Texas Criminal Attorney to Process Expunction or Sealing of Criminal Records

Sealing or having your criminal record destroyed is something that should be done for anyone who qualifies, even for a minor history of arrest or conviction. The expunction process in Texas is largely procedural, making sure that all of the paperwork is in order. Sealing records require very careful attention to detail. Hiring a criminal attorney in Texas makes the process cleaner, quicker and more likely successful.

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Process for Sealing Adult Criminal Records through Nondisclosure Orders

Completion of deferred adjudication probation does not automatically seal your criminal record in Texas. You must file a ‘Petition of Non-Disclosure’ to get your record (‘rap sheet’) sealed. Eligibility for obtaining an order is detailed and varies according to the type of offense and outcome. Your first step is to obtain a fingerprint card and a copy of your criminal record.

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Application Process for Sealing Juvenile Criminal Records in Texas

To seal your juvenile criminal record in Texas, you must go to the Clerk’s office in the juvenile court where your case was heard and get an ‘Application for Sealing of Files and Records. The clerk will tell you what procedures and processes are followed and what form to file. If you have juvenile criminal records in a justice or municipal court you can file for expunction when you turn 17.

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Sealing Adult Criminal Records—Nondisclosure Orders

If your case in Texas is ineligible for an expunction, you will have to obtain an ‘Order of Non-Disclosure’. An order of non-disclosure does not physically destroy any of your criminal records. But it does restrict when and to whom your criminal information can be released to and viewed.

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Overview of Texas Criminal Record Expunction and Clearing

In Texas, if you were wrongfully arrested, or found not guilty, or charges were dismissed, or were arrested but later won an appeal or received a Governor’s pardon, you are eligible to completely clear your adult criminal record history. The process is called ‘expunction’ (also known as ‘expungement’). Motions to seal are available to a juvenile’s criminal records.

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Automatic Restriction of Access to Juvenile Criminal Records

Texas implemented a records system designed to limit access to juvenile criminal records after you turn 21. Called ‘Automatic Restriction of Access to Records’ (ARAR), your records are not destroyed or sealed but they can be viewed by criminal justices agencies, only for a criminal justice purpose, such as prosecuting crimes and screening potential employees of the criminal justice system.

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Sealing Juvenile Criminal Records in Texas

In the case of juvenile criminal records, Texas law lets you seal some convictions after a waiting period. Another law lets you expunge some criminal records (i.e., minor alcohol violations) handled in municipal or justice courts.

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