Many persons accused of crimes that receive either dismissals, acquittals, or successfully complete deferred adjudications do not realize that, if no further action is taken, they will continue to have a record of their arrest show up on background checks. Depending on the outcome of your case, you may be eligible for either a petition for expunction or a petition for non-disclosure, or neither. The law in this area recently changed for cases filed after September 1, 2015. Make sure to consult with a lawyer that is ahead of the curve on all the changes.
An expunction is essentially an order from a civil district judge, ordering that all agencies with a record of your arrest destroy those records. The agencies are further forbidden from disclosing the information to the public. Expunctions are generally available for cases that were dismissed, no billed, acquitted, or for successfully completed Class C deferred adjudications. It may be possible to avoid a waiting period with the DA’s approval. Anyone eligible for an expunction should absolutely contact an expunction lawyer to protect their good name and their future, because a criminal record can affect your job prospects, housing options, educational opportunities, and even your credit rating.
In the alternative, if you were not able to secure an outright dismissal on your case, and you successfully completed deferred adjudication, you may be able to at least “seal” your case, so that the general public cannot view the record, and so you can deny any involvement in criminal activity on job applications. In the past, straight probation convictions and jail convictions were never eligible for relief, but the new statute affords relief under certain circumstances, even for these “final” convictions. Certain types of crimes require a 2-year waiting period before filing the petition, such as assault, deadly conduct, indecent exposure, public lewdness, terroristic threat and weapons offenses. Felony cases where deferred was completed have a five-year waiting period. Under the new statute, certain types of crimes must be sealed by the judge, while others leave it to the judge’s discretion to decide if sealing the case is in the best interest of justice.
Call a Houston expunction lawyer today for a free, detailed analysis of your options and eligibility for relief.