Having a criminal record can follow you for the rest of your life. It can interfere with your ability to find work, housing, credit, and many other aspects of your life. If you are asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, you are legally obligated to answer truthfully. This often results in a denial of whatever you’re seeking.
Fortunately, not everyone with a criminal record has to endure these consequences. In fact, it may be possible to clear your record with expunction. If not, you can at least seal it from the public eye with an order of nondisclosure.
I Was Arrested but Not Convicted. Do I Have a Criminal Record?
Yes. Your criminal record begins with your arrest and includes everything else that follows as you move through the justice system. This means that you can have a criminal record without ever being convicted of a crime.
Other things that might appear in your criminal record may include the following:
- Any previous arrests
- Any charges filed against you
- Any previous convictions
- Parole requirements and violations
- Case dismissals
What Does Expunction Do in Texas?
Those who qualify for expunction in Texas can completely wipe away a criminal record. This is significant because it’s treated as if an arrest, conviction, or any other event in their criminal record didn’t happen. If you can obtain expungement, you are no longer required to disclose any aspect of the expunged offense, and neither the public nor any government agency can view any of your expunged records.
Expunction is the best option for those who qualify for it, but many will not. Texas is highly selective when it comes to the circumstances in which expunction is possible.
Expunction is only available under the following conditions:
- Class C Misdemeanors resulting in deferred adjudication; or
- Offenses that didn’t result in convictions because charges weren’t filed, the charges were dismissed, or the defendant was acquitted or pardoned
You Must Wait to File for Expunction
Expunction is neither automatic nor quick to obtain. Not only must someone petition the court to expunge an offense, they may have to wait a certain amount of time before they can file their petition.
The waiting period to file for expunction varies depending on the level of offense involved:
- Those arrested for Class C misdemeanors must wait 180 days
- Those arrested for Class A and B misdemeanors must wait a year
- Those arrested for any level of felony must wait three years
Unfortunately, this means the law can require you to disclose that you have a criminal record for a while, even if you otherwise qualify for expunction.
What Is an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?
An order of nondisclosure seals your criminal record from public view, but it’s still available to law enforcement, other government entities, and licensing agencies. If you don’t qualify for expunction, an order of nondisclosure can be the next best option to clean up your criminal record.
The qualifications for an order of nondisclosure in Texas include the following:
- You were convicted for a misdemeanor offense
- The offense wasn’t
- The offense wasn’t related to organized crime
- The offense wasn’t sexual in nature
- The offense isn’t considered to be violent
- You complied with all of your sentencing terms
Normally an order of nondisclosure is unavailable for DWI offenses, but if your case was dismissed after completing deferred adjudication, you may qualify. Unfortunately, nondisclosure if unavailable for any felony conviction.
As with expunction, however, there is also a waiting period before one can file for an order of nondisclosure. This period ends on or after the date you completed your sentence if your offense was a Class C misdemeanor (punishable only by a fine); or on or after the second anniversary of completing sentencing requirements for all others misdemeanors.
Do You Need Help Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record?
The Alband Law Firm can provide the legal support you need if you wish to pursue expunction or an order of nondisclosure for your criminal record. We understand the weight you’ve been carrying for all this time, which is why we want to help those who need assistance when it comes to clearing their name.
If you want to learn more about legal options that may be available to you, contact The Alband Law Firm online today.