Expunctions/Record Sealing/Orders Of Nondisclosure

Tarrant County Expunction Attorneys

Texas allows expunction or clearing of law enforcement records in certain situations. The outcome of an expunction proceeding is to remove all records of an event from any law enforcement court or governmental database. It also permits the person legally to deny they were ever arrested or charged with an offense. An expunction is a desirable goal that can give you a clean slate. At Ball & Hase, our lawyers have helped many clients through this process.

What is an expunction?

Law enforcement agencies maintain records and databases containing these records. These records are created upon an arrest or when charges are formally filed against a person. The agencies that usually keep these records include the police agency, the sheriff's department, the court and court clerk's office, the prosecuting agency, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Many of these records are available to the general public, and with computers and the Internet, have become easily accessible. Another word for expunction is expungement

An expunction is a lawsuit asking a District Court to enter an order that all law enforcement agencies with any records of a person's arrest (or criminal charges) erase, delete or destroy those records. It is intended to remove all records in the hands of law enforcement agencies concerning criminal charges.

Should I get an expunction?

State law defines who can and cannot get an expunction. The outcome of the original case usually determines who is eligible. For the most part you are either eligible for an expungement or you are not. Most situations are clear. Your lawyer can give you the best advice on whether you qualify based on your specific situation. Unfortunately, a court-ordered deferred adjudication probation (except for Class C misdemeanors) does not qualify for an expunction, but may qualify for an order of non-disclosure.

If you are eligible for an expunction, our lawyers strongly encourage you to obtain one. There many reasons to clear your record:

  • More and more, prospective employers are doing background checks of job candidates
  • Apartment complexes are rejecting some tenant applications based on these records.
  • Some criminal records can effect professional licensing.
  • Non citizens may face adverse immigration consequences.
  • Police officers with computer terminals in their vehicles can view your prior record if you are pulled over in a traffic stop.
  • The laws that allow expungement or expunction could change in the future. In other words, do not lose an opportunity to clear your record now.

How does the expunction process work?

After our lawyers determine whether a client is eligible, we prepare a legal document called a Petition that must be signed by the client. This document is then filed with the District Court, initiating the expunction lawsuit. Following the filing of the Petition, every governmental agency with any of the records is served with the lawsuit. A hearing is scheduled in the District Court.

The time factors are an important consideration if you are considering any delay in initiating the expunction process. If you have a personal life event, such as a job change, it may not be possible to get all of the records removed in time for a background check. Accordingly, our lawyers recommend proceeding as soon as it is determined that you are eligible.

If an expungement or expunction is granted, you are then legally permitted to deny that the arrest or charges ever occurred on job applications or for most other purposes. An expunction or expungement order makes it a criminal offense for a law enforcement agency to disclose any record they have notice has been expunged.

Petition for Nondisclosure and Record Sealing

Many people who have received deferred adjudication of a criminal charge can file a petition for Nondisclosure. Nondisclosure keeps the arrest information from being disclosed to the general public. In a juvenile case, your lawyer can petition that records be sealed in certain cases.

Free consultation: If you have been charged with a crime in Texas, contact a board-certified criminal defense attorney at Ball & Hase in Arlington. In an emergency, call 817-412-7449. We answer calls 24 hours a day.