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What is the Difference between the Sealing of Criminal Records and Expunction in Texas?

The existence of a criminal record can affect your life in a number of ways and may make it difficult to get a job, be approved for loans, obtain a professional license, or even secure housing. Fortunately, Texas law allows people with certain types of criminal records to have them expunged or sealed, making them inaccessible to the general public. There are many benefits to having your criminal record sealed, some of which we detailed on our website here. Not all Texas criminal records can be sealed or expunged, and there are significant differences in the two processes. Below is some information about these differences. Because obtaining either can be a legally complicated process, anyone interested in having their record sealed or expunged should talk to an experienced Austin expunction attorney before attempting to begin the process on their own.

Texas Expunction

Expunction, also referred to as expungement, is the process by which a criminal record is completely destroyed. Many people may be under the mistaken impression that after they successfully complete a deferred adjudication program that their criminal record simply goes away. This is not the case, and the record of the arrest and any associated criminal case will still be part of the public record. If your case is eligible for expunction, the records associated with your arrest are destroyed and you can legally answer “no” in most cases if you are asked whether you have ever been arrested, plead guilty, or been convicted of a crime.

Texas Record Sealing

In Texas, the sealing of a criminal record refers specifically to the sealing of arrest and case records. Individuals who have eligible records can file a petition with the court that had jurisdiction over the underlying matter and have the records sealed and removed from the applicable database. The procedure for people who have adult criminal records is also known as “nondisclosure.” As opposed to expunction, in which the records are destroyed, an order of nondisclosure simply prevents criminal justice agencies from disclosing the existence of the record to the public. In order to be eligible for nondisclosure, a person must have successfully completed any deferred adjudication program in which they were in and meet several other criteria.

Contact an Austin expunction attorney today to schedule a free consultation

Whether your record is eligible for expunction or an order of nondisclosure is dependent on a variety of factors, and an Austin expunction lawyer will be able to help you make that determination. To schedule a free consultation with Texas attorney Kevin Bennett, call our office today at (512) 476-4626.

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