One of the most common questions our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney gets is "how long do I have to wait or is there a waiting period at all before I can get my record sealed or erased?" Before we can answer that, we have to understand what sealing and erasing means.
Expunction - This is a complete erasing of your record for a particular charge. For instance, lets say you are arrested for shoplifting (or Theft in Texas) and you are ultimately charged or not charged at all, depending on the outcome of your case, you may be able to "expunge" of have the Court order all documents, data and files associated with the Theft be destroyed. Its as if it never happened.
Non-Disclosure - This seals your record. Its the same process as an expunction, but it does not erase the charge. It only hides the information from third-parties and the general public. These are more commonly granted, especially if you were placed on Deferred Adjudication in Texas. They are the next best thing to an expunction.
Generally, for an expunction, you have to wait 2 years from the date that your case was dismissed for a misdemeanor and 5 years for a felony (these follow the Statute of Limitations), before you can apply. If you go to trial and are found Not Guilty, you are immediately eligible to apply, there is no waiting period.
For Non-Disclosure, generally, for misdemeanors, you can apply immediately after you a successfully complete Deferred Adjudication. For felonies, you must wait 5 years from the date you are successfully discharged from Deferred Adjudication.
Who can still see my record with the Non-Disclosure?
Law enforcement agencies
School districts, charter schools, private schools, regional education service centers, commercial transportation companies, or education shared service arrangements
All Professional Texas Boards
District court regarding a petition for name change
Municipal or volunteer fire department
Board of Nurse Examiners
Safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations
Public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district
There are many others...
But, here is the good news, you DO NOT have to disclose the charge to any private person or private organization who asks about it.
Expunctions and Requests for Non-Disclosures can be very complicated and you should never try to file one on your own. Our Fort Worth, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney has extensive experience with Expunctions and Non-Disclosures in Tarrant and Dallas County. Give us a call today at (817) 900-2823. We can tell you over the phone, in most cases, whether you are eligible for an Expunction or Non-Disclosure and how much it will cost.