Parnham & Associates
Criminal Law Attorneys in Houston, Texas
Many people mistakenly believe that their record is erased immediately following an acquittal ("Not Guilty") after a trial by judge or jury, or if the case is dismissed. Additionally, many people erroneously believe that if they successfully complete "deferred adjudication" their criminal record remains clear once the probationary period is completed.
However, this is simply not the case. The arrest record will remain unless you file for an expunction or petition for non-disclosure: these are only granted in a very narrow range of circumstances. Contact Parnham & Associates for a free consultation to determine whether you are eligible for any of the record sealing avenues afforded under the law of the State of Texas.
Parnham & Associates can help answer any and all questions you might have regarding whether something is showing up on a background check that should not be there.
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Expunctions and Petitions for Nondisclosure
Every day American citizens are wrongfully arrested due to mistakes ranging from simple clerical errors to over-reaction by law enforcement officers: often it is merely a case of someone being in "the wrong place at the wrong time". In other situations a person may have been arrested with probable cause only to be found not guilty, or have their charges dropped or dismissed after counseling. Most people mistakenly believe that their arrest record is erased in such instances. However this is simply not the case: all of these events are placed on your criminal record and are made public, and even a minor offense like public intoxication or disorderly conduct can be viewed by potential employers, landlords or business concerns. In addition, nearly 2 million people in Texas have accepted Deferred Adjudication probation for misdemeanors and felony arrests with the misconception that once the probation period was over and the charge "dismissed" that it would not be on their records.
In some circumstances, a Judge can sign an order for any entity with information regarding your arrest to be destroyed via an expunction. Expunctions are available for individuals in only a limited number of situations. If your case has been dismissed you may be eligible to have your records expunged. Also, if you have obtained an acquittal following a judge or jury trial ("Not Guilty") you should be eligible to have your records wiped clear via the expunction process.
A criminal arrest record can seriously limit your future prospects for employment. It can show up on background checks, keeping you from getting the right job or progressing within your company, and can even come back to negatively impact a future criminal case should you ever be charged with a crime again in the future. The answer to whether you can get something expunged is usually complicated and can best be answered if you consult an attorney. A knowledgeable Texas attorney can also help you take action in expunging your records to protect your future.
The right of being granted an expunction in Texas is governed by Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Those who are not eligible for expunction may still be eligible to file a motion for a non-disclosure.
For those who have successfully completed "deferred adjudication" probation, non-disclosure orders offer the opportunity to have your record sealed from public view. Unlike with expunctions, non-disclosures do not completely erase criminal records, but instead will leave them intact for government purposes. Most commonly it can be used if the person is ever prosecuted for a crime sometime in the future. One of the most common misconceptions people have about their criminal cases is that all criminal records are cleared once "deferred adjudication" is completed. In Texas, motions for non-disclosure are granted pursuant to Section 411.091 of the Texas Government Code.
This is one way to "seal" your record once a court grants your Petition for Non-Disclosure. However, under Government Code § 411.08(i) many agencies can still obtain information subject to nondisclosure.
Am I eligible?
Under Government Code § 411.081(d), you might be eligible for Non-Disclosure if you were placed on misdemeanor deferred adjudication or felony deferred adjudication, and subsequently obtained a discharge and dismissal from the court.
• If I was placed on deferred adjudication and obtained a discharge and dismissal, am I eligible?
Not necessarily. If you were placed on deferred adjudication for certain offenses you will not be eligible for non-disclosure even if you obtained a discharge and dismissal from the court.
Parnham & Associates can help answer any and all questions you might have regarding whether something is showing up on a background check that should not be. If you are concerned that your arrest is still appearing and you would like to start the process of clearing your records, call us immediately for a free consultation at (713) 224-3967. We can take care of all of the necessary legal details and work to help you clear your criminal record so you can move forward with your life without worry and fear that something shows up when it should not
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The Law Office of Parnham & Associates
440 Louisiana St., Suite 200 (The Lyric Centre), Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 224.3967 | Fax: 713.224.2815
This is for general informational purpose only. This information: • DOES NOT represent a legal advice or opinion, • DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship, • DOES NOT account for community-supervision eligibility, special punishment issues, mandatory minimum confinement, enhancements, and "Exceptional Sentences" under Chapter 12 Subchapter D of the Texas Penal Code, • DOES NOT apply Corporations & Associations. • DOES NOT represent the unique circumstances of your case.