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If you’ve committed a crime and received a conviction, you may experience difficulty doing things most people take for granted.
Critical aspects of life such as getting a job, applying to lease an apartment, and getting into college are challenging for those who don’t possess a clean record.
In a few cases, you may be able to get your criminal record expunged by petitioning for nondisclosure or expunction. It is not always possible to expunge a criminal record, such as in the event of a felony conviction.
In this article, you’ll learn about the circumstances under which getting a criminal record expunged in Texas is possible.
What Does It Mean to Expunge a Criminal Record?
Expunging a criminal record is a legal process. It makes it impossible for public institutions to view your criminal record regarding a certain incident. If granted, expungement erases evidence of a crime from your record.
Expungement can make it easier to pass a criminal background check. That is, if you have not received a conviction for other crimes.
Expungements apply to agencies that handle official public records. These include institutions such as court systems and law enforcement agencies. When your record gets expunged, it is as if the criminal incident never happened.
This can be very helpful in situations such as applying for an apartment or a job. When asked if you have any prior convictions, you can legally answer no if the court expunged your record.
Although, if you have other criminal offenses on your record, you will still need to answer yes. You may not be able to expunge everything from your records.
In addition, agencies with high-security access may still access expunged records if the situation calls for it. This might happen in the event you apply to the military, for example.
Finally, expungement doesn’t apply to private individuals and organizations. That means a private website could still publish your mugshot or arrest information without consequence.
What Crimes Are Eligible for Expungement?
You can apply for expungement within a few weeks of the commencement of your trial. In Texas, the following circumstances are subject to expungement:
- The court dismissed your case
- A judge or jury returned not guilty verdict
- You were accused but not convicted
- Formal charges of the crime were never filed
- You appealed your case and received an acquittal
- You received a pardon from the court
Texas does not allow the expungement of the following crimes: murder, kidnapping, stalking, and sexual or domestic violence.
In Texas, the only crimes eligible to be fully expunged are Class C misdemeanors. These can only get expunged in the event you were not officially convicted.
In addition, Texas requires the completion of a deferred adjudication program or a deferred position program to get a crime completely expunged from your record.
When you enter a deferred adjudication or disposition program, you agree to a probationary period in which you do not recommit the offense of which you got accused or convicted.
Once you have completed the probation, you can apply for a full expungement or a nondisclosure order.
Nondisclosure orders are available for a broader range of circumstances, including felonies. Expunction only applies to Class C misdemeanor convictions.
What Is An Order of Nondisclosure?
An order of nondisclosure can come in handy in circumstances where getting a full expungement is impossible.
If you’ve received a conviction for a misdemeanor or felony and have not completed deferred adjudication, you may still qualify for an order of nondisclosure.
In Texas, an order of nondisclosure allows you to hide your criminal record from most organizations and individuals. For example, a non-disclosed criminal charge won’t show up on a background check for potential employment.
However, if you are applying for a job with a government agency or organization, they will still be able to see the non-disclosed criminal charge.
It is relatively easy to get an order of non-disclosure if you are a minor or your first offense. However, this doesn’t include violent crimes, kidnapping, sexual assault, or stalking.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Criminal Record Expunged?
If your case qualifies, you can usually apply for expungement immediately after your trial concludes.
If you received an acquittal, you would be able to qualify for an expedited expungement process. That should give you a clean record within a few months.
If you received a conviction for a crime, you have to wait a full 365 days before applying to expunge a criminal record. A full expungement takes 60 to 90 days.
Once you get your expungement petition approved, it can take up to 12 months to eradicate your records. Conversely, nondisclosure orders go into effect immediately.
The good news is, it is a crime to fail to destroy expunged records. So don’t waste your energy worrying about whether various agencies or companies will fail to comply with your expungement.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Record Expunged?
If you were acquitted or found not guilty, the court will waive your expungement fees. If you were convicted, it will cost $600 to apply to expunge a criminal record. You may also incur legal fees along the way.
Fortunately, you can file one expungement application for several arrests. This will save you both time and money. This only works if all of the arrests are eligible to get expunged.
How to Get a Criminal Record Expunged Summary
If you’ve been found not guilty or acquitted of a Class C misdemeanor, you can have your criminal record expunged after completing a deferred adjudication program.
If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you may be eligible to apply for an order of nondisclosure. The best strategy you can take is to hire a criminal lawyer to help you navigate these processes.
Contact Houston attorney Christopher T. Gore to schedule a consultation today so you can get your criminal record expunged and have a clean record as soon as possible.