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It may be possible to have your criminal record cleared or sealed through filing a petition for non disclosure or a petition for expunction. Whether you like it or not, your criminal record follows you and can prevent you from obtaining a good job, being awarded a school loan and can pop up even when you apply to get an apartment or a mortgage on a house.
Even if you were only arrested and never formally charged or convicted, the record of your arrest can show up and cause great embarrassment and the loss of good opportunities for you and your family. Many people think that if their case was dismissed, or if the charges were dropped that they do not have a criminal record. The fact is, however, that employers, schools, and the public can still see view this damaging information and it's not always clear that the arrest resulted in a dismissal.
Depending on what occurred in your case, you may be eligible for an expunction or a petition for non-disclosure.
An expunction or expungement is the legal vehicle to clear your criminal record and clear your good name. You may be eligible to file this petition if you were found not guilty after a trial or if your case was dismissed without a plea. Once granted, the judge orders all of the public entities with any record of your arrest to destroy their records. The result is your criminal record is erased and you will legally be entitled to deny that you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime. This becomes critical when applying for jobs where most employers run a criminal background check.
Where a person was arrested and entered into a plea bargain for a deferred adjudication, he is not entitled to an expunction but may be eligible to file for a petition for non-disclosure. This is different from an expunction and the law on this is complicated and requires a skilled lawyer with experience to advise you as to your eligibility. Most people think that after successfully completing a deferred adjudication, and their case being dismissed, means that they do not have a criminal history but that's an unfortunate misunderstanding. The record still exists and you need to file a petition for nondisclosure to the court where your case originated to request that it seal any records relating to your case. While not as good as an expunction, once the order is signed by the judge, the public and employers will not be able to view your criminal history.
Contact Allison Secrest, P.C. or call 713-322-6713 to schedule a free initial consultation today.