Anybody who has any kind of criminal offense on their permanent record will want to get the charge removed because the crime often has the potential to cause enormous headaches for people in all kinds of issues, from employment to public benefits to other concerns. When you need to file a motion to expunge or seal your criminal record in Texas, find yourself a record sealing / expunging attorney.

Unfortunately, sealing or expunging a criminal record is not as simple as just filing a form with a court and getting your request approved. There can be many significant obstacles to getting your request approved, so you will need proper guidance on the steps you must take to be successful in expunging or sealing your criminal record.

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Record Sealing / Expunging Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

If you are trying to expunge or seal your criminal record, it is critical to ensure that you have legal representation. A skilled criminal defense attorney will be very important in ensuring that you give yourself the best possible chance of achieving the most desirable outcome.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

Criminal Record Expungement in Texas 

Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.01, people charged with certain criminal offenses will be eligible to expunge their criminal records. That said, any person convicted of a criminal offense will not be eligible to have their criminal record expunged. To make a criminal record inaccessible to the public, such people will have to have their records sealed or request a nondisclosure order.

Expunging a criminal record effectively deletes a criminal offense the person is seeking an expunction for. Criminal record expunctions are available for people who have been:

  • Charged with criminal offenses but were later acquitted;
  • Wrongfully accused of criminal offenses; or
  • Charged with criminal offenses but had charges later dismissed.

A person who is eligible to have their criminal record expunged must follow certain procedural steps when filing a petition to have the record expunged, including providing the following information in their petition for expunction:

  • All of their verifying information, including their name, sex, race, date of birth, driver’s license number, social security number, and address at the time of their arrest;
  • The criminal offense they were charged with;
  • The date on which they were arrested;
  • The county or municipality where they were arrested;
  • The arresting agency;
  • The case number and court where the offense took place; and
  • Any law enforcement agency that could have information about the criminal offense and any criminal records or files pertaining to the petitioner.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.02 establishes that the court is required to expunge an eligible person’s criminal record if they request an expunction within 30 days of an acquittal of their criminal charges.

When a criminal record is expunged, information about an arrest, charge, or conviction will be removed from the person’s record, and they can deny the incident ever happened. Only certain records will be eligible for expunction under Texas law. 

The following records are eligible for expunction:

  • A criminal charge that was later dismissed
  • An arrest for a crime that was never charged
  • Certain misdemeanor juvenile offenses
  • Certain alcohol offenses related to minors
  • Convictions for failure to attend school
  • An arrest, charge, or conviction due to identity theft committed by an offender who was actually charged for the crime
  • Convictions for crimes that were acquitted by trial courts or the Criminal Court of Appeals
  • Convictions for crimes that were pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States

Just because a record qualifies for expunction does not automatically mean a court will grant it. A court will not grant expunction under the following circumstances:

  • A person received deferred adjudication or probation
  • A felony conviction within five years of the arrest the person is seeking to have expunged
  • An offense wishing to be expunged was part of a “criminal episode”
  • Charges pending against a person for a different crime

A person will also lose eligibility to have felony offenses removed if their crime has been dismissed and the statute of limitations for the offense subject to expunction has not expired. The statute of limitation is the length of time a court has to prosecute a person for a crime, and most statutes of limitations last three years, although they vary depending on the crime.

Nondisclosure of a Criminal Record in Tarrant County

Any person placed on deferred adjudication through probation or community supervision in Dallas could be able to conceal their criminal record by sealing it or requesting an order of nondisclosure under Texas Government Code § 411.081. If a person has been placed on deferred adjudication and they subsequently receive a discharge or a dismissal of their criminal charges, they can be eligible to petition for nondisclosure and have their criminal record sealed.

After a person has had their criminal record sealed, they do not have to disclose they were involved in any criminal proceeding on any application for employment, application for licensing, or application for educational admissions. A felony offender could be eligible to petition for nondisclosure of their criminal record five years after completing their deferred adjudication probation or community supervision.

A misdemeanor offender could be eligible to request a nondisclosure immediately after they complete a period of deferred adjudication community supervision. In other cases, a misdemeanor offender will be required to wait a period of two years before filing a petition for nondisclosure. 

Offenses requiring a two-year waiting period might include, but are not limited to: 

  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Indecent exposure
  • Unlawful carrying of a weapon 
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm

When a criminal record is sealed, criminal justice agencies are prohibited from providing the record to certain entities such as employers, the general public, and private investigators. A person will not be able to deny the offense ever happened, and certain agencies will still have access to the criminal record, and such agencies may include law enforcement, schools, hospitals, Texas licensing and regulatory agencies, state, county, and municipal hiring authorities.

The process of record sealing is not simple or automatic. A person must meet six conditions to be eligible for an order of nondisclosure. 

The conditions include the following.

  • A person was placed on deferred adjunction for the offense they plan to seal
  • Deferred adjudication was completed
  • The statute of limitations for the criminal offense has passed
  • The person was not convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another crime
  • The offense a person plans to have sealed is not any of the following:
    • Aggravated kidnapping
    • Murder
    • Capital murder
    • Injury to a child, elderly or disabled person
    • Child abandonment or endangerment
    • Stalking
    • Domestic violence
    • Violation of court order or bond for domestic violence
    • Sexual assault
    • Any offense that requires sex offender registration
  • A person cannot have any of the mentioned offenses on their criminal record, even if they are not seeking to have it sealed.

If a criminal record meets the requirements, the person can petition the court to have it sealed. The decision to grant the request is solely up to the judge, and they can deny the petition if it is not “in the best interest of justice.” 

Nondisclosure is also available for misdemeanor offenses. For certain misdemeanors, a person may petition for nondisclosure immediately after completing a deferred adjudication period. 

For other crimes, a person must wait two years before petitioning for nondisclosure. Such offenses include:

  • Abuse of a Corpse, Texas Penal Code § 42.08
  • Advertising for Placement of a Child, Texas Penal Code § 25.09
  • Aiding Suicide, Texas Penal Code § 22.08
  • Assault, Texas Penal Code § 22.01
  • Bigamy, Texas Penal Code § 25.01
  • Cruelty to Animals, Texas Penal Code § 42.092
  • Deadly Conduct, Texas Penal Code § 22.05
  • Destruction of a Flag, Texas Penal Code § 42.11
  • Discharge of a Firearm, Texas Penal Code § 42.12
  • Disorderly Conduct, Texas Penal Code § 42.01
  • Disrupting Meeting or Procession, Texas Penal Code § 42.05
  • Dog Fighting, Texas Penal Code § 42.10
  • False Alarm or Report, Texas Penal Code § 42.06
  • Harassment, Texas Penal Code § 42.07
  • Harboring Runaway Child, Texas Penal Code § 25.06
  • Hoax Bombs, Texas Penal Code § 46.06
  • Indecent Exposure, Texas Penal Code § 21.08
  • Interfering with Emergency Phone Call, Texas Penal Code § 42.062
  • Leaving a Child in a Vehicle, Texas Penal Code § 22.10
  • Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child, Texas Penal Code § 46.13
  • Obstructing a Highway or Other Passageway, Texas Penal Code § 42.03
  • Possession, Manufacture, Repair, or Sale of Switchblade Knife or Brass Knuckles, Texas Penal Code § 46.05
  • Public Lewdness, Texas Penal Code § 21.07
  • Riot, Texas Penal Code § 42.02
  • Silent or Abusive 911 Calls, Texas Penal Code § 42.061
  • Terroristic Threat, Texas Penal Code § 22.07
  • Unlawful Carrying of Gun by License Holder, Texas Penal Code § 46.035
  • Unlawful Carrying Weapons, Texas Penal Code § 46.02
  • Unlawful possession of Firearm, Texas Penal Code § 46.04
  • Unlawful Restraint, Texas Penal Code § 22.02
  • Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons, Texas Penal Code § 46.06
  • Violation of Protective Order Preventing Offense Caused by Bias or Prejudice, Texas Penal Code § 25.071

Certain crimes will never be eligible for nondisclosure. Examples include:

  • Indecency with a Child, Texas Penal Code § 21.11
  • Sexual Assault, Texas Penal Code § 22.011
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault, Texas Penal Code § 22.021
  • Incest, Texas Penal Code § 25.02
  • Aggravated Kidnapping, Texas Penal Code § 20.04
  • Burglary with Intent to Commit Any Above Offenses
  • Compelling Prostitution, Texas Penal Code § 43.03
  • Sexual Performance by a Child, Texas Penal Code § 43.25
  • Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography, Texas Penal Code § 43.26
  • Unlawful Restraint, Kidnapping, or Restraint of a Child Less than 17 Years Old
  • Attempt, Conspiracy, or Solicitation to Commit Any of the Above Offenses
  • Capital Murder, Texas Penal Code § 19.03
  • Murder, Texas Penal Code § 19.02
  • Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual, Texas Penal Code § 22.04
  • Abandoning or Endangering a Child, Texas Penal Code § 22.041
  • Violation of Protective Order or Magistrate’s Order, Texas Penal Code § 25.07
  • Stalking, Texas Penal Code § 42.072
  • Any Offense Involving Family Violence

Fort Worth Record Sealing / Expunging Resources

Expunction of Criminal Record | Texas Penal Code — Criminal record expungement in Texas is defined under Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure as including eligibility, procedure, and effect of expunction. View the entire section of the Penal Code governing criminal record expunction in Texas. Also learn more about who has the right to expunction, the process, and the effect of expunction.

Order of nondisclosure  | Texas Government Code  Procedure, eligibility, and offenses not eligible for criminal record sealing are all defined under Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code. Use this link to view a subchapter of the Government Code explaining who is eligible for an order of nondisclosure and the procedures that must be followed. Multiple procedures are described.

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Record Sealing / Expunging | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Are you hoping to expunge or seal your criminal record in Tarrant County? Make sure that you are working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to get the help you will need to be successful in your efforts.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

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