Expunctions and Record Sealing
Many people mistakenly believe that their record is erased immediately following an acquittal ("Not Guilty") after a trial by judge or jury, or if the case is dismissed. Additionally, many people erroneously believe that if they successfully complete "Deferred Ajudication" their criminal record will automatically dissapear following the probationary period. However, this is absolutely not the case. The arrest information will remain on your permanent criminal record unless you file for an Expunction or an Order of Non-Disclosure. However, both of these are only granted in a very narrow range of circumstances. Contact The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC, for a free consultation to determine whether you are eligible for any of the record sealing procedures afforded under the laws of the State of Texas.
In some circumstances, a judge will sign an Order of Expunction which will effectively cause any entity with information relating to the your arrest be destroyed and removed forever. Expunctions are only available for individuals in a limited number of situations. If your case has been dismissed outright (or not filed with the District Attorney's Office) you may be eligible to have your records expunged (provided the relevant statute of limitations period has expired). Also, if you have obtained an acquittal following a judge or jury trial ("Not Guilty") you should be eligible to have your records removed via an Order of Expunction.
A criminal arrest record can seriously limit your future prospects for employment. It can show up on background checks, thereby keeping you from getting the right job, or progressing within your company, and can even come back to negatively impact a future criminal case should you ever be charged with a crime again in the future. The answer to whether you can get something expunged is usually complicated, and can best be answered if you consult an attorney. A knowledgeable Texas attorney can help you take action, however, in expunging your records to protect your future. The right of being granted an expunction in Texas is governed by Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Those who are not eligible for expunction may still be eligible to file an Order of Non-Disclosure.
For those who have successfully completed "Deferred Adjudication" probation, an Order of Non-Disclosure can offer the opportunity to have your record sealed from public view. Unlike with expunctions, Non-Disclosures do not completely erase criminal records, but instead will leave them intact for government purposes. Most commonly it can be used if the person is ever prosecuted for a crime again sometime in the future. One of the most common misconceptions people have about their criminal cases is that all records related to the arrest are immediately cleared once "Deferred Adjudication" is completed. An individual must Petition the Court with the proper paperwork intact and request the judge sign the Order of Non-Disclosure. The District Attorney's Office usually will either approve or oppose the motion, and a hearing likely will be set. In Texas, motions for Non-Disclosure are granted pursuant to Section 411.091 of the Texas Government Code.
The individual may deny the existence of the arrest and prosecution to which otherwise public information relates, unless it is being used against her/him in a subsequent prosecution. Texas Government Code, Section 552.142. What this basically means is that a person can deny the very occurrence of the case, unless they are testifying at a trial and then would have to admit they successfully completed deferred adjudication (and subsequently had their record sealed). While not an expunction technically, this still is a very effective technique for having records sealed.
Consult with an Attorney
The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC can help answer any and all questions you might have regarding whether something is showing up on a background check that should not be. If you are concerned that your arrest is still appearing and you would like to start the process of clearing your records, call our office immediately for a free consultation at 214.702.CARL (2275). Carl can take care of all of the necessary legal details and work to help you clear your criminal record so you can move forward with your life without worry and fear that something shows up when it should not.