Expunctions and Nondisclosures in Dallas
Legal Help with Criminal Record Clearing or Sealing
Having an arrest, charge, or conviction on your record can adversely impact your life. The information is public and accessible by anyone. That means a neighbor, coworker, employer, landlord, or other individuals can see that you have had a brush with the law. A certain stigma is attached to involvement in a criminal offense, regardless of whether you were convicted. With a mark on your criminal record, you can face challenges when pursuing certain opportunities. Fortunately, Texas provides a couple of legal vehicles – expunction and order of nondisclosure – allowing for relief from the obstacles arising from an arrest, charge, or conviction.
Going through the process of clearing or sealing your criminal record can be complicated. Still, you don’t have to navigate the complexities yourself. At Deandra Grant Law, our attorneys in Dallas can help you petition for an expunction or nondisclosure. We will review your situation, inform you of your options, and prepare and submit the necessary documents.
To learn more about expunctions and orders of nondisclosures in Texas, please get in touch with our Dallas lawyers at (214) 225-7117. You can also fill out our form to help determine your eligibility.
What Is an Expunction in Texas?
An expunction is an order a court issues stating that your criminal record can be cleared. When an expungement is granted, the court cannot give out any information concerning your arrest or conviction (under certain circumstances). Additionally, any agency with details about your involvement in criminal proceedings must destroy their records or send them to the court.
To seek an expunction, you must first prepare and submit a petition to the appropriate court. The documents need to be complete and accurate. If you submit an incomplete form or provide incorrect information, your case may be delayed or denied.
After the court receives your petition, it will schedule you for a hearing. The proceeding allows individuals with interest in the case to contest your request. However, the court should grant the expunction, provided that you meet the qualifying criteria.
Having your criminal record cleared can provide the relief you need from hurdles you’re facing because of your involvement with the justice system. We understand how important this is for you. That is why our expunction attorneys in Dallas will guide you through every step, ensuring that your petition is filled out correctly and sent to the right place.
Who’s Eligible for Expunction in Texas?
An expunction is available only in limited situations. For the most part, it applies if you were arrested for a crime. Generally, convictions cannot be expunged, except in certain circumstance. Even if your arrest records have been expunged before, you may still be eligible for an expunction.
Qualifying criteria for an expunction in Texas include the following:
- The individual was tried and acquitted. Upon the acquittal, the court will notify the person that they are entitled to seek an expungement.
- The individual was convicted but later pardoned or relieved because of actual innocence.
- The individual was convicted of unlawful carry of weapons after September 1, 2021.
The individual was arrested, but charges were never filed.
The person cannot file for expungement until after the following waiting periods:
- 180 days for an arrest for a Class C misdemeanor.
- 1 year for an arrest for a Class B or A misdemeanor.
- 3 years for a felony.
- The individual was released, not convicted, and not placed on community supervision, and the case is no longer pending.
- The individual was arrested because of a clerical error.
- The individual has an arrest record because of identity theft.
In some circumstances, arrest information cannot be removed from a criminal record.
These situations include the following:
- The individual was arrested on a warrant for violating the conditions of community supervision.
- The individual fled after being released from police custody.
- The individual was arrested and their case was dismissed, but the statute of limitations has not passed.
Because of the complexities of Texas’s expunction laws, it can be difficult to determine whether your case meets the requirements for relief. At Deandra Grant Law, we’ll carefully review your case and let you know if you qualify. Our team will also discuss your options if expunction is not available for you.
What Is an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?
An order of nondisclosure is like an expunction. It provides relief from the limitations arising from involvement in a criminal matter. However, it does not completely clear your record. Instead, it seals it.
A distinction exists between record clearing and record sealing. With record clearing (through an expunction), the information concerning your case is removed and destroyed. With record sealing (through nondisclosure), the details concerning your case are still maintained. However, neither the court nor criminal justice agencies with access to your files can provide that information to the public. Your record can only be released to certain entities under limited circumstances.
Requesting an order of nondisclosure begins with preparing and filing a petition. You must demonstrate in your petition that you are eligible to pursue this avenue for relief. You must also ensure that you submit the documents to the correct court.
After you submit your petition, the court will:
- Notify the District Attorney’s Office of your request,
- Schedule you for a hearing, and
- Determine whether sealing your record is in the best interest of justice.
Our nondisclosure lawyers in Dallas are here to prepare your file and demonstrate that you are entitled to file a petition.
Who Qualifies for Nondisclosure?
Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code lists the criteria for seeking an order of nondisclosure in various circumstances. We’ll discuss the specific requirements for each a bit later. But generally, to qualify for nondisclosure, you must not have been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision during the sentence or waiting period for the offense you are requesting to have sealed. In other words, you must have been crime-free (except for traffic violations) after a decision was made in the case you are seeking nondisclosure for.
You may not qualify for an order of nondisclosure if you are requesting relief from or have been previously convicted or placed on community supervision for:
- An offense requiring registration as a sex offender;
- Aggravated kidnapping;
- Capital murder;
- Trafficking of persons;
- Continuous trafficking of persons;
- Injury to a child, elderly person, or disabled individual;
- Abandoning or endangering a child;
- Violating a condition of bond set in a family violence, sexual assault, indecent assault, stalking, or trafficking case;
- Stalking; or
- A family violence offense.
What Offenses Are Eligible for Nondisclosure in Texas?
The records for certain misdemeanors or felonies resulting in convictions or deferred adjudication community supervision may be eligible for nondisclosure.
Below we discuss the criteria and processes for different situations.
Nonviolent Misdemeanors Resulting in Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision (Texas Government Code § 411.072)
Relief is available to first-time offenders whose judgment was deferred and were placed on community supervision at a certain time.
Typically, though the court will not automatically issue an order of nondisclosure without a request from an eligible person, the nondisclosure process is more streamlined if the individual meets the general criteria for nondisclosure and the judge discharges and dismisses the case.
Automatic nondisclosure for nonviolent misdemeanors resulting in community supervision is not available if the offense were:
- DWI or BWI,
- A sexual offense,
- An assaultive offense,
- An offense against the family,
- Disorderly conduct,
- Public indecency,
- A weapons crime, or
- Organized crime.
Certain Misdemeanors and Felonies Resulting in Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision (Texas Government Code § 411.0725)
An individual may petition for an order of nondisclosure if placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for certain misdemeanors or felonies. However, they are not eligible for relief if the offense were DWI or BWI.
The individual can file a petition:
- After their case was discharged and dismissed (for certain misdemeanors only).
2 years after the discharge and dismissal of their case
if it involved any of the following misdemeanors:
- Sexual offense
- Offense against the family
- Disorderly conduct
- Public indecency
- 5 years after their case was dismissed if it were a felony
Certain DWI or BWI Misdemeanors Resulting in Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision (Texas Government Code § 411.0726)
Individuals convicted of a first-time misdemeanor DWI or BWI may petition for an order of nondisclosure 2 years after the court has dismissed and discharged their case.
If the District Attorney’s Office provides evidence that the person caused an accident involving someone else (including a passenger in the person’s own car), the court may not grant the request for relief.
Completion of a Veterans Court Treatment Program (Texas Government Code § 411.0727)
Relief may be available for veterans convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for felonies or misdemeanors and ordered to attend a treatment program. They can petition for nondisclosure 2 years after completing the program. However, they are not eligible if the information they are requesting to have sealed is related to a DWI offense.
Certain Misdemeanors Resulting in Community Supervision Upon a Conviction (Texas Government Code § 411.073)
If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor and ordered to confinement as a condition of community supervision, they could petition for an order of nondisclosure. However, operating while intoxicated offenses are not eligible under this statute.
To qualify for relief, the individual must:
- Have completed the community supervision period, including the term of confinement;
- Have satisfied all fines, court costs, and victim restitution; and
- Not have been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for any offense.
The individual can submit a petition after:
- Completing their term of community supervision; or
- 2 years after completing their term of community supervision if they were convicted of kidnapping, a sexual offense, assault, an offense against the family, disorderly conduct, public indecency, or a weapons crime.
Certain DWI Convictions Resulting in Community Supervision (Texas Government Code § 411.0731)
A person may petition for an order of nondisclosure for a DWI conviction if the offense were a misdemeanor and did not involve a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more. To be eligible under the statute, the individual must have been ordered to serve a term of confinement as a condition of community supervision.
The individual can apply for relief after completing their sentence and paying all costs and fees:
- 2 years after finishing the community supervision term, if they were ordered to and complied with the condition to have an ignition interlock device installed (IID) on their vehicle.
- 5 years after finishing the community supervision term if they did not have an IID restriction.
The court may not grant the request if the District Attorney’s Office shows that the DWI offense led to an accident involving another person (including a passenger in the petitioner’s own vehicle).
Certain Misdemeanor Convictions (Texas Government Code § 411.0735)
Convictions for misdemeanors other than alcohol-related offenses may be eligible for an order of nondisclosure. The individual must have completed their sentence, including satisfying periods of confinement, fines, costs, and restitution.
The individual does not qualify if:
- They were previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for any other offense; or
- The information they are seeking to have sealed was for a sexual or violent crime.
The person may file a petition:
- Immediately after completing the sentence for a Class C misdemeanor, or
- 2 years after completing their sentence for a Class B or A misdemeanor.
Certain DWI Convictions (Texas Government Code § 411.0736)
A nondisclosure may be granted for misdemeanor DWI convictions not involving a BAC of 0.15 or more. The individual must be a first-time offender and complete their sentence, including terms of confinement, fines, costs, and restitution. They might not be eligible if their offense resulted in an accident involving another person (including a passenger in their own vehicle).
The individual may apply for an order of nondisclosure:
- 3 years after completing their sentence, if they were ordered to have an IID installed on their vehicle, or
- 5 years after completing their sentence if they were not subject to an IID restriction.
Contact Deandra Grant Law Today
Texas’s laws concerning expunctions and nondisclosures are complex. Our Dallas lawyers can clearly explain the ins and outs of the processes and take care of the details for you. We believe people deserve second chances. We’re here to assist in seeking yours.
Schedule a consultation with a member of our team by contacting usat (214) 225-7117. Use this form to determine whether you qualify for an expunction or order of nondisclosure.
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