Expunction, Non-Disclosure & Sealing of Juvenile Criminal Records in Texas
Under the United States Constitution and in Texas, all persons accused of a crime are deemed innocent until they are proven guilty. This means that a jury or judge reviewing your case is supposed to start at a point of believing the police accusing you are wrong. From this point of view, I do not believe you should have to continue explaining yourself to future employers, landlords, or anyone else with access to public arrest records, in fact, I want to protect your privacy. Many people mistakenly believe that just because they received a dismissal all records go away, but that is simply not true. Records of the arrest and accusation remain in the public realm FOREVER unless you take steps to have those records and references to what was probably the worst day of your life destroyed.
In fact, even if your criminal case was resolved through a deferred adjudication probation that you successfully completed, it was not just dismissed, despite that being the term used in Texas Law.
Properly written Orders of Expunction and Orders of Non-Disclosure give you the right to deny you were ever arrested because they may contain language that orders you not to disclose it.
EXPUNCTION is the process where all information regarding your arrest and prosecution is destoryed and forever removed from your record. This includes paper records that were generated by the arresting law enforcement agencies, records maintained in the clerk's office of the county where the prosecution happened, and records maintained by the countless background search departments that exist to pry into all our lives and provide that information to anyone willing to pay for it. But, an expunction is usually only an option in Texas when the case was taken before a jury or judge and the person was found NOT GUILTY at trial or if the case was dismissed through some other mechanism like the following (not an exclusive list):
- Motion to Dismiss
- Deferred Disposition
- Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI)
- Pre-Trial Diversion (PTD)
- Deferred Prosecution
Your eligibility for an expunction in Texas depends upon a number of factors, including how the case was resolved, when it was finalized, whether the statute of limitations has passed to prevent the re-filing of charges, and subsequent arrests and other criminal history.
ORDERS OF NON-DISCLOSURE differ dramatically from Expunctions because they prohibit law enforcment and other governmatent agencies from sharing their records with public background companies and anyone specifically inquiring into your history, but there are many exceptions to this general rule. To be eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure, a person must have completed a Deferred Adjudication probation. Any other resolution and you are looking for an expunction.
Examples of the exceptions to who may see records even if you have an Order of Non-Disclosure:
- State licensing and regulatory agencies;
- Public universities (University of Texas, etc), hospitals, and state, county, and municipal hiring authorities (City of Austin, Travis County EMS, etc); and
- Many other exceptions.
The best option if you want to know whether you are eligible for an Expunction, Order of Non-Disclosure, or having a juvenile record sealed then please contact Dax Garvin to discuss the matter further. Talking to our office is free and you will incur no obligation. However, please understand that it may take several weeks to proceed if you do not bring copies of all records regarding the case to the meeting. And, the older a case is, the longer it may take for a clerk to locate the records and send to our office.
The average time for completing an expunction from the date of our first meeting with you is 45 days.