WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EXPUNCTION AND NON-DISCLOSURE?
Houston Expungement Lawyer: Getting arrested and charged with a crime can have long-term negative consequences that most people do not expect. If you were wrongly accused and the case was ultimately dismissed or you were found Not Guilty at trial, the effects of the accusation alone can still haunt you in many aspects of your life—like finding a better paying job or a new place to live. If you have made mistakes that led to being convicted of a crime or taking a plea deal for deferred adjudication, there is a good chance that you have met roadblocks while struggled to keep moving forward in light of those poor decisions. Do you want to clean up your criminal record to start down a more productive path in your life? In Texas, many criminal defendants can get a second chance to do just that depending on what happened with the case. Under Texas state law, the two main procedures that could result in clearing your record are through an expunction
WHAT IS AN EXPUNCTION?
An expunction in Texas is a court order that requires law enforcement to destroy records related
an arrest. The judge’s order effectively permanently erases all documents and details regarding
the offense from criminal record databases. Once an expunction order is signed you can legally
deny that you were ever arrested, charged, and prosecuted for the offense. After receiving
notice that criminal records are the subject of an expunction, anyone in law enforcement who
discloses information about the case can be charged with a crime and sued in civil court.
However, some offenses do not qualify for expunction.
WHAT IS A NON-DISCLOSURE?
In situations where you are ineligible to apply for an expunction, you may consider seeking an
order of nondisclosure to seal the record instead. A nondisclosure is a court order that requires
law enforcement to conceal certain criminal offenses so they cannot be disclosed to the public.
After receiving an order of non-disclosure, you can legally deny that you were ever arrested,
charged, prosecuted, convicted or placed on deferred adjudication/probation any time you are
filling out paperwork that asks about your criminal history.
EXPUNCTION VS. NON-DISCLOSURE
The key difference between an expunction and a nondisclosure is that an expunction order
results in the destruction of your criminal records and deletion of all associated files held by law
enforcement, while a non-disclosure order results in the restriction of access to your criminal
history to the government. With a non-disclosure, the files still exist but only specific government
agencies can have access to them. While an expunction clears records as though the arrest
never existed, a nondisclosure disallows the offenses covered by the order from being accessed
by the public and the records can possibly be seen by criminal justice agencies, licensing
agencies, and some government organizations.
HOW TO GET AN EXPUNCTION OR NON-DISCLOSURE IN TEXAS
In certain Texas cases, individuals can apply to have their criminal record cleared via expunction, or they can submit a petition for their criminal record to be sealed through non-disclosure. For an expunction, a civil lawsuit must be filed in the arresting county, while a nondisclosure requires a petition filed in the court where the case was prosecuted. The
processes can be confusing, time-consuming and complicated. Going through these processes also does not clear records with all private criminal background companies. An additional step is needed to make sure the criminal record is completely cleaned up. If you or someone you know is interested in either option, consider getting assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can offer a confidential legal consultation to determine eligibility and explore your options.
If you need the assistance of a reputable expunction and non-disclosure attorney in Houston, Texas, or the surrounding area, contact Houston criminal lawyer Collin Evans of Collin Evans Law. Collin Evans understands the positive impact of clearing or sealing your criminal record and may be able to help with leaving your past behind you. For skilled legal guidance as you attempt to clear or seal your criminal record, contact Collin Evans Law online or by calling 713-225-0650 for more information.