A criminal record can have a negative impact on many aspects of your life, including your relationships, housing options, and employment. You might be wondering if there is anything you can do to clear your name and move on with your life if you or a loved one in San Marcos, Texas, has a criminal record. Our friendly and professional attorneys will be hClear your name and regain control of your life with the Law Office of Case J. Darwin. Expert assistance for expunction and record sealing in San Marcos, Texas. Move forward today!appy to assist you with the application process.
Expunction and record sealing are two options available under certain circumstances. While both options involve removing or hiding criminal records from public view, some key differences exist. Record expunction and sealing can be a confusing and overwhelming process, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal system. Below, we explain what record expunction and sealing are in Texas, their benefits, the sealable or expungable crimes, and how you can expunge or seal your record.
What Is Record Expunction and Record Sealing in Texas?
In Texas, the process of permanently erasing or destroying all evidence of an arrest, charge, or conviction from your adult criminal record is known as record expunction. Not all criminal records are eligible for expunction, and some requirements must be satisfied.
Record sealing, or nondisclosure as it is known in Texas, hides and restricts the public’s access to information about some offenses but does not entirely erase it. However, licensing organizations, some governmental entities, and criminal justice organizations still have access to and can see your criminal record. The type of offense you committed and whether you were placed on deferred adjudication will determine your eligibility for nondisclosure.
Why Would You Want Your Record Expunged or Sealed?
Having your criminal record expunged or sealed can be a useful tool with many advantages. Being able to deny that the incident ever happened legally offers the following benefits:
- Improvement of employment and housing prospects.
- Ability to qualify for certain loans and credit opportunities.
- Eligibility to obtain certain professional licenses.
- Improvement of personal relationships.
- Reduction of stigma associated with having a criminal record.
- Restoration of some of your basic rights, such as voting.
What Crimes Can Be Expunged or Sealed?
Most criminal offenses in Texas can be expunged or sealed, including misdemeanor and felony convictions and arrests. Any criminal charges that end in an acquittal, no-bill, or dismissal are eligible for expunction. Certain qualifying juvenile offenses, failure to attend school, and deferred adjudication for Class C misdemeanors, which do not result in jail time, can also be expunged.
Any crime other than the following is eligible for nondisclosure:
- Murder and capital murder.
- Aggravated kidnapping.
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual.
- Abandoning or endangering a child.
- Violation of a court protective order or bond in a family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case.
- Any offense that requires sex offender registration.
- Any offense involving family violence.
What Are the Requirements for Expunction or Nondisclosure?
To be eligible for expunction or nondisclosure in Texas, you must meet certain criteria and successfully petition the court. To qualify for an expunction, you must:
- Not have been convicted of any criminal offense other than certain juvenile offenses, such as failure to attend school or certain alcohol offenses.
- Have been arrested but not charged or convicted.
- Be a victim of identity theft, and the conviction arrest, charge, or conviction is on your record because of that identity theft.
- Have your conviction acquitted or pardoned.
- Not have received deferred adjudication or probation.
- Not have been convicted of a felony within five years of the arrest.
- Not have an offense that was part of a criminal episode.
To be able to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure, your offense must be eligible for nondisclosure, and you must:
- Have been placed on deferred adjudication.
- Have satisfied all terms and conditions of your deferred adjudication.
- Not have been convicted of another offense during the required waiting period.
- Satisfy the waiting period for your crime.
What Is the Required Waiting Period?
The required waiting period will depend on the crime. To expunge an arrest that did not result in charges or a conviction, you must wait:
- 180 days for Class C misdemeanors.
- One year for Class A and B misdemeanors.
- Three years for all felonies.
To be eligible to petition the court for nondisclosure in Texas, you must first wait the required period before petitioning the court for an order of nondisclosure. For most minor misdemeanors, you can petition after successfully serving your deferred adjudication. There is a two-year waiting period from the discharge date for some misdemeanors and a five-year waiting period for felonies. You must not have any additional convictions or deferred judgments during the waiting period.
How Can Case J. Darwin Law Office Help You Get Your Record Expunged or Sealed?
In Texas, petitioning the court to expunge your record or for a record of nondisclosure is a complicated process with several steps. The petition must be properly completed and filed in the appropriate municipal, district, or county court. A hearing will be held, where a judge will review your case and determine if you are eligible for expunction or nondisclosure. If you are found eligible, your charges will be expunged or sealed.
Although it is possible to prepare and submit the required petitions on your own to have your record sealed or expunged, you are strongly advised to work with a skilled Texas lawyer, such as the staff at Case J. Darwin Law Office. Our knowledgeable and experienced defense attorneys will handle every step of the process, including confirming you are qualified and that your paperwork is handled correctly and promptly.
Contact us today at 512-738-6146 or via our secure online form to discuss expunging or sealing your criminal case. We also assist with expunging or sealing a deceased loved one’s criminal record. At Case Darwin, we specialize in helping clients in the San Marcos area facing various criminal charges, from DWIs and drug crimes to federal and internet crimes.