This is the second post in our series on the sealing or expunction of Texas criminal records. Our last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and it also stressed the need to speak with an attorney regarding your situation. Counsel can help you to determine whether you are eligible to complete the process. Counsel can also help to ensure that your Petition is handled properly. In this article we will discuss the benefits of completing the sealing or expunction process. If you require assistance then contact our Laredo office today to speak with a lawyer.
Laredo residents can benefit greatly from “sealing” their criminal record. In Texas, this process is completed by obtaining an “order of non-disclosure.” This order will have the effect of making your prior record unviewable/unobtainable by anyone with the exception of certain government agencies (such as law enforcement, courts, etc.). Sealing your record will result in your legally being permitted to say “no” when asked if you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime. It will also make the record invisible to many of the entities who would look for it as part of a background check. It goes without saying that completing this process can make it easier to obtain employment, to obtain housing, and to improve your overall situation.
Gaining an expunction (which is also known as an “expungement”) of your criminal history is a step beyond sealing the record. While sealing the record makes it invisible, it does not erase it. An expunction, by contrast, requires that the record be destroyed and removed from all public databases. In other words, it makes it as if the arrest, charge, and conviction never occurred. An expungement will make it more likely that you can obtain professional licenses, security clearances, and more. It is important to understand that only certain classes of cases or charges are eligible for an expunction. It is best to speak with counsel to discuss your rights and to determine what is possible.
If you are eligible to clear your criminal history through an order of non-disclosure or an expunction then it is suggested that you begin the process as soon as possible. You never know when you may find yourself seeking employment, in need of new housing, or facing some other situation in which you need to pass a background check. By being proactive and dealing with the situation immediately, you can take steps to ensure that your history is not a roadblock to your future success.
Joey Tellez is a Laredo, Texas criminal defense attorney who handles both the sealing and expunction of past records. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.