Background checks have become commonplace for many employers in Texas, but reviews of people’s criminal records can also be required in other scenarios, such as a loan or apartment application. In certain cases, a prior arrest—even if an alleged offender was not convicted—can result in application being denied or a job offer not being extended.
Criminal records are public information in Texas, but state law does allow residents to expunge or seal their records. An expunction or order of nondisclosure (the sealing of a criminal record) will allow an alleged offender to legally deny that he or she was ever arrested, but the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) can deny an application for any reason it determines is necessary.
Attorney for Criminal Expunctions in Conroe, TX
If you were arrested for any kind of criminal offense in Montgomery County or Harris County that you are hoping to have expunged or sealed, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Evans & Powell, PLLC represents clients accused of criminal offenses in Pinehurst, Shenandoah, Willis, Oak Ridge North, Patton Village, The Woodlands, and many surrounding areas of Montgomery County and Harris County.
Sean Evans and Frank Powell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Conroe can handle all of the complex paperwork required for an expunction or order of nondisclosure. Call (936) 622-2000 to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Criminal Expunctions in Montgomery County
- How is expunging a criminal record different from sealing one?
- Who is allowed to seal or expunge a criminal record?
- Where can I find more information about criminal expunctions in Conroe?
State law in Texas allows certain individuals to permanently remove information about arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from their permanent records through an expunction. When a person expunges his or her criminal record, all records of his or her arrest are physically destroyed.
Only people who were never convicted of the crimes they were arrested for, had their convictions overturned, or were pardoned after being convicted can apply for expunctions. People who were placed on deferred adjudication and had their cases dismissed can seal their criminal records through orders of nondisclosure.
An order of nondisclosure hides the record of a criminal offense from public view and prohibits law enforcement agencies from disclosing the record, but certain governmental agencies may still be able to access it. The dates that people are eligible to submit applications for expunctions or orders of nondisclosure depend on the types of criminal offenses involved.
Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.01, at least the following amounts of time must have elapsed from the date of arrest before a person can submit an application for expunction:
- 180 days from the date of arrest for a Class C misdemeanor;
- One year from the date of arrest for a Class B misdemeanor or A misdemeanor; or
- Three years from the date of arrest for any felony.
The rules for orders of nondisclosure are established under Chapter 411, Subchapter E-1 of the Texas Government Code. People generally must wait until at least the following amounts of time have elapsed before seeking orders of nondisclosure:
- Five years after the discharge and dismissal of a felony offense;
- Two years after the discharge and dismissal of a misdemeanor under Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, or 46 of the Texas Penal Code; or
- Immediately after the discharge and dismissal of any other misdemeanor.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.01 establishes that a person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if he or she was:
- Arrested for a crime but was never charged;
- Charged with a criminal offense that was ultimately dismissed;
- Convicted as a minor for certain alcohol offenses or failure to attend school;
- Arrested, charged, or convicted due to identity theft by another individual that was actually arrested, charged, or convicted of the crime;
- Convicted of a crime that was later acquitted by the trial court or the Criminal Court of Appeals;
- Convicted of a crime that was later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States.
The same statute also establishes that a person cannot expunge records and files relating to an arrest that occurs pursuant to a warrant issued under Article 42A.751(b) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (relating to violation of conditions of community supervision), and any person who intentionally or knowingly absconds from a jurisdiction after being released under Chapter 17 f the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure following an arrest is not eligible for an expunction of the records and files relating to that arrest. Courts also cannot order the expunction of records and files relating to an arrest for an offense for which a person is subsequently acquitted, whether by the trial court, a court of appeals, or the court of criminal appeals, if the alleged offense for which the person was acquitted arose out of a criminal episode and the person was convicted of or remains subject to prosecution for at least one other offense occurring during the criminal episode.
Under Texas Government Code § 411.074, a person will not be granted an order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information and is not entitled to petition the court for an order if the alleged offense for which the order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information is requested involved family violence, or if the person was convicted or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for or has been previously convicted or placed on any other deferred adjudication community supervision for any of the following:
- An offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure;
- Aggravated kidnapping offense under Texas Penal Code § 20.04, regardless of whether the offense is a reportable conviction or adjudication for purposes of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;
- Murder offense under Texas Penal Code § 19.02;
- Capital murder offense under Texas Penal Code § 19.03;
- Trafficking of persons offense under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02;
- Continuous trafficking of persons offense under Texas Penal Code § 20A.03;
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual offense under Texas Penal Code § 22.04;
- Abandoning or endangering child offense under Texas Penal Code § 22.041;
- Violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.07;
- Repeated violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.072;
- Stalking offense under Texas Penal Code § 42.072, Penal Code; or
- Any other offense involving family violence.
Criminal History Records | Texas DPS — On this section of the DPS website, you can find information about orders of nondisclosure and expunctions in Texas. You can also learn more about pardons, the sealing of juvenile records, and automatic restriction of access to juvenile records. The frequently asked questions section also covers criminal history records.
Juvenile Records: A National Review of State Laws on Confidentiality, Sealing and Expungement — View a 2014 publication from the Juvenile Law Center that provides an overview of state laws and policies on confidentiality, sealing and expungement. Core Principles sections cover the effect of sealing and expungement, notification of sealing and expunging rights, and expungement eligibility and process. “Records of juvenile crime can have far-reaching consequences, including affecting a youth’s ability to join the military, pursue higher education, obtain employment, secure housing, or receive public benefits,” the authors conclude. “Retaining juvenile records too often undermines important societal goals, including community protection, by preventing young people from successfully reintegrating into their communities.”
Evans & Powell, PLLC | Conroe Criminal Expunctions Lawyer
Are you hoping to have your Texas criminal record sealed or expunged? You will want to make sure that you have strong and knowledgeable legal representation. Contact Evans & Powell, PLLC today.
Conroe criminal defense attorneys Sean Evans and Frank Powell represent individuals all over Montgomery County and Harris County, including Woodbranch, Panorama Village, Splendora, Cut and Shoot, Porter Heights, Magnolia, and several other nearby communities. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (936) 622-2000 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.