Your criminal history follows you everywhere. Whether you are asked to describe it on job, housing and educational loan applications or are pulled over for a traffic stop, others will want to know whether your past includes incidents of breaking the law.
Fortunately, Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure offers those with a criminal past to clear their records through expungement and orders of nondisclosure. If you are granted either an expungement or order of nondisclosure (or in the case of those under 18, a motion to seal a juvenile criminal record), arrest records and convictions for certain crimes will be permanently deleted from your record. That means criminal information will no longer be available to the public when background checks of any kind are run on you.
Expungement means that records they are removed from all criminal history databases. An order of nondisclosure is slightly different in that it gives applicants the right to not disclose prior arrests, crimes for which he or she was acquitted or pardoned and convictions for which the applicant successfully completed conditions of public service, counseling or probation/parole. Both are designed to help applicants regain public respectability and the opportunities that come with it.
Where young people are concerned, Texas laws allow for the sealing of juvenile records under some circumstances, which makes those records unavailable for any purpose at any time. This means that a child with an otherwise unblemished record can apply for scholarships, student loans, public educational grants and on-campus housing when he or she goes to the university.
Regardless of whether you are seeking either an expungement or order of nondisclosure for yourself or the sealing of juvenile records for your child, the Barrera Law Firm can help. Our attorneys understand the exacting nature of the application process for all three of these procedures and that proper filing of application materials is critical to success. When you’re looking for a new lease on a better life for yourself or a loved one, let us be your guide.
Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono