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Clearing Criminal Records

Expunction and Nondisclosure
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Expunctions and NonDisclosures

Have your criminal history removed by court order:

You may be eligible for a court-ordered expunction to clear your criminal record if:

  1. You were arrested but never prosecuted and the statute of limitations has run;
  2. You were arrested, prosecuted, and acquitted;
  3. You were arrested, prosecuted and the case was dismissed for other reasons; and
  4. You were arrested, prosecuted and then convicted of a lesser charge.

How to expunge your record:

Texas law allows a person to file a petition with the court in the county in which the criminal action was filed. This petitioner requests an order that all records from all related law-enforcement agencies or court entities remove all information from your record related to the arrest or charge in question. This request requires at least 30 days notice to the prosecuting attorney and other related entities before a hearing on the matter. At the hearing, if there is no objection from law enforcement, and if the court finds you meet all of the requirements to be eligible for expunction, the order will be issued accordingly.

Hazel Brown Law Firm, PLLC are experienced professionals and can help you clear that negative history efficiently and effectively.

You may be eligible to have your criminal record sealed:

This is done through an Order of Nondisclosure. You may be eligible to obtain an Order of Nondisclosure if you have successfully completed a term of deferred adjudication probation for an offense. The process for obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure is very similar to that of an expunction.

Let our experienced attorneys get rid of that mistake in your past for good.

Contact us for more information or to set up a consultation at (830) 629-6955 or via email through our home page. We will return your call or email within one business day.

Articles Section:

For many, minor criminal mistakes from the past will follow them around their entire lives like an embarrassing blemish. Every time a job application asks about a criminal record, many people reluctantly must expose a shameful moment from the past. Often, a person’s regrettable past, can cling to them like a dark shadow. However, what if that person’s past didn’t have to?

Recent changes in Texas Law have opened up new categories for nondisclosures. Obtaining an order for nondisclosure enables a sealing of one’s criminal record. For the hopeful employee, a sealing of their record, allows them to honestly answer that they do not have a criminal record. This incredible benefit has been expanded by recently enacted Texas Law.

Although expanded, the following list is some of the offenses that would not qualify under the new nondisclosure laws:

  • Offenses requiring registration as a sex offender
  • Family violence offenses
  • 2nd or 3rd DWI offenses
  • DWI involving an accident
  • DWI with a BAC of .15 or higher
  • Endangering a child
  • Human trafficking
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Sexual Assault

If a person was found guilty and placed on community supervision for certain misdemeanors, they may qualify for an order of nondisclosure. The person must be in compliance with section 411.074 of the Texas Government Code, and couldn’t have been convicted or placed on deferred-adjudication probation for another offense during the waiting period. The waiting period can vary, but is typically two years for most misdemeanors and five years for felonies.

Another person that may qualify for a nondisclosure disorder is one who was convicted of a misdemeanor, but not placed on probation. After this individual completes their sentence, which includes confinement, they too may qualify for an order of nondisclosure. If two years have passed since this person completed their sentence, they may qualify to have their record sealed if the offense was not violent or sexual in nature. Also, this person would only qualify if they had not been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense other than a traffic violation within that two year window.

Perhaps the biggest change however comes from Texas’ treatment of first-time DWI offenses. In the past, going to trial on a DWI was almost guaranteed, because the worst-case scenario was that you would end up with a DWI conviction on your record anyway. The recent changes to Texas Law however, have opened up the possibility of obtaining a non-disclosure. A person who is arrested for their first DWI and completes community supervision may qualify. That person must not have been involved in an accident during the incident, must have never previously been placed on deferred adjudication probation, been convicted, or had a BAC above a .15. Lastly, they must satisfy the waiting period statutorily required. A two year period is required if an ignition interlock is a part of the probation terms for at least six months. A five year period is required if an ignition interlock is not a part of the probation terms for six months.

Texas Law has made obtaining an order for nondisclosure more available to the public. The extended reach of the laws should enable more persons to successfully have their records sealed. The changes that became effective September of 2017 have a retroactive effect which means, that it is a law which effects not only present and future law, but reaches backwards in time as well. Practically, this makes the changes to Texas law effective and applicable before, during, and after 2018. With the new changes in place, much more people are eligible to have their records sealed. The benefits of which are a clear conscious, peace of mind, the loss of a negative label, the abandonment of a bad stigma, and the added bonus of being more hirable.

If you are interested in learning more about nondisclosures and to see if you qualify, please call (830) 629-6955. We look forward to hearing from you, and would like the chance to meet with you today!

*This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide personal legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship for any purpose. For an analysis of your personal case facts, call our firm to set up a consultation.*

In the past, getting a DWI not only meant facing legal punishment, but having a DWI on your record followed those seeking gainful employment like a sticky dark cloud. Therefore, barring some sort of reduced charges and an offer of deferred adjudication, going to trial was almost guaranteed because the worst that could happen is one would end up with a DWI conviction on their record anyway. However, when H.B. 3016, signed by Governor Greg Abbott, went into effect in September of 2017, it marked a significant shift in hope for those facing their first DWI charge.

So, what is H.B. 3016? First, it is more commonly known as the “second chance” bill. Good people make mistakes, and no one is perfect. This bill will apply to those that learned from their mistakes. More specifically, this bill applies to a person that has been convicted of a first-time DWI with a BAC of less than .15 (nearly double the legal limit) are able to ask the court for a non-disclosure or sealing of the criminal record. Additionally, the “second chance” bill has a retroactive reach, meaning that it applies to offense both in the past and the future. This is big news for anyone with a first-time DWI, other certain misdemeanors, certain nonviolent offenses, or other low-level offenses. This would seal your criminal history off from nearly any potential employer.

In order for someone to be successful in their petition, they would need to meet the following criteria: (1) The petitioner must not have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense besides fine only traffic tickets; (2) Complete all requirements of the court; (3) have anything related to the matter paid for (court costs, fines, and restitution) and; (4) the waiting period has passed.

It is important to note that this “second chance” does not apply to second or third time offenders. It also doesn’t apply to first time offenders who injured others while being intoxicated. What this bill does do, however, is enables low-level nonviolent offenders and those who have received their first DWI to obtain employment and become a functioning, productive member of society.

If you think you may qualify for sealing your DWI history, contact us for a consultation. (830) 629-6955.

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