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Escaping the negative effects of a minor offense in Texas

Texas residents that have been convicted (or acquitted) of certain offenses can seek an expunction or non-disclosure order to clear their criminal history.
 
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    January 11, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Having a criminal record in Texas, even if it was only an arrest, can have serious repercussions on your day-to-day life. When you apply for a job or fill out an application to rent an apartment, you are often asked if you have ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime. Even if the crime was only a minor offense, having a criminal record can be the deciding factor in whether you get the job or apartment.

If you have been arrested and had the criminal charges dropped or have been convicted of a minor offense, you may wonder if you have any recourse. Fortunately, under Texas law there are two possible avenues available to you: expunction of your criminal record and an order for non-disclosure.

Expunction

If certain circumstances are met, you may have the right to seek expunction, which means that the criminal records associated with you arrest or prosecution are destroyed. The right of expunction is contained in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Under the law, you are eligible for expunction if you were arrested, but later acquitted (or if the charges were dropped) of a felony or misdemeanor.

If your crimes were minor, you may also be eligible for expunction. Under Texas law, those convicted of Class C misdemeanors, but receive deferred adjudication are also eligible to petition a court for expunction. These types of crimes include crimes that are punishable by fines, but not jail time, such as certain traffic violations, trespass and certain minor types of theft.

As the records of the arrest or conviction are destroyed, those who are successful in seeking expunction can forever deny on future employment, housing and other types of applications that they were arrested or convicted of the crime subject to the expunction.

Orders for non-disclosure

If you were convicted of a felony and misdemeanor other than a Class C misdemeanor and received deferred adjudication (but not jail time) as punishment, you are not eligible under Texas law to petition for expunction. Instead, you can ask a court to seal your criminal records by granting an order of non-disclosure.

Orders for non-disclosure work by preventing private individuals and companies (i.e. background check services) from accessing your criminal records that are subject to the order. However, orders for non-disclosure are not as all encompassing as expunction orders, as they do not guard against state employees accessing your criminal information. As a result, the record of your conviction would still be visible in criminal background searches conducted by law enforcement, state agencies and professions that are regulated by the state (e.g. medical boards).

Despite their limitations, orders for non-disclosure would allow you to deny your conviction when applying for employment, housing etc. in most instances.

Consult an attorney

Expunction and non-disclosure orders can help you escape the negative repercussions of a minor indiscretion. If you are interested in learning more, an experienced criminal defense attorney can determine whether you are eligible and put together a persuasive and effective petition on your behalf.

Article provided by Hines Ranc & Holub
Visit us at www.hinesrancholub.com



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