In some cases, after disposing of a criminal charge without receiving a conviction, you may be eligible to have your criminal record either expunged or your record sealed.
If you are unsure of what is on your criminal record, you can request your public record from the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
If your case was dismissed by a pre-trial diversion program, conditional dismissal, or an acquittal, you are eligible for an expungement.
When you receive an expunction, all records of the case, including the arrest, are destroyed. In essence, it is like the charge never happened.
You may file a petition for expunction 2 years from the date you were arrested. In some cases you may immediately file to have your record expunged, such as in cases of an acquittal.
If you have had a case dismissed without being placed on deferred adjudication probation, do not let the charge sit on your criminal history report. Not cleaning up your record could keep you from many opportunities including but not limited to certain job opportunities and being able to rent apartments or homes. Clean up your record as soon as you are eligible to do so.
If you have been placed on deferred adjudication, and you successful complete your probation, you are eligible for a non-disclosure, or what is commonly referred to as sealing a record.
When your record is sealed, you are not required to reveal on any application for employment, information, or licensing the charge for which you were granted a non-disclosure.
A non-disclosure does not completely remove a criminal charge from your record. Instead, it limits who can see your criminal record. Your criminal history is effectively sealed from the public with a non-disclosure. However, certain entities can access your criminal history if they are affiliated with the government, federal, state or locally, and/or who serve an important public function such as school districts and professional state boards.
Depending on the criminal charge, you can file a petition for non-disclosure immediately after being discharged from deferred adjudication probation. Otherwise, you must wait two years after the case is dismissed and you are discharged from deferred adjudication probation.
If you are looking to clean up your record with an expunction or non-disclosure, contact our office for more information on how we can help you get your record cleared.