Do You Need Post Conviction Relief?
Looney, Smith & Conrad, Expungement Attorneys
Clearing a Texas Criminal Record
With more than 80 percent of employers, landlords, and credit agencies conducting criminal background checks, having a clean record makes a difference during a job search and may be the key to a better paying job. A clean record can mean better job opportunities and a better quality of life.
In Texas, there are several ways a person can clean up a criminal record including offers setting aside convictions, petitions for nondisclosure and expungement.
Post Conviction Relief Options
Setting Aside a Conviction
Setting aside occurs when a judge annuls or cancels a court order or judgment made previously. When a criminal conviction is set aside, the person is considered not to have been previously convicted, although sex offender registration requirements may still apply.
Petitions for Nondisclosure
When a person successfully completes deferred adjudication, he or she becomes eligible to file a petition for nondisclosure. Because deferred adjudication records are public record, they are not automatically removed from a defendant’s criminal history on successful conclusion of the community supervision (probation) period.
Unless there is a court order directing otherwise, records of a deferred adjudication are publicly available in the District or County Clerk’s records, the Texas Crime Information Center database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the National Crime Information Center maintained by the Department of Justice. The records become part of the defendant’s permanent record. The arrest, court proceedings and probation record will all appear on a criminal background check.
In addition, records of the arrest, investigation and jailing are on file with the investigating agency, the agency that jailed or processed the defendant upon arrest, and with the magistrate who set bond and conducted the initial appearance.
A petition for nondisclosure, when granted, seals these records and removes them from all public databases. While the records still exist for law enforcement, state licensing, and similar, limited uses, for all other purposes the defendant is allowed to deny that the arrest and prosecution ever occurred. Anyone improperly releasing sealed records is themselves committing a criminal offense. While the law does not provide for expunction of deferred adjudication records, nondisclosure provides almost all of the same benefits.
Expungement means the court orders destruction of all records of both the arrest and prosecution of a criminal case. Under Texas law, a person is allowed expunction of an arrest if it did not end in a conviction or some type of community supervision.
A person can also expunge class C misdemeanors if it terminated in a successful completion of a deferred adjudication. It is then against Texas law to use or disclose the existence of expunged records by any entity for any purpose.
The person with the expunged records can deny the arrest and prosecution and even the expunction order itself, unless being questioned under oath in a criminal court (in which case they need only respond that the matter has been expunged). They can even deny the case ever occurred when applying for government and law enforcement jobs.
Expunction proceedings are complex and simple mistakes can start the process over again. A post-conviction attorney can also write letters to the person’s potential employers to let them know the case has been scheduled for expunction or non-disclosure and will soon have the person’s record cleared.
For assistance, contact the Best Expungement Attorneys at Looney, Smith & Conrad, P.C. at 281-597-8818 or 979-826-8484.
Call today for an Expungement Lawyer Near Me. Our expungement attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.