Under certain circumstances, a person
in Texas can have criminal records erased, or "expunged."
Generally speaking, the person's criminal charges must have been
dismissed, or the person must have been found not guilty after
a trial. Contrary to popular belief, a successfully served deferred
adjudication probation cannot be expunged, except in the case
of certain class C misdemeanor offenses. (An order of nondisclosure
may be possible, however. See the section below.) Records subject
to an expunction order may include those of the arresting agency,
the Department of Public Safety, the court of prosecution, and
the prosecutor's office.
For the Expunction statutes, CLICK
The Texas Legislature finally has passed
a statute allowing someone who successfully completes a term of
deferred adjudication probation to obtain an order of nondisclosure
of criminal records pertaining to the arrest and offense. There
are restrictions on eligibility, focusing on the person’s previous
criminal history and conduct between the termination of supervision
and the filing of the petition for nondisclosure. For many misdemeanor
offenses, an eligible person may file the petition immediately upon
discharge from the deferred adjudication supervision. For some misdemeanors,
the person may not file the petition until 2 years after the discharge
from supervision. For felonies, the person may not file until 5
years after the discharge from supervision.
Not all defendants who successfully
complete a deferred adjudication probation are entitled to an order
of nondisclosure. A person is not eligible if he/she has ever been
convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for: an offense requiring
registration as a sex offender, aggravated kidnapping, murder, capital
murder, injury to a child/elderly/disabled individual, abandoning
or endangering a child, violations of a protective order or magistrate's
order, or any offense involving family violence.
ORDERS OF NON-DISCLOSURE
Obtaining an order of nondisclosure
is very advantageous. A person who receives an order of nondisclosure
my deny having been arrested or prosecuted for the offense, unless
the information is being used against the person in a subsequent
criminal proceeding. However, an order of nondisclosure does not
require the government to destroy the information. The information
may be released to criminal justice agencies, non-criminal justice
agencies authorized by statute or executive order to receive criminal
history record information, and the person who is the subject
of the criminal history information.
Private entities that compile and
disseminate for compensation criminal history record information
may not do so with respect to which an order of nondisclosure
has been issued. A district court may issue a warning to a private
entity for a first violation, but faces a civil penalty not to
exceed $500 for each subsequent violation.
I charge a flat fee for these services which includes all civil
filing fees that go along with this process.