This is the next post in a series of articles discussing early termination of probation in Laredo, Texas. My previous post reviewed the various benefits of ending one’s probation early. Terminating one’s probation sentence can provide relief from ongoing compliance requirements, such as periodic meetings with a probation officer, drug testing, and the ongoing obligation to pay certain fees. It can also eliminate one’s lingering fear of violating probation terms and facing jail time for the underlying offense. Those eligible should strongly consider contacting an attorney to help them understand their options to seek early termination. In this article, I will discuss how the early end to a probation sentence may affect one’s criminal record. If you need assistance, contact my office to speak with a lawyer.
Many people who are sentenced to probation believe that when their term is completed, the criminal charges against them are dismissed and they no longer have a criminal record. This is not the case. It is important to remember that one’s criminal record includes all information about their arrest, court proceeding, and verdict. Even when an individual is sentenced to straight probation or deferred adjudication, this information remains on one’s record permanently. Such punishments are not eligible for expunction under Texas law. This applies in cases where the probationer serves the full term of probation or successfully terminates their sentence early. Offenses resulting in probation will appear on one’s criminal background check and may negatively impact one’s ability to seek or retain employment, professional licenses, access credit or obtain housing. They may also prevent the offender from owning or possessing a firearm in the future.
In some instances, however, it may be possible for a person sentenced to probation to clean up their criminal record. Texas law allows eligible probationers to obtain an order for non-disclosure, which effectively seals their criminal record related to the underlying offense. This option is available to offenders who were sentenced to deferred adjudication probation for certain misdemeanors or felonies that did not result in a conviction. Under Texas law, a person who has gained an order of non-disclosure is not required to disclose the past charge on documents requesting information about one’s criminal history. This may include applications for employment, professional licensing, loans, or housing. The information will not appear on routine background checks. Depending upon the nature of the offense leading to probation, one may be allowed to seek an order of non-disclosure immediately following the end of their probationary period. Ending one’s probation early may expedite this process. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your case history and help determine whether you are eligible to seek early termination and a non-disclosure order.
My office has represented numerous Texas residents in successfully terminating their probation earlier than originally scheduled. I have also assisted with obtaining non-disclosure orders after my clients’ probation has ended. If you are serving a term of probation and need assistance, contact my office today to schedule a consultation with a Laredo criminal defense lawyer. I also serve clients in other areas of south Texas.