Every crime carries with it a certain range of punishment and penalties in which the DA or prosecutor may pursue. Often times, the most devastating consequences of any crime are those which are not even imposed by the court. Getting into a good school or finding a good job can become nearly impossible with certain charges on your record. With the ease and ability of electronic searches available to absolutely anyone, its extremely easy for potential employers, admission boards, co-workers, family and friends to conduct a very thorough background search on a person in a matter of minutes.
If you have previously been charged with a criminal offense in Houston, Texas and it is preventing you from applying to certain jobs, professions or educational opportunities, you may want to seal or expunge your criminal record.
Depending on the type of offense you committed or whether you were convicted of a criminal offense, you may be eligible to either seal or expunge your criminal record. Sealing a criminal record hides the record from the public, such as potential employers or schools, but certain law enforcement agencies may still be able to access the record. An expunged criminal record is completely destroyed and is basically treated as if the offense never occurred.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is permitted to oppose any petition for expunction if all elements to the application are not satisfied or if the individual was not eligible. Therefore, it is essential to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you determine if you are eligible to expunge or seal your criminal record and to ensure sure your petition is not rejected.
Texas Criminal Record Expungement
According to section 55.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, individuals who have been charged with certain criminal offenses are eligible to expunge their criminal record. However, anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offense will not be eligible to have their criminal record expunged. In order to make their criminal record inaccessible to the public, they will have to have their record sealed or request a non-disclosure order.
Expunging a criminal record would effectively delete the criminal offense the individual is seeking an expunction for. A criminal record expunction is available for individuals who have been:
- Charged with an offense, but were later acquitted;
- Wrongfully accused of a criminal offense; or
- Charged with an offense, but the charges were later dismissed.
An individual who is eligible to have their criminal record expunged must follow certain procedural steps when filing the petition to have the record expunged, including providing the following information in their petition for expunction:
- All verifying information, such as name, sex, race, date of birth, driver’s license number, social security number, and address at the time of their arrest;
- The offense they were charged with;
- The date they were arrested;
- The county or municipality where they were arrested;
- The arresting agency;
- The case number and court were the offense took place; and
- Any law enforcement agency that may have information about the offense and any criminal records or files pertaining to the petitioner.
According to section 55.02 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the court is required to expunge an eligible individual’s criminal record if they request an expunction within 30 days of an acquittal of their criminal charges.
Sealing Your Record
Anyone who has been placed on deferred adjudication through probation or community supervision will likely be able to conceal their criminal record by sealing it or requesting an order of non-disclosure under section 411.081 of the Texas Government Code.
If an individual has been placed on deferred adjudication and they subsequently receive a discharge or a dismissal of their criminal charges, they are eligible to petition for nondisclosure and have their criminal record sealed.
After an individual has had their criminal record sealed, they do not have to disclose they were involved in any criminal proceeding on any application for employment, application for licensing or application for educational admissions.
A felony offender may be eligible to petition for a non-disclosure of their criminal record five years after completing their deferred adjudication probation or community supervision.
A misdemeanor offender may be eligible to request a non-disclosure immediately after they complete a period of deferred adjudication community supervision. In other cases, a misdemeanor offender will be required to wait a period of two years before filing a petition for non-disclosure. Offenses requiring a two year waiting period can include, but are not limited to: assault, harassment, indecent exposure, unlawful carrying of a weapon or unlawful possession of a firearm.
An individual will not be eligible to file a petition for non-disclosure if they have been charged with certain offenses that include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Indecency with a Child
- Capital Murder
- Family Violence offenses
- Violation of a Protection Order
- Aggravated Kidnapping
Effect of Expunging Your Criminal Record
The benefits of sealing or expunging a criminal record can include the record will no longer be publicly available upon sealing or expunction, potential employers will not be able to find or discover their criminal record, their criminal record will not be accessed by college or graduate school admissions departments, and agencies providing public housing, benefits or financial aid will not be able to access their criminal records.
An individual who has had their criminal arrest record or criminal history expunged will be able to deny they were ever arrested for a criminal offense on job, housing or school applications. Additionally, governmental and law enforcement agencies in Texas will most likely be unable to access the criminal record unless it is for a necessary governmental purpose.
When a criminal record is sealed, it provides less ability to deny an arrest ever occurred, but in many cases, the individual may be able to deny they were arrested on job applications or educational applications. However, government and law enforcement agencies will still be able to access the record
Take Action, You Deserve a Second Chance!
Unlike the harsh criminal justice system, I know that you deserve a second chance! Much like you, my clients are great people who are outstanding citizens. I know that you have worked hard to build a future for yourself. Don’t let a past mistake keep you from reaching the goals you have set for yourself. Call me today to discuss what options you may have towards sealing or expunging your criminal record.
Contact The Huff Law Firm now at 713-562-8700 for a free consultation to determine your rights and legal options.
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Mr. Korey Huff is an outstanding and trustworthy attorney.. He was very passionate and professional. He always kept me informed about All communications he had with outside attorneys. He only accepted an agreement that he thought was reasonable and fair… If you want a strong and dedicated attorney to represent you, then I recommend Korey Huff. Thanks Korey for all your hard work and fighting for your client! Houston Texas
Very good attorney. Was there for 2 of my cases(same offense) and both worked out in my favor. Reasonable price, very professional, all around good to work with.
Korey Huff is such a great attorney. We made several resets for my case and he managed to get my case settled with the best outcome I could have ever imagined! He is also very reasonable and tells you exactly what you can expect through this process. I highly recommend Mr. Huff and if the need arise (which I hope not!), I wouldn’t hesitate to hire him again.
If it wasn’t for Korey Huff I would be in jail!! He helped me win my case!! He is a Very Outspoken Amazing Attorney! Great Attitude and Very Polite! His services are worth every penny! I Most Definitely recommend him to represent you!
I got arrested for POM. I decided to start calling around and found Korey. Korey was willing to help me out with my payments for him and talked me through me case at every court session. He has a very caring aspect to him and he is good at what he does. He had got my case dismissed after getting a bargain with the prosecutor. I would most definitely hire Korey again. I feel like he worked a…
Got a dwi my bac came back 3 times the legal limit . Came out with 1 year probation, no community service ! . Very satisfied with his work and his price !!