What is the difference between an Expunction and a Non-Disclosure and am I eligible to erase or seal my criminal record in Texas?

Expunctions in Texas - Erasing your Criminal Record

What exactly is a criminal Expunction in Texas?

  • True erasing of clients criminal and arrest record for that particular crime. It's as if the crime never happened. You can legally deny you were ever arrested for the crime.
  • For each crime you wish to erase, you must file a separate Petition for Expunction
  • Individual has to be arrested and facing a criminal charge
  • Avenues for expunction
    1. Not Guilty at Trial
    2. Convicted but then pardoned
    3. Outright Dismissal by Prosecution
    4. Pretrial Diversion Program
  1. What is the Waiting period?
    • No waiting period
      1. the accused is found not guilty at trial or pardoned on the basis of actual innocence
      2. no case was filed and the prosecuting attorney certifies the arrest record and files are not needed for use in any investigation or prosecution
      3. the charge is dismissed or dropped because of a pretrial diversion, or because the charge was based on mistake, false information, or an absence of probable cause
    • No case filed
      1. 180 days for Class C misdemeanors
      2. 1 year for Class B and Class A misdemeanors
      3. 3 years for felonies
    • Case Filed
      1. Statute of Limitations must be observed before Filing
        1. 2 years for Misdemeanors
        2. 5 Years for Felonies
  2. What is the procedure for an Expunction?
    • Case is disposed of
      1. Dismissal, not guilty, pretrial diversion
    • Petition for Expunction is filed with district clerk, even for Class C’s (traffic or assault tickets)
    • Send Copy to District Attorney’s office
    • DA’s Office will verify eligibility and either agree or oppose
    • If DA’s Office agrees, they are required to draft the expunction order and forward to judge for signature
    • Upon signature by the judge, the district clerk’s office will send notice to all parties and agencies noted on the order and order them to return any and all documentation to the clerk’s office for destruction
    • Important to be over-inclusive with the parties and agencies included in the order, make sure you read the order before its submitted
    • Turnaround time in Tarrant County is 45-60 days, Dallas County is 60-90 days
    • Can be much longer if the DA’s Office opposes and a hearing will be required

Non-Disclosures in Texas - Sealing your Criminal Record

  1. What Exactly is a criminal Non-Disclosure in Texas?
    • Seals client’s record as opposed to erasing
    • Basically the same as Expunctions except—
      1. Expunctions are complete “erasing” of client’s criminal and arrest record for that particular charge only, whereas ND’s are “sealing” of the client’s record for that particular charge only
      2. The process is different in that the defense attorney must draft the order for ND
    • Deferred Adjudication allows for Non-Disclosure
    • Non-Disclosures and Deferred adjudication
      1. Deferred Adjudication
        1. Client pleads guilty
        2. no finding of guilt
        3. Instead judge “defers” finding of guilt for a pre-determined period of time
        4. Successful completion of community supervision = right to ND
  2. What is the waiting period for a Non-Disclosure
    • Misdemeanors
      1. 2 years from dismissal and discharge
    • Felony
      1. 5 years from dismissal and discharge
  3. Are there any crimes that can't be Non-Disclosed?
    • Any offense requiring registration as a sex offender
    • 3(g) offenses
      1. Murder, aggravated offenses, deadly weapon findings
      2. Injury to a Child, Elderly, or Disabled
      3. Abandoning or Endangering a Child
      4. Violations of Court Orders in Family Violence Cases
      5. Stalking
      6. Family violence case (this is the most common crime)
  4. What is the procedure for a Non-Disclosures?
    • Case is disposed of
      1. Deferred adjudication
    • Petition for Non-Disclosure is filed with district clerk, even for Class C’s
    • Send Copy to DA’s office
    • DA’s Office will verify eligibility and either agree or oppose
    • Defense attorney is responsible for drafting the order
    • Important to be over-inclusive with the parties and agencies included in the order
  5. Who can still see my record after my Non-Disclosure?
    • All Law Enforcement (state and feds)
    • Texas Medical Board
    • Texas School for Blind and Visually Impaired
    • Board of Law Examiners
    • State Bar of Texas
    • Department of Family and Protective Services
    • Texas Juvenile Justice Department
    • Texas State Board of Pubic Accountancy
    • Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
    • Health and Human Services Commission
    • Department of Aging and Disability services
    • Texas Education Agency

What is the cost to erase or seal my criminal records in Texas?

Most attorneys, including the Fort Worth criminal attorneys here at Nickols & White, PLLC, generally charge anywhere between $1000 – 2500 for an expunction or a Non-Disclosure depending on the complexity of the case and whether if a hearing will be necessary. However, this is a small price to pay to clear you record for potential employers, schools, landlords or really anyone who checks your background.

How do I found out for sure if can erase or seal my criminal record?

If you think that your case might be eligible for an Expunction or a Non-Disclosure, you need to call our Fort Worth criminal attorneys today. It only takes our attorneys about 10 minutes to look up your criminal record and tell you exactly what we can do for you. We also offer free consults, so don’t worry about paying. You only pay us when we start the process of erasing or sealing your criminal record! Contact the attorneys at Nickols & White, PLLC at 682-250-4242 for a free, private consultation.