Houston Expunction & Expungement Lawyer
Clearing or Sealing Your Criminal Record
Many people do not understand how invaluable expunctions are. Few truly understand that once they have a criminal record, they will be treated differently by the police in almost any interaction. Few know that the expunction process is inexpensive. — Attorney Terry W. Yates
At the Houston law firm of Terry W. Yates & Associates, we realize that resolving a criminal case successfully is often only the first step to ensuring that our clients have a "clean record." If a person is arrested and the arrest is formalized into a criminal charge, then it is likely that a criminal record exists.
Even if a criminal matter is dismissed or "no billed" by a grand jury, a public arrest record likely exists and is easily accessible via Internet resources or through commercial services that conduct background checks.
There is also a misconception that if a person successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication the criminal record is cleared. This is simply not true. The law does not provide for automatic expungements of deferred adjudication records, and unless there is a court order directing otherwise, records of a prosecution resulting in a deferred adjudication are publicly available in the records of every district clerk.
Our experienced attorneys have an impressive record of success in obtaining expunction orders to clear our clients' criminal records and in obtaining orders of non-disclosure to effectively seal a criminal record after successful completion of a term of deferred adjudication and community supervision.
To discuss your rights and real legal options in seeking to have your Texas criminal record expunged or sealed, please call the Houston law office of Terry W. Yates at 877-520-7612. An experienced attorney at our firm can guide you through the process.
The Expunction Process in Detail
Expunction proceedings are similar to a civil lawsuit. Qualified applicants are required to file a petition with the district court, requesting that the court order all State and Federal Agencies to destroy all records relating to a citizen's arrest. Orders of expunction are very restricted, but citizens whose cases were merely arrests, or whose charges were ultimately dismissed or no-billed by a grand jury are often eligible for expunctions.
In some instances a person who received deferred adjudication community supervision is eligible for an expunction. A person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication for a Class C Misdemeanor can petition the court for expunction under Article 45.051(e), Code of Criminal Procedure (if the Class C deferred adjudication was imposed in justice court or municipal court); or by filing an expunction under Article 55.01(a)(2), Code of Criminal Procedure (if the Class C deferred adjudication was imposed in county or district court).
Expunction is not available for deferred adjudication sentences for Class B, Class A, or felony offenses. However, under Section 411.081(d), Government Code, a court can prohibit criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to certain offenses for which the offender was placed on deferred adjudication.
Certain misdemeanor offenders qualify immediately for a non-disclosure order upon completion of their deferred adjudication community supervision, while other defendants who complete a deferred adjudication must wait a certain period of time after the date of discharge and dismissal before filing a petition for an order of non-disclosure in a number of misdemeanor offenses (2 year waiting period) and all qualifying felony offenses (5 year waiting period).
To determine whether you are qualified for an expunction or order of non-disclosure, please contact our attorneys for a free consultation.
Houston Expunction and Non-Disclosure Lawyers
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