Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 55.01 contains the statutory language that governs expunctions (expungement). If you look it up on the Internet and read the text of the statute you can see that it is a rather complicated statutory scheme and each case should be considered individually by an attorney experienced in dealing with this statute. However, there are some statements that can be made that to all expunction matters.
The intent of the expunctions statute is eliminating records based on wrongful arrests. How your case was disposed of is critical to answering the question of whether or not you can get the arrest records and files expunged.
Although there are many obstacles that will keep you from getting your records expunged, the most common is if you have been ordered to participate and complete any court ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Court ordered community supervision is what most people call probation. So if you have been put on probation for anything other than a class C misdemeanor, you probably will not be able to get your arrest records expunged.
But even if you are not eligible to get your criminal history records expunged, you may still be able to limit what records are available to the public through what is called an Order of Non-Disclosure. This is a process for people who have a case in their past that they are trying to keep from public knowledge, usually because it is affecting their ability to get a job or some other important aspect of their lives.
At Daniel & Halstead Criminal Defense we have handled many expunction cases. If your case was dismissed or disposed of in a manner that did not require your participation and completion of some type of probation, and you would like for us to evaluate your case to see if you are eligible for an expunction, we would welcome your call and an opportunity to be of service.
Have you ever filled out a job application, or an application for an apartment, or an application for a professional license and worried about what a person might discover if they did a background check on you? Have you ever been denied a job you wanted, or an apartment you tried to rent because of a possession of marijuana case or DWI you received when you were younger? Is there some other small infraction in your past that keeps haunting you and preventing you from moving forward with your life that you wish you could just make go away? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may want to see if you qualify for an Order of Non-Disclosure.
What is an Order of Non-Disclosure?
Section 411.081 of the Texas Government Code provides that if you have been placed on community supervision (what most people refer to as probation) under the deferred adjudication provisions, and your deferred adjudication was successfully completed and the case was dismissed, you may petition the Court to have your criminal records sealed from public disclosure. Once sealed, you will be able to honestly say that you have not been arrested, placed on deferred adjudication, or convicted.
If the Court Signs an Order of Non-Disclosure in your case, you will be able to tell potential employers that you have not been arrested or convicted of the offense listed in the Order. It can make you eligible for more favorable consideration with respect to student loans, government housing assistance, and applications for professional licenses and/or certificates. And you can avoid the fear of embarrassment when someone does a background check on you.
Eligibility requirements for an Order of Non-Disclosure:
- You entered a plea of guilty or no contest in your case; AND
- You were placed on community supervision where the court did not enter a finding of guilt (deferred adjudication probation); AND
- You successfully completed and have been discharged from your deferred adjudication probation; AND
- The case against you has been dismissed; AND
- The required waiting period, if any, has passed.
If you are able to meet the eligibility requirements outlined above, you can get started. First, a petition must be filed in the Court where you successfully completed your deferred adjudication. The petition will outline for the Court the facts necessary to show why you are eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure. And that is when the real work starts. In addition to showing the Court that you are eligible, you must convince the Court that it is the best interest of justice to grant your request for the Order. This is when your choice of lawyer becomes critical to your chances of success. Hopefully you will choose Daniel & Halstead Criminal Defense who is knowledgeable as to what factors are considered by the Court in making its decision, and enjoys a reputation for integrity and competence that is appreciated by the Court.