If you are looking to have your criminal record expunged or sealed, it is important to have an attorney that is knowledgeable and experienced in expungement and sealing criminal records. It is also important that you understand the difference between expungement (deleting criminal records) and nondisclosure (sealing criminal records), and the effect that each process can have on your arrest record.
My Innocence Defense practice, serving Travis County and Austin, Texas, is devoted to helping you clear your good name. You are innocent unless proven guilty, and if your case was dismissed, you are not a criminal. My job is to make sure you are not treated like one.
Expunction / Expungement
If you were arrested and you received a not guilty verdict, your case was dismissed, or you completed a pre-trial intervention program, you are legally innocent. In most cases, you will be eligible for expungement (or “expunction”) of your criminal record. Expunging your record means that any paper records are returned to the court and destroyed, and any digital records are deleted from law enforcement systems and private background check companies.
Expunction in Texas is governed by the Chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and several related statutes, which you can read here. (Link to statutes). It is a rather technical area of the law, so it is important to have an expunction attorney who knows both the law and the practical implications of how the entire process works in Austin and Travis County. I am a former Travis County prosecutor, and have helped hundreds of people understand not only how the law is supposed to work, but how it actually works in Austin and Travis County.
Through the expunction process, your criminal record is not only sealed, it is completely deleted. contact me today to see if you qualify.
AN ORDER OF NONDISCLOSURE is a judge’s order prohibiting law enforcement, government agencies, and private background check companies from revealing your criminal history record to the general public. Nondisclosure is available only if you have successfully completed a term of deferred adjudication probation. Unlike an expunction/expungement, the information in your criminal record still exists and is retained by the agencies, but it is sealed from the public.
How do you know if you completed deferred adjudication? There are many different legal mechanisms that are called “deferred”. Deferred disposition, deferred prosecution, pretrial diversion, pretrial intervention and deferred adjudication are all very different mechanisms with similar sounding names. The differences between them, and what those differences mean for your criminal record, are staggering. If you are unsure of what kind of disposition you received on your case, contact me. I will give you all the help you need to determine what relief you are eligible for or entitled to under the law.
There are exceptions to nondisclosure orders. State licensing and regulatory agencies, schools, hospitals, and state, county, and municipal hiring authorities, for example, still have access to the information even though it is subject to nondisclosure. Nondisclosure is not complete expunction/expungement, so make sure you understand the effects and consequences before hiring a lawyer. To discuss all the specific exceptions, and to help determine what is best for you, contact me.