Criminal Record Sealing
Don’t let your past hold you back. A criminal record can do just that. If you have charges on your record from cases that are closed, you may be eligible to have them sealed or expunged.
Depending on the circumstances and disposition of your offense, you may be eligible for either an expunction or a nondisclosure.
What is the Difference Between Expunction and Nondisclosure?
An expunction deletes everything. An order of expunction literally wipes the record clean. After a successful expunction, you can say legally and with confidence, that the incident you had expunged never happened.
A nondisclosure is the next best thing. A nondisclosure is an order to seal your record. While your record is sealed and not accessible to the private sector, the Government can still access it.
It is important to note that you cannot choose between the two. You either qualify for one or the other (or neither).
Who Qualifies for an Expunction?
You qualify for an expunction if your case was dismissed or pardoned. You also qualify if you won an acquittal at trial.
Who Qualifies for a Nondisclosure?
You may be eligible to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure if you received deferred adjudication and in some a cases a final conviction.
However, the following is a list of offenses that are not eligible for non-disclosure:
- Family violence offenses
- Sex offenses
- Child abuse
- Abandoning or endangering a child
- Abuse of an elderly or disabled person
- Violation of a protective order
How Long do I Have to Wait to Seal My Record?
Eligibility is not automatic. There are certain waiting periods in each case that must be completed before you can file a petition for nondisclosure order:
- Misdemeanor Offenses – If you’ve completed a deferred adjudication probation for certain misdemeanors, the waiting period is 2 years from the date your case is dismissed
- All Other Misdemeanor Offenses – You may file immediately upon completion of your probation and dismissal of your case, with no waiting period, for any misdemeanor not listed above
- Felony Offenses – For most felony offenses, you must wait 5 years from the date of discharge from probation and the dismissal of the case to apply for nondisclosure of your record
Delete Your DWI
If you have a DWI conviction on your record you may now be eligible to seal it. The law in Texas changed on September 1, 2017, and it is retroactive. Therefore, anyone that meets the qualifying factors may now petition for nondisclosure on their DWI.
To learn more about sealing your DWI arrest, go here.