What’s the difference between expunction, record sealing, and nondisclosure?
Expunction is the process of clearing a person’s criminal record so that they no longer have to say that they were ever arrested or convicted of the crime in question unless asked under oath. This can allow people who were wrongly accused or are no longer found guilty to apply for jobs, loans, and background checks without disclosing the expunction.
Record sealing is a result of a nondisclosure order and ensures that the records of the conviction are sealed to the public. The only ones able to access it are the defendant, criminal justice agencies, and certain employment entities.
Who has access to sealed records?
- State Board for Educator Certification
- The Texas Medical Board
- The Texas Board for the Blind and the Visually Impaired
- The Board of Law Examiners
- The State Bar of Texas
- The Texas School for the Deaf
- The Department of Family and Protective Services
- The Texas Juvenile Justice Department
- The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
- The Department of State Health Services
- The Texas Private Security Board
- Fire departments
- Safe houses that provide shelter and services to children
- The commissioners of securities, banking, savings and mortgage lendings, consumer credit, and the credit union
- The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
- The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
- The Health and Human Services Commission
- The Department of Aging and Disability Services
- The Texas Education Agency
- The Judicial Branch Certification Commission
- A country clerk’s office in relation to appointing a guardian
- The Department of Information Resources for an applicant who would provide network security services to either the Department of Information Resources or a contractor of said department
- The Texas Department of Insurance
- The Teacher Retirement System of Texas
- The Texas State Board of Pharmacy
- The Texas Civil Commitment Office
- Employers that handle hazardous, explosive, combustible, or flammable materials
How do I get my record expunged?
To qualify for expunction your case must meet certain requirements. Cases that fit these requirements are:
- Defendants who were acquitted during the trial
- Defendants who were convicted then pardoned or found innocent
- The case was dismissed and the statute of limitations expired
- The defendant was never charged and they waited for the period of time required:
- Class C Misdemeanor: 180 days after arrest
- Class A or B Misdemeanor: one year from arrest
- Felony: three years from arrest
How do I get my record sealed?
Many cases that don’t qualify for expunction still qualify for a nondisclosure order. In fact, most misdemeanors are eligible for sealing. If the penalty consisted solely of a fine, there is no waiting period, but all other misdemeanors must wait two years after the completion of the sentence to apply for a nondisclosure order.
Are there any crimes that cannot be sealed?
Yes. Certain crimes are always ineligible for sealing in the state of Texas. These crimes include:
- Crimes that require registering as a sex offender
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Human trafficking
- Child endangerment
- Child Abandonment
- Family violence offenses
Can I file for a deceased loved one’s expunction?
Spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings and adult children of the defendant are all able to file for their expunction in the event of the defendant’s death. The defendant’s case must meet the qualifications of a living person’s case to file for expunction, but it is possible.
For a more in-depth conversation on whether your case qualifies for expunction or sealing, contact Case J. Darwin for a consultation.