What are Expunctions and Non-Disclosures?

criminal record with finger prints and handcuffs for an expunction or nondisclosure

A criminal record, either from a conviction or a warrant, can have lasting effects on your ability to obtain a job, secure a loan, or even rent an apartment. Today, most employers, financial institutions, and landlords conduct background checks on people they intend to hire, approve loans, or approve applications. The silver lining, however, is that you may prevent the public from learning about your criminal history by hiring a criminal attorney to check if you qualify to file an expunction or a non-disclosure petition. 

What is an Expunction?

An expunction is the process of getting your criminal record erased and arrest records destroyed. After an expunction, you can legally deny that the arrest or conviction ever occurred. However, this erasure does not happen automatically, and it is separate from the criminal court process. Instead of using a criminal court, you will need to file a petition through your attorney in a civil court.

Circumstances or cases that qualify for expunction include:

  • If at trial, you are found not guilty
  • If you are found guilty but after appealing, your conviction is overturned
  • If you were pardoned or acquitted
  • If your case was dismissed
  • If the prosecuting attorney’s office refused the criminal charges due to lack of evidence

While in some cases you can file for an expunction petition immediately after the verdict, in others you must wait to file at least 2 years from the date of the arrest. Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas (LRS) can refer you to a qualified Texas criminal lawyer who will evaluate your case and establish whether you qualify for an expunction. 

What are Non-Disclosures?

A non-disclosure is the sealing or the limiting of access to your criminal history. However, it is different from an expunction in that the records are not destroyed. While they are no longer available to public databases and private entities, someone within the court or government agencies (federal, state, city, or county offices) can still view your record. 

In case you are charged, and you complete a deferred adjudication, you qualify to file a petition for non-disclosure.

Circumstances that may not qualify you:

  • An offender that goes straight to probation is not eligible for non-disclosure even if they complete the probation.
  • Cases that go through a final conviction, such as a fine or a sentence, cannot be sealed.
  • Persons with previous records of conviction are permanently ineligible for non-disclosure.

The time within which you can file for a non-disclosure petition depends on the criminal charge, but in most cases, you can file for one immediately after your deferred adjudication probation. LRS can help you find a lawyer to help you through the process.

Why Search for an Attorney?

In the end, whether you qualify for an expunction or a non-disclosure largely depends on the outcome of the case. Through seeking legal advice, you can determine whether your case can either be dismissed, in which case you qualify for an expunction, or you could be indicted but still qualify for a non-disclosure. However, the court has the discretion of either granting or denying your expunction or non-disclosure petition. Obtaining help from an experienced criminal lawyer increases your chances of a successful outcome.

Learn more about the expunction and non-disclosure procedures and eligibility by contacting us at 512-472-8303. We have a vast network of knowledgeable lawyers in the Austin area who can assist you throughout the process.

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