Background checks are increasingly prevalent in today's society. They are often a regular step in the process for obtaining employment, applying for educational opportunities, securing loans or mortgages, and even seeking housing.
Most court records are generally public information. Even if you were never convicted of a crime, the records pertaining to the arrest and criminal charges will still show up on background checks, constituting marks against you.
Given the centrality of background checks — and the ease with which the public can access court records — expunging or sealing those records can open the doors to numerous life opportunities.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement refers to the permanent destruction of court records. Once a record is expunged, neither the public nor the courts, police or prosecutors can access the record, as it no longer exists. Through expungement, you essentially gain a clean slate.
Only certain records are eligible for expungement. In general, you must not have been convicted of the crime. You must have obtained an acquittal or dismissal of the charges. Determining whether the records qualify for expungement requires a detailed, case-specific analysis, something best undertaken by a legal professional.
What Is An Order Of Nondisclosure Of Prior Crimes?
In Texas, criminal records can be sealed through orders of nondisclosure. Sealing is different from expungement. If an order of nondisclosure is granted, the general public will not have access to the arrest record and related court records. They will not appear on most background checks. However, the courts, police and prosecutors will still have access to the records.
In general, your records may be eligible for an order of nondisclosure only if you received deferred adjudication probation. Once you have successfully completed the probation period, you may have to wait a certain number of years to petition for an order of nondisclosure, depending on the type of offense involved.
The Benefits Of Expungement And Nondisclosure
Although applying for expungement or nondisclosure can be a complicated process, it is well worth the effort. If successful, you will not have to disclose the offense on employment or housing applications. You will have a clean criminal record.
Contact Us For Professional Legal Guidance
At The Reed Law Firm, PLLC, in Houston, Texas, expungement attorney Eric Reed offers experienced legal guidance for those seeking expungements and orders of nondisclosure. As a local lawyer with nearly 20 years of experience, he is intimately familiar with the legal standards and court procedures for pursuing a clean record.
To learn more, contact us online or call 713-600-1800. Servicios en español disponibles.