Texas Expungement Lawyer
See If You Qualify to Erase Your Criminal Record
Having your criminal charge removed—Expunged—from your criminal record is high on everyone’s priority list. Without an expunction, your criminal charge will stay on your criminal record forever. This causes a real concern because having a criminal charge in your background can prevent you from getting a job, acquiring housing, earning a professional license, and being accepted into college.
Expunctions in Texas
What is an Expunction?
Simply put, an expunction can remove certain arrests, charges, and convictions from your criminal history which allows you the legal authority to deny that an incident ever occurred.
Do I Qualify for an Expunction?
Not every entry in your criminal history can be expunged. In Texas, expunctions generally apply to:
- Arrests for crimes that were never charged;
- Charges that were ultimately dismissed;
- Charges from crimes that were later acquitted in a trial or appeals court;
- Conviction that was later pardoned by the governor of Texas or U.S. president;
- Certain misdemeanor Juvenile offenses;
- Conviction for specific alcohol offenses involving a minor; and
- Conviction for Failure to Attend School.
This list is not exhaustive, so it’s best to reach out to our attorneys at Stephen T Bowling: DWI & Criminal Defense Attorneys so that we may properly qualify you for an expunction.
How Do I Get an Expunction?
A Petition for Expunction must be filed with the County or District court located in the county of your arrest. The court will then set a hearing in which a Judge will either sign the Order for Expunction or not.
The Petition must adhere to strict requirements about the information that it must contain. Without the correct information, the Petition will be considered insufficient. Accordingly, the court will deny the request and decline to set a hearing date. An example of this required information includes, but is not limited to the correct identifying information and names and addresses of ALL of the agencies that might be in possession of your records.
Just like filing a civil lawsuit, a service and filing fee must be submitted contemporaneously with the filing of the Petition for Expunction. Otherwise, the Petition will not be accepted. Each county has its own filing fee in addition to fees paid to provide notice to any agency that is in possession of your record along with the County or District Attorney’s Office located in the county of your arrest.
Can I Get an Expunction Right Away?
Yes. However, the court must agree to an early waiver or you qualify as being eligible to circumvent the waiting period. Generally, however, a certain waiting period exists and it must be adhered to before you can file a Petition for Expunction. The charge itself will dictate the waiting period if and only if no indictment or information has been brought against you:
- 180 days; Class C misdemeanor
- 1 year; Class A & B misdemeanor
- 3 years; all felonies
If an indictment or information has been brought against you, then the Statute of Limitations (SoL) must be adhered to before you can file a Petition for Expunction:
- No Limitation of time; certain felonies
- 10 years; certain felonies
- 7 years; certain felonies
- 5 years; certain felonies
- 3 year; all other felonies
- 2 years; certain Class A misdemeanors
- 2 years; certain Class B misdemeanors
- 2 years; certain Class C misdemeanors
If a Petition for Expunction is filed too soon, District Attorney’s Office might investigate your case again. Again, it is essential you seek the help of one of our attorneys here at Stephen T Bowling: DWI & Criminal Defense attorneys.
My Case was Dismissed. Do I Still Need an Expunction?
Yes. Even though your criminal case was dismissed, the arrest still exists as a record contained within your criminal history. That specific entry will not be removed without a signed Expunction order which initially requires the Petition for Expunction to be filed. The entry in your criminal history you wish to be expunged does not happen automatically.
I was Arrested but Never Charged. Do I Still Need an Expunction?
Yes. Even though you were never charged or formally charged, the arrest still exists as a record contained within your criminal history. That specific entry will not be removed without a signed Expunction order which initially requires the Petition for Expunction to be filed. The entry in your criminal history you wish to be expunged does not happen automatically.
Nondisclosures in Texas
What is a Nondisclosure?
Getting a record sealed, — “Nondisclosed—” means courts and other public entities are prohibited from sharing your court record and arrest information to the public. The Texas nondisclosure law does allows several notable exceptions to this rule, which allows the court and other public entities to share your record to many professional licensing boards, criminal justice agencies, and other state agencies. Additionally, for law enforcement purposes, your sealed record will also be considered for determining the existence of prior offenses.
While getting your deferred adjudication sentence or conviction sealed does not remove it permanently from your criminal history, it is still better to have your record sealed than not sealed.
Who is Eligible for a Nondisclosure?
There are different types of nondisclosures and each one has its own set of requirements. The following outlines the general, criteria for qualification:
- You must have been placed on deferred adjudication for the offense.;
- You must successfully complete all terms of the deferred adjudication.;
- The offense must be one for which you can get a nondisclosure.
- You cannot get a nondisclosure for family violence offenses, offenses that require you to register as a sex offender, kidnapping, murder, and various other offenses.
- You cannot have a disqualifying criminal history. Previous crimes that will disqualify you from getting a nondisclosure are typically the same that disqualify you for a new arrest.
- You must wait a certain period of time. The waiting period is dependent upon whether your case was a misdemeanor or felony.
- You cannot have been convicted of non-traffic-ticket criminal offenses between the time you were sentenced and an order being granted.
Can I get a DWI Conviction Nondisclosed?
Having a DWI conviction on your record is not only embarrassing, it can pose as a detriment to your future. Until just a few years ago, it was not possible to get a DWI conviction sealed. Thankfully, in 2017, the Texas legislature made it possible for those meeting specific requirements.
Do I Qualify for a DWI Conviction Nondisclosure?
Not everyone is eligible to get a DWI conviction sealed. It is only available to:
- First time DWI offenders
- You must not have ANY criminal history other than a fine-only traffic offense
- You must not have been involved in an accident that involved anyone, including a passenger in your vehicle, other than yourself.
- You must not have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above a 0.15.
There is also a waiting period before you can request to have a DWI conviction sealed. If the court imposed upon you an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) as a condition of your probation, for at least 6 months, then your waiting period would be 2 years from the date you completed your community supervision. If the court does not impose an IID as a condition of your probation, then your waiting period would be 5 years from the date you completed your community supervision.
Can I Seal and Old DWI conviction?
Yes. Even though the DWI nondisclosure law was enacted in 2017, it applies to DWI convictions from before that date. This means that someone with a DWI from 2000 or 2010 can still take advantage of the new law and seal their DWI conviction if they otherwise qualify.
How Do I Get a Nondisclosure Order?
A Petition for Nondisclosure must be filed with the court that presided over your case. A fee must be paid to file the Petition. The filing fee will vary depending on the county of filing.
This process is highly nuanced just as the expunction process is. It is imperative that you speak with one of our attorneys here at Stephen T Bowling: DWI & Criminal Defense attorneys.
What’s the Difference Between an Expunction and Nondisclosure?
Expunctions and nondisclosures are different tools that apply to different situations. Broadly, as noted, an expunction allows for all of your records, pertaining to a particular offense, to be destroyed and frees you from disclosing that information to any entity or person. A Nondisclosure prohibits public entities from disclosing the specific record in question and frees you from disclosing that record to job applicants.
Hire an Austin Expunction and Nondisclosure Attorney
Determining if you qualify for an expunction or nondisclosure is essential. Filing the petition correctly is essential. If the procedure is not followed correctly, the court might decline to accept the Petition or deny the Order, your record might be removed with some agencies but not others, or, worse yet, your incident might be re-investigated and new charges filed against you.
The team at Stephen T Bowling DWI & Criminal Defense Attorneys has experience successfully getting their clients’ records expunged and nondisclosed. If you or a loved one wants to clear or seal their criminal record, you need a qualified attorney to help you navigate the process. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.
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