed without a plea, you may be eligible for expunction. It is important to understand that, under Texas law, deferred adjudication is not considered not guilty. Therefore, deferred adjudication cases are not eligible for expunction.
Expunction is a complex issue with many exceptions. If you want to have your record erased through the expunction process, it is important to talk with an experienced criminal lawyer. Even if you are ineligible for expunction, there may be other options, such as a petition for nondisclosure.
A Petition For Nondisclosure
This is a petition to the criminal court that handled your case, requesting that it seal any records pertaining to the case. Unlike expunction, the record still exists and can be found by government agencies; you do not have the right to deny that the arrest ever happened. However, the order seals the record from public view (including potential employers). Some cases, such as family violence cases, cannot be sealed so it is important to talk with an experienced criminal lawyer.
Set Up An Attorney Consultation
To learn whether expunction (expungement) or sealing your record (motion for nondisclosure) are possibilities in your case, let me help you. Call 713-489-7763 or email me to arrange a consultation with a knowledgeable Houston expungement lawyer.