Anyone who has been convicted of a crime in the past knows that a criminal record has far-reaching consequences. Even years after you have carried out your sentence, you may find yourself unable to get a job, a loan or a place to live because of one mistake.
The good news is that your criminal record might not have to haunt you for the rest of your life.
Under Texas law, expungement and nondisclosure are processes that can help wipe your criminal record clean, or at least prevent employers, landlords, banks and other members of the general public from knowing about it.
What is expungement?
Expungement, known as expunction under Texas law, involves asking the court to wipe your entire criminal arrest and prosecution record clean.
Expunction is only available if you meet several requirements, and even then it can be difficult to achieve, which is why you need to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help convince the court that you are worthy of a second chance.
What is nondisclosure?
When expunction is not an option, nondisclosure may be a procedure to pursue. Nondisclosure prevents the general public and people such as landlords, employers and lenders from learning about your criminal history.
In order to qualify, you must complete the requirements of what is known as deferred adjudication. You can read more about the expunction and nondisclosure processes here.
Who qualifies for these remedies?
Generally speaking, expunction and nondisclosure are available to good people who made a bad decision. This often involves people who have only been in trouble with the law once, and often for charges related to drugs, drunk driving or family violence.
Whenever possible, it is best to plan for expunction and/or nondisclosure before being convicted. That means working with a defense lawyer who can protect your right to eventually put your charges behind you.