The Differences Between Expunging and Sealing Your Criminal Record

Everyone does things that they regret when they are young, but in some cases these can result in arrests, criminal charges, and a criminal record. Your criminal record may be seen by anyone who runs a background check for school, employment, housing, and other purposes. However, in certain situations you may be eligible to expunge your record or have it sealed by a non-disclosure order. It is important to understand the differences between these options, as they have different requirements and different results for your record. Clients who wish to seal or erase their criminal record come to Rick Davis & Associates for top quality legal representation in their expungement or non-disclosure case. Call or contact the office today to schedule a consultation.

Non-Disclosure Orders

The Texas Government Code provides the procedure for ordering the non-disclosure of your criminal record. A non-disclosure order prohibits the court, police, and other public entities from disclosing your criminal record to the public, and a person with a non-disclosure order does not have to report that crime on a background check. Any criminal offense subject to a non-disclosure order must be removed from private entity records, such as a background check company, but it remains in the system for certain government agencies, commissions, and licensing boards to view.

However, a non-disclosure order only applies to a single criminal offense and not to an entire criminal record. In order to qualify for a non-disclosure order, a person must have been placed on deferred adjudication for the crime and successfully completed the program. The case must have been dismissed and discharged from the court, and the offense cannot be one that is violent or sexual in nature. In order to request the non-disclosure of a criminal offense, a person must wait two years from the date of dismissal for misdemeanors and five years for felony offenses.

Expungement Orders

Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure provides for the expungement of certain criminal records. With an expunction, all records pertaining to the particular offense are destroyed by the court, and a person is not required to disclose the crime on a background check. This type of order applies to all documentation related to the arrest and court records for the case. No secret record is kept by any public or private entity, and criminal background check companies must remove all information about the charge from their records.

Expungement comes in the form of an acquittal, pardon, or actual innocence. It can also be done at the discretion of the prosecutor or because of identity theft. It is important to note that juvenile records are not eligible for expungement in Texas, and the process may be subject to a waiting period.

Call or Contact Our Office Today

If you would like to speak with a Texas criminal law lawyer about sealing or expunging your criminal record, call the office or contact us today at Rick Davis & Associates for a consultation.


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