Clearing up your record
Expunctions are available in only four circumstances: a dismissed charge, a verdict of Not Guilty, a "No Bill" on a felony indictment from a Grand Jury, or a pardon by the Governor of the State of Texas.
If granted, an expunction is an order by a District Court Judge directing different state agencies to destroy (or in some cases, return to the defendant) all records of someone's charge, arrest and the eventual outcome of the case. This is like a reset button. The case is completely and permanently removed from your record, like it never even happened. In fact, the law tells someone who has had a criminal charge expunged from their record that they may completely deny the entire event--the arrest, charge and disposition, even if under oath in a non-criminal proceeding.
This means that you are not required to notify a potential employer or even a state licensing board about a record that has been expunged. Some employers try to trick people on their employment applications by asking about any expunged records. Don't be fooled! The law says you may completely deny the arrest and charge if you have had a successful expunction. The only exception to this is if someone is under oath in a criminal proceeding and, during testimony, is asked about a prior criminal record. In such a rare situation, you only need to respond with the following sentence: "That matter has been expunged."
One of our biggest sources of satisfaction at the Justin C. Harris Law Firm is returning people to their pre-arrest life. Part of that includes scrubbing away any record of a criminal case. Please note, there are some waiting periods for expunging cases, but call us today to discuss your situation. We will be happy to advise you of your eligibility or entitlement to expunge a case from your record.
If you entered a plea of guilty, but still were not ultimately convicted of the offense, you may be eligible to petition the court for a Non-Disclosure. Most cases that resulted in a Deferred Adjudication probation are eligible for a Non Disclosure. Let's be clear, a non-disclosure does not remove a case from your record. Instead, a non-disclosure simply "seals" your record from most of the public. The record is still available to agents of the government like the military, police officers, prosecutors, schools, utility companies, and state licensing authorities, among many many others. A simple explanation of Non-Disclosures is that the government will be able to see sealed or non-disclosed records. So while you may avoid your new boss at Exxon/Mobil, Apple Computers, or Starbucks from finding out about your sealed record, any police officer who checks your license plate at a stop light or your driver's license after a traffic stop, or the public school where you hope to get your next teaching job will always be able to see your record.