Now, more than ever, the information contained in your criminal history can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects. Background searches are now standard in connection with employment, loan applications, rental agreements, and even social interactions. The internet has made it easy for even the novice user to obtain criminal history information. Moreover, even if your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, records of the arrest and charge remain a matter of public record.
In some circumstances, the law may allow you to SEAL these records from public access (Nondisclosure) or perhaps even DESTROY the records all together (expunction). Think of the freedom and peace of mind you would enjoy if you could legally deny the fact of arrest and related court proceedings. Contact our office to find out if you are eligible for an order of nondisclosure or expunction.
Order of Nondisclosure prohibits public disclosure of criminal history records. The law has been expanded to allow nondisclosure in many circumstances including most successfully completed deferred adjudications and certain misdemeanor final convictions. In 2017, the legislature authorized nondisclosure for first-time DWI offenders.
When the trial court issues an Order of Nondisclosure, an order will be sent to the Department of Public Safety, law enforcement agencies, jail or other detention facilities, magistrates, courts, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities, central state depositories of criminal records, and other officials or agencies or other entities that there is reason to believe have criminal history record information which is the subject of the order.
A person granted an order of nondisclosure may legally deny the fact of the arrest, prosecution and subsequent proceedings unless it is being used against him in a subsequent criminal prosecution.
Please be aware that even after an order of nondisclosure is issued, the information remains available to criminal justice agencies for criminal justice and regulatory licensing purposes as well as any of the 32 agencies listed in Texas Gov’t Code 411.0765 and 411.081(j).
Expunction is a process by which all records relating to an arrest and prosecution are destroyed pursuant to court order. A person placed under custodial or non-custodial arrest for a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all files and records related to the arrest expunged (destroyed) under one of the following scenarios.
When expunction is granted, the release, maintenance, dissemination, or use of expunged records for any person is prohibited. The person may deny the occurrence of arrest an expunction order. If questioned under oath, the person may state only that the matter has been expunged. The knowing release, dissemination of expunged records, or knowing failure to return or disseminate expunged records is a Class B misdemeanor.
Segura & Kiatta, Criminal Defense
345 Commerce Green Blvd
Sugar Land, Texas 77478