Expunctions and Nondisclosure Orders
In many cases our goal is to not only defend the innocent, but to also clear his or her name. Even if a charge is ultimately dismissed or the accused is acquitted at trial, records of the accusation will usually continue to exist and be visible to the public at large unless action is taken to stop this. Despite the prosecution’s failure to prove guilt in such situations, the accused can continue to suffer adverse effects, including discrimination in employment, housing, and many other contexts, unless the arrest record is cleared in some way. In Texas there are two ways to accomplish this – expunctions and nondisclosure orders (also referred to as sealing orders).
Expunctions in Texas provide for the complete destruction of arrest records.
Expunctions are generally available only after charges have been dismissed or the accused is acquitted at trial. Usually it is not possible to expunge records pertaining to a case in which the accused has been placed on probation, sentenced to serve a term of confinement or fined (though occasionally there are exceptions to this rule).
If someone cannot expunge their records, they may have some relief available by filing a petition to seal records. To be eligible for a nondisclosure order one must first successfully complete a term of deferred adjudication probation in Texas. When records are sealed, they are not destroyed as in the Texas expunction process. However, the general public’s access to them is restricted. Though the Texas criminal records could still be viewed by many government employees and law enforcement personnel after they have been sealed, Texas nondisclosure law allows an accused to not disclose the arrest on applications for employment and in other situations.
We have successfully filed many petitions to expunge and seal arrest records in Texas courts…
…and would be pleased to discuss the possibility with you. Feel free to call us at 512-474-6484.