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The Difference Between Non-Disclosure and Expungement of a Record

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

Is your record holding you back from living a sustainable life?

Everyone makes mistakes, but some are far graver than others. While you may have become a better person since your arrest, your criminal record can cripple your chances of living a normal life. 60% of former convicts have difficulty finding a job.

Even those who were able to find work struggled with job security. Fortunately, there are two things you can do to give yourself a clean slate. In Texas, you can request non-disclosure or expungement of a record.

Both can help you get your life back on track but have different processes and eligibility requirements. To find out which is best for you, it helps to understand them in depth. Read on to learn the difference between non-disclosure and expungement of a record.

What is Non-Disclosure?

A non-disclosure order seals your criminal record from most public entities. This means legal entities and law enforcement cannot share information about the sealed offense. However, some agencies will still have access to your criminal charges.

The record still exists – it is not deleted or destroyed. Some government entities, justice, and licensing agencies will still be able to view your criminal records. This can prevent you from applying to particular jobs, like government positions.

Aside from job applications, you don’t have to disclose sealed information on loan or school applications. This can also help with credit cards.

Who is Eligible for a Non-Disclosure Order?

Ex-convicts who have pled no contest or are guilty of an offense can petition for non-disclosure. If you’ve completed your probation, your records are eligible for sealing. However, it’s crucial to remember that a non-disclosure order applies to only one offense.

If you don’t opt for multiple orders for other offenses, they will still appear on your record. You can have your records sealed if:

  • The court placed you on deferred adjudication, and you have completed it
  • You weren’t convicted during your deferred adjudication or before you filed for a non-disclosure order, and
  • If you waited the appropriate amount of time before applying for non-disclosure

In Texas, you must wait a certain period before petitioning for a non-disclosure order. If you committed a felony, you must wait five years. If you committed any of the following acts, the waiting time is two years:

Misdemeanors, like driving while intoxicated or petty theft, have no waiting time. Certain criminal offenses can also disqualify you from seeking a non-disclosure order. These are the following:

  • Murder or capital murder
  • Any offense that would require you to register as a sex offender
  • Child endangerment or abandonment
  • Injuring a child, disabled or elderly person
  • Family violence
  • Violating a bond condition of family violence
  • Violating a protective order
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Human trafficking
  • Stalking

If you have not committed any of the acts listed above, talk to a lawyer to know more about your options.

What About DWI Cases?

Texas released new laws that make DWI cases a little more complex. DWIs classify as misdemeanors. If it is your first time, you may be eligible for an automatic non-disclosure.

You must also meet the following conditions:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration was less than 0.15
  • You were not placed on deferred adjudication or convicted of another crime
  • You must not have any prior criminal history
  • You paid all the fines
  • You have completed community supervision and served any jail time

You are not eligible for non-disclosure if your DWI case resulted in the injury or death of another person. Talking to an accident attorney might be the best course of action if you’re looking for other options.

What is the Expungement of a Record?

Expungement of a record, also known as expunction, gives you a clean slate. While expunctions are rare, the hassle can be worth it if you are eligible.

Studies show that 4-6% of incarcerated individuals in the US are innocent. The expunction of a record was designed to help these individuals.

If your expunction is successful, the concerned charges will no longer appear on your record. Overall, this is the best way to deal with the consequences of a conviction.

Who Qualifies for Expunction?

You can still qualify for expunction if you were found guilty. This only applies if:

  • The court dismissed the charges
  • Court officials did not present charges
  • You did not get charged within the statutory period
  • The charge did not result in a conviction, and the case is not pending
  • Arrested but not charged

Expungement of a record also favors minors who committed specific alcohol or misdemeanor offenses. However, this does not immediately mean you will get an expunction. You may not be eligible for an expungement of record if:

  • The court placed you on probation or deferred adjudication
  • You have committed a felony within five years of the record you want to be expunged
  • The statute of limitations for a felony charge has not yet expired

There is also a waiting period before you can seek an expunction. If you committed a class C misdemeanor, you may file for expunction after 180 days of the arrest. The waiting time for Class A and B misdemeanors is one year; and three years for felonies.

What Happens After a Non-Disclosure or Expungement of a Record?

After a successful non-disclosure or expunction, you may reintegrate yourself into society. With an expunction, you can deny arrests as though they had never happened. If you get arrested again, the expunged criminal record cannot be used against you.

With non-disclosure, law enforcement can still access your criminal record. However, it will not be available to landlords and most employers.

Defense Law in Texas: Hire an Attorney Today

Records of an arrest, even if you were not convicted, can prevent you from finding a job or a home. Don’t let your past mistakes prevent you from living a normal life.

Of course, it’s best to have an expert by your side. With 20 years of experience, Andrea M. Kolski can review your case and find the best possible outcome. Contact her firm today to learn more about applying for a non-disclosure or expungement of a record.

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8505 Technology Forest Pl #104

The Woodlands, TX 77381

Phone: 832-381-3430

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