Whether looking for a new career, going to college, or even renting an apartment, a criminal conviction can hamper anyone’s future plans. Fortunately, Texas law provides a few ways to keep your record clear.
If a court grants you a Deferred Adjudication, places you on probation, and you successfully complete the probation, you may be entitled to an Order of Non-Disclosure. For most misdemeanor offenses (any conviction involving domestic or family violence is not eligible), once you successfully complete the Deferred Adjudication, you become eligible for the court to order a Non-Disclosure. For several felony offenses, once you successfully complete the Deferred Adjudication, and you go 5 years without being convicted of or placed on any type of probation for any crime other than a traffic offense, you may be eligible for the court to order a Non-Disclosure in your case.
A Non-Disclosure is a court order directed at any government agency that has a record of your arrest and probation. The court orders that, although these agencies can still maintain your records, they cannot release them to the general public or private companies or individuals. The government agencies can, however, share your records with other government agencies.
Expunctions are better than Non-Disclosures, however fewer cases are eligible for expunctions. If your case was dismissed by the court or prosecution, if a Grand Jury issued a “no bill” in your case, or if you were found “Not Guilty” by a court or jury, then you may be eligible for an expunction.
An expunction is an order by a court directed at any agency that keeps any files on your charge or arrest. The Court will ORDER that they destroy any record of that case. An expunction is a civil lawsuit against the prosecuting office (usually the District Attorney’s Office), the District or County Clerk, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and any law enforcement agency that arrested or investigated your case. If the court orders the expunction, your records will be deleted – permanently.
A Pre-Trial Diversion is another way to keep your record clean and is a form of supervision that, if successfully completed, will result in your case being dismissed. The prosecution (again, usually the District Attorney’s Office), is the only entity that can grant a Pre-Trial Diversion in your case. If the prosecution does grant a Pre-Trial Diversion in your case, you successfully complete it, and your case is dismissed, then you may be eligible for an expunction in the future.
As former felony chief prosecutors, all of the lawyers at Vinas & Graham, PLLC are experienced in Pre-Trial Diversions and know what the prosecutor is looking for in making their decision whether or not to grant a Pre-Trial Diversion in your case.