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The difference between a non-disclosure and an expunction in Texas

Seth Topek
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Criminal Defense Attorney: Defending the Rights of the Accused and the Incarcerated

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    While both a Texas non-disclosure and a Texas expunction help people with criminal records shield that record from the public the extent to which they do this is different.  In Texas an expunction is best thought of as a tool for people whose case was dismissed to completely erase that record.  If a case is properly expunged all the records related to that case are supposed to be either handed over or completely destroyed.  No state agency or police force will have access to it and it will be as if it never occurred.  The rationale is most likely that an expunction is intended for people who did not do what they were accused of and thus their case was dismissed either by the state, judge or jury.

    A non-disclosure is for people who have successfully completed deferred adjudication.  This will seal a person’s record.  The rationale for this is that even though an offense took place it is in societies interest that once they have paid for that mistake through completing their community supervision they should be able move forward with their lives without constantly being held back by their worst decision.  If someone obtains a non-disclosure their records are not turned over nor are they destroyed.  Instead, the records are sealed or shielded from the public.  This means that when most employers, friends, or apartments do a background search it should not come up.  However, the record will still be available to the police and to a number of state agencies that deal with licensing.

    The process for obtaining the two are different.  An expunction is a lawsuit filed against those who have your records while a nondisclosure is filed in the court that placed you on deferred adjudication.  

    The last similarity between the two is that we advise you to hire an attorney if you want either an expunction or order of non-disclosures.  They are legal documents full of technical requirements and if you make mistakes your petition could be rejected, you could lose the money you paid in filing fees, or you could fail to achieve your objectives.  If you have any questions about sealing your record or an expunction in Houston, Galveston, Fort Bend, the Woodlands, Brazoria County or any other surrounding areas please call us at 713-651-1444 or fill out an online contact form and an experienced attorney will discuss your case with you.

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