A criminal history can dramatically affect your life. Employers can deny you a job. Landlords can refuse to rent to you. Lenders can deny you credit.
Expunction is the legal process through which criminal records of arrests are destroyed. Many people believe that once a criminal case is dismissed, all the records are destroyed. This is not true. Arrest records, court records, records of release, fingerprint and computer records all exist and persist even when charges are dismissed. If the case resulted in any type of probation, either community supervision or deferred adjudication, the records cannot be expunged, regardless of how long ago the conviction occurred.
Texas law allows a certain person who has had their criminal case dismissed or who has been found not guilty to apply for an expunction of the criminal records. If an expunction is granted, all state agencies are ordered to destroy any records that they may have of the arrest. This means that the police department, the jail, the court, the clerk's office, and all other agencies that had official records of your arrest must destroy them.
Under a recent Texas Supreme Court decision (State v. Beam), if your case is dismissed, you may have to wait until the statute of limitations runs before you can file a petition to expunge your records. If you have been acquitted or found not guilty of a crime in Texas, you are entitled to have your records expunged. If you have been acquitted or found not guilty you do not have to wait for the statute of limitations to run before filing to expunge your records.
Texas law allows a person who successfully completes a deferred adjudication probation for certain criminal offenses, to apply for an Order of Nondisclosure that seals the records from the general public. This is a brand new right that individuals have to seal their records. There are waiting periods involved (which have recently been shortened) and some offenses do not qualify and are not eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure.
Betty will gladly talk to you free of charge to determine if you are eligible to obtain an Order of Nondisclosure of your deferred adjudication probation, if the offense occurred here in Travis County. However, keep in mind that the Texas Legislature has carved out several exceptions to the types of records that can be sealed and when employers can view them.
Contact Betty Blackwell for your free appointment to see if you qualify to clean your criminal arrest record in Travis County, Texas.