Expunctions and Non-Disclosure of Arrests and Criminal Records
Web article by Dewayne Huston
**For Information Purposes only.
Welcome to the Information Age, a time when a person can learn more with greater ease than ever before, a time when all answers may be just a mouse click away. Sounds great, and usually it is great, until someone else’s easy access to information disrupts your life by them discovering a past arrest or a deferred adjudication. Like it or not, people can get access to your past criminal history information by simply finding it themselves or paying a service. Potential opportunities in employment, housing, and financing could go south in a hurry when a person is forced to explain why they were arrested even if nothing ever became of the arrest. Past arrest records that did not result in a final conviction are usually capable of being destroyed through a legal process called expunction. Furthermore, the records relating to past deferred adjudications that were successfully completed are usually capable of being sealed through a process called nondisclosure. It is therefore crucial for a person to have the knowledge and ability to protect their backgrounds from prying eyes, and contacting a lawyer that is able to shield your past has never been more important.
When a person is arrested in Texas, a record is made and sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety. From there it is logged into the Texas Crime Information Center and also the National Crime Information Center. The fact that the arrest does not result in a charged offense – or a charged offense that is subsequently dismissed – does not keep that arrest from rearing its ugly head in your criminal history because of the records created. It does not have to be this way and you can do something about it. An expunction can destroy the public record related to some arrests. Expunctions are available in the following circumstances:
– Case resulted in an Acquittal (Found not guilty by a Judge or Jury);
– Never Prosecuted for the offense;
– The case was Dismissed;
– Pardoned after conviction.
Be on notice, however, that the arrest cannot be expunged if the person was convicted of the offense, another charge, or a lesser included related to the arrest. In addition, expunction will not be available if the person received deferred adjudication, but there is a possible nondisclosure available. To discover if an expunction can benefit you, call an experienced lawyer that will consult with you and learn the particulars of your situation. You can most likely do something about it and save yourself a big headache in the future.
Despite not being available for expunction, when a person receives deferred adjudication and successfully completes the probationary period, those records can often be sealed. This means that, except for certain agencies, those records will not be available to the general public.
Most misdemeanor offenses are immediately eligible for a Petition for Non-Disclosure, but some misdemeanors require a two year waiting period. The misdemeanor offenses requiring the two year waiting period are as follows:
1) Unlawful Restraint;
2) Homosexual Conduct;
3) Public Lewdness;
4) Indecent Exposure, if first offense;
5) Assault unless against a family member/household or police officer;
6) Deadly Conduct;
7) Terroristic Threat;
8) Aiding Suicide;
9) Leaving a child in a vehicle;
11) Enticing a child;
12) Harboring runaway child;
13) Violation of protective order or Magistrate’s order;
14) Violation of protective order preventing offense caused by bias or prejudice;
15) Advertising for placement of a child;
16) Interference with an emergency telephone call;
17) Disorderly conduct;
19) Obstructing highway or other passageway;
20) Disrupting meeting or procession;
21) False alarm or report;
22) Silent or abusive calls to 9-1-1 service;
23) Interference with emergency telephone call;
25) Abuse of a corpse;
26) Cruelty to animals;
27) Attack on assistance animal
28) Dog fighting;
29) Destruction of flag;
30) Discharge of firearm in certain municipalities;
31) Unlawfully carrying weapons;
32) Unlawful possession of firearm;
33) Possession of a prohibited weapon;
34) Unlawful transfer of certain weapons;
35) Hoax bombs;
36) Making a firearm accessible to a child.
In regard to felony offenses, all felonies require a five year waiting period. If the waiting periods apply to your situation, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, a person must have not been convicted of, or received deferred adjudication for anything over a class C misdemeanor. Furthermore, a person will be completely ineligible to receive a non-disclosure if the person had been previously convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any of the below listed offenses:
1) Indecency with a child;
2) Sexual Assault;
3) Aggravated Sexual assault;
4) Prohibited sexual conduct (incest);
5) Aggravated kidnapping;
6) Burglary of a habitation if the offense to be committed inside is number 1-5 above.
7) Compelling prostitution;
8) Sexual performance by a child;
9) Possession or promotion of child pornography;
10) Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping of a person younger than seventeen years of age;
11) Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses;
12) Capital murder;
14) Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual;
15) Abandoning or endangering a child;
16) Violation of a protective order or magistrate’s order;
18) Offense involving family violence.
To discover if a non-disclosure can benefit you, call an experienced lawyer that will consult with you and learn the particulars of your situation. You can most likely do something about it and save yourself a big headache in the future.