Texas Legislature Shows New Lenience for a Second Chance at a Clean Record
At some point, everyone has made a mistake or has been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately for some, that can result in a criminal record, which shows an arrest, charge, or conviction. When permitted by Texas Law, an individual is allowed to permanently remove information about an arrest, charge, or conviction from their permanent record. This is called an expunction. Once an individual is expunged, all information is removed from the criminal record and that person can deny the incident ever occurred.
If expunction is not available as an option due to the nature of the offense, charge or conviction, it may be possible to obtain an Order for Nondisclosure. A nondisclosure order does not completely destroy all record of any offense, but will limit the accessibility of the records. Records subject to a nondisclosure order are removed from public record and cannot be released or accessed by certain private parties. However, the records will remain available to certain government agencies and will be admissible in certain court actions.
In order to obtain an order on non-disclosure a petition must be filed with the court that was involved with the original offense. A hearing will be conducted after proper notice to the required parties and the court will determine, at that time, whether to grant the order. However, due to a recent change in legislation, non-disclosures now expand to certain non-violent misdemeanor convictions. The changes allow for immediate/cheaper non-disclosures for a small class who successfully completes deferred adjudication misdemeanors. This type of deferred adjudication is available for misdemeanors other than a misdemeanor involving: kidnapping, trafficking of persons, sexual offenses, assaultive offenses, offenses against the family, disorderly conduct, public indecency, weapons, or organized crime. A person, in order to qualify for this type of deferred adjudication must also have never been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense except for traffic violations punishable by fine only. If a qualified person successfully completes deferred adjudication, and the court has determined they have satisfied the requirements, the court shall issue an order of non-disclosure of criminal history record at the same time they discharge and dismiss the charges against the person, if the case was discharged at least 180 days after that person was placed on deferred adjudication. If the charges against a person are dismissed before 180 days have passed since the person was placed on deferred adjudication then the court will issue the order for non-disclosure as soon as practicable. This recent change in the law makes it easier for an individual to seal their records, which in turn would make it easier for an individual to obtain a job, and enjoy other benefits associated with having a “clean” record.
If you think you may qualify for an expunction or nondisclosure, call Hazel Brown Law Firm, PLLC at (830) 629-6955.
* This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.
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