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Options to wipe a criminal record clean

Nov 3, 2016 | Criminal law

An arrest can happen after a momentary lapse of judgment or a youthful mistake. It is not generally representative of your character. Still, many will form lasting negative opinions based on a past arrest or plea of no contest. These opinions can prevent you from landing the job of your dreams, obtaining a professional license or moving to a new apartment.

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Two remedies exist that can reduce or mitigate the effects of an arrest or past conviction. They are expunction and orders of nondisclosure. In this post, we explain the differences.

A limited remedy removes an arrest from your record

Did your case proceed to trial and an acquittal or have you received a pardon? These are some of the times when an expunction removes the blemish from your record. In most circumstances, this makes it seem to the outside world as if the arrest or conviction never occurred.

Expunctions are also possible when a charge did not result in a conviction. Other factors come into play include:

  • You complied with all the terms of a community supervision order
  • The Prosecutor certifies arrest records are no longer needed
  • The case was dismissed after a pre-trial motion
  • The charge is voided due to false information or a mistake

If you are a candidate for expunction, you still need to wait a certain period of time before they can file. This may range from 180 days to three years.

Need to seal a conviction? Nondisclosure might help

It’s common for people to confuse “expunction” and “nondisclosure.” Both processes hide past criminal records, but nondisclosure may erase a guilty or no-contest plea from your record. It is also effective in sealing records in deferred adjudication cases.

Nondisclosure keeps criminal justice agencies from providing private parties (a prospective employer or apartment rental company) with the criminal records that are sealed.

But you must be aware that many government agencies and licensing bureaus have greater access to criminal records. This means if you are sitting for nursing boards or applying to take the Texas bar exam, the past record may still be accessible.

The waiting period is generally shorter than expunction. With many misdemeanors, you may be able to file as soon as probation is complete.

A felony, however, carries a five year waiting period. And certain other offenses – DWI and some assault charges – are not eligible.

Why you need experienced counsel?

File for the wrong relief and you could be wasting time and money. When your future is on the line, discuss your options with Ken or Judy at Mingledorff Law Firm. We can analyze eligibility issues and help you navigate the filing process in a timely manner. Let us help you down the road to a dream career/job or a better living situation.