Sealing Criminal Records
Sealing Criminal Records in Kerrville
Sealing Records in Texas
If you were arrested but not charged with a crime, or you had your charges dismissed, you may be eligible to have your criminal record sealed. If you are interested in sealing your criminal record in Texas, our Kerrville-based criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and determine if you are eligible to have your record sealed.
If you are eligible, our criminal defense firm can help you go through the proper channels to better your chances of an ideal outcome. We are prepared to assist you with the filing process and provide representation during your record sealing hearing.
What Is the Difference Between Record Expungement & Record Sealing in Texas?
In contrast to expungement (also known as expunction), sealing records in Texas (also known as an order of non-disclosure) does not destroy your criminal record altogether. Instead, it simply makes it more difficult to view your criminal record, limiting its visibility to certain individuals and entities.
Do Expunged Records Show Up on Background Checks?
Expunged records generally do not show up on background checks because the general public does not have access to them. In addition, if you receive an expungement, you do not have to disclose them when asked. So, who can see expunged records?
When a criminal record is expunged, it doesn’t just disappear like nothing happened. The federal government still has access to your sealed records. All law enforcement agencies and some state agencies can also access your records.
Who Can See Expunged Records in Texas?
When a background checking company or AIS checks your background or requests information, they can receive that information from multiple sources, so while one source may have your criminal record expunged, others may not or may be incorrect.
If an expunged record does show up in your background check, you must prove that the criminal record has been expunged by going to a Texas judge to get a certificate of disposition and the record of expungement to give to the background agency.
Can the FBI See Expunged Records?
The FBI cannot see expunged records because expungement permanently removes charges from someone’s official record.
Who Is Eligible for Record Sealing in Texas?
In order to be eligible for criminal record sealed by expunction or non-disclosure in the State of Texas, you must meet certain criteria
- You were arrested but not charged with a crime
- Your charges were dropped
- You successfully completed a pre-trial diversion program or deferred adjudication
- Have received no subsequent convictions
Note that each situation is different and you may still not be eligible for record sealing even if you meet the above criteria. It’s crucial that you enlist the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in Kerrville or the nearby areas who can help you understand your options.
Record Sealing & DWI
Until recently, first-time DWI convictions were not eligible for record sealing. In 2017, Governor Abbot signed House Bill 3016 into law, allowing eligibility for record sealing for those convicted of a first-time DWI offense in Texas. The law outlines specific criteria that an individual must meet in order to be eligible to have his or her record sealed for a first-time DWI conviction.
In Order to Petition for a Non-Disclosure of DWI You Must:
- Have no prior convictions for any non-traffic offense
- Have never been on deferred adjudication community supervision for a non-traffic offense
- Have paid all fines, restitution, and other associated costs
- Have successfully completed the required community supervision (probation)/terms of confinement
- Have passed the required waiting period of two to five years, depending on the specifics of your situation
Additionally, in order to be eligible to petition for non-disclosure for DWI in the State of Texas, your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest must not have exceeded 0.20 percent.
You will also not be eligible if the prosecution can show that the DWI offense led to an accident involving another individual, including a passenger in your vehicle, or if this is a second, third, or subsequent DWI offense.
How to Expunge a Felony in Texas
Expunging a felony in Texas refers to the legal process of clearing or erasing a criminal record from public view. However, in Texas, the term "expunction" is specific to certain types of cases, and it is important to understand that not all felony convictions are eligible for expungement.
Generally, to expunge a felony in Texas, the following criteria must be met:
- Eligibility: Only certain types of cases can be expunged, such as cases where the person was acquitted, charges were dismissed, or the person completed a pretrial diversion program.
- Waiting Period: There is often a waiting period before a person can apply for expunction. This period typically starts from the date of the arrest or completion of the case.
- No Other Convictions: The person seeking expunction must not have any other felony or misdemeanor convictions on their record. Exceptions may apply for specific cases.
- Eligible Offenses: Not all felonies can be expunged. Serious offenses, such as violent crimes or sex offenses, are generally ineligible for expunction.
The process of expunging a felony in Texas involves filing a petition with the court where the case was prosecuted. The court will review the petition and supporting documentation to determine if the person meets the eligibility criteria. If approved, the court will issue an order to expunge the criminal record.
Expunging a felony can be a complex legal process, and it is advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to navigate the requirements and increase the chances of a successful expunction. Having a felony record expunged can provide individuals with a fresh start, as it allows them to legally state that they have not been convicted of a crime and opens up new opportunities for employment, housing, and other aspects of life.
Contact Our Firm Today
Non-disclosure, or criminal record sealing, does not destroy your record. It can, however, make it more difficult for potential employers, creditors, and landlords to view your criminal history. If you believe you may be eligible for record sealing in Texas, get in touch with The Law Office of Patrick O’Fiel, P.C.
Our dedicated Kerrville criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the Texas record expungement or sealing process, from filing your initial petition to appearing in hearings. We understand how the system works and we are prepared to help you pursue the best possible outcome for your case.