Sometimes, first-time offenders for low-level crimes aren’t even prosecuted. In some circumstances, the state of Texas will offer them a pre-trial diversion program instead. For people in this program, the idea of having a criminal record that follows them around forever seems unfair. Luckily, Texas does offer record expunction under some circumstances.
Expunction and nondisclosure
There are two ways that people can have their misdemeanor or even felony records cleared in Texas. The first is expunction. For someone’s record to be expunged, they must have been:
- Not formally charged
- Charged with the case later dismissed
Other situations where records can be expunged include someone being wrongfully convicted and later found innocent. If the statute of limitations ran out before the indictment, the record of the person involved can also be expunged. People must apply for their record to be expunged in Texas. Otherwise, it will continue to surface in background checks.
Nondisclosure is different. This option is available for people who pleaded no contest or guilty to a criminal charge. It’s also available to people who were found guilty at trial. Under nondisclosure, law enforcement agencies and officers can access the details of a criminal record, but the records are sealed and inaccessible from people like employers running background checks.
Not everyone who commits a felony is eligible for nondisclosure. There is often a waiting period to apply for this, too. In order to find out more about getting your record cleared, you may want to contact a criminal defense lawyer. They might be able to help you navigate the process successfully.