Many people wonder if they actually have a criminal record. If you have ever been arrested or charged with an adult or juvenile offense, then unfortunately you do. A criminal record can severely impact many aspects of your life, opening you up to greater scrutiny by law enforcement officers as well as hampering your attempts to procure a job or scholarships for college. It can also be embarrassing to know that your employer, neighbor, and/or landlord can find you on a public data website and discover the details of allegations made against you long ago.
We know the laws that allow you to completely erase or seal the records of those unfortunate events of your past. We provide services for expunctions, petitions for non-disclosure, and sealing of juvenile records. We will analyze your unique case and determine the best route for you. There is no reason you should live in fear of your past.
If expunction is not a viable option due the type of charge, conviction, or arrest, then you may be able to apply for an Order of Non-Disclosure. Unlike an expunction which basically removes the offense from your record, an Order of Non-Disclosure limits the access to it. The record remains accessible to government officials and can be permissible in certain court situations, but it is removed from public record and is barred from being released to particular private parties.
In some cases, even if you went before the court and admitted you committed the criminal act, you still may be entitled to some protection from the offense being open to the public. While individuals who received deferred adjudication or probation for their offenses may be eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure, he or she must wait two years before trying to seek non-disclosure for a misdemeanor offense and 5 years for a felony offense. During this waiting period, no new convictions or deferred adjudications (other than fine-only traffic offenses) can occur. Also, not every criminal offense is subject to non-disclosure. Charges like a registered sex offense, aggravated kidnapping, murder, or family violence will more than likely not be capable of obtaining a non-disclosure.
The process to get a Non-Disclosure Order can be complex, requiring notice to be given to every agency you want to withhold your records. The State can also object and request a contested hearing on the matter “in the interest of justice.” However, we are well-versed in how to file and successfully present petitions for non-disclosure. We can evaluate your situation, give you a realistic probability of success and aggressively pursue your right to not have the public know your past.
Changes To Texas DWI And Non-Disclosure Laws In 2017
On September 1, 2017, a change to Texas State Non-Disclosure laws went into effect concerning a first-time DWI conviction. Texas HB 3016 makes first-time DWI convictions eligible to be sealed under an order of non-disclosure in certain circumstances. There are a number of criteria that must be met in order for you to be eligible to file to have your DWI offense to be sealed under Texas HB 3016. These include:
- Your BAC at the time of your arrest for the resulting DWI conviction can be no higher than 0.15.
- You have no other convictions or probations for any other offenses whatsoever. The only exception to this are traffic violations that do not involve controlled substances or alcohol.
- You must have completed any and all mandated periods of service or confinement related to your DWI conviction.
- There can be no accident involving any other individuals resulting from your DWI offense.
- You have paid any and all restitution, fines, and costs imposed on you by your DWI conviction.
- You have completed the required waiting period required by Texas HB 3016.
The waiting period to become eligible for a non disclosure order can range from 2 years to 5 years. The waiting period is contingent on a host of factors including length of probation and whether you have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle as a condition of probation. Because some of these terms are not standard for a 1st DWI, you need an attorney who is well-versed in the laws to make sure you are best protected for both the short term and long term.
It’s important to know that a second DWI offense will result in the unsealing of any DWI conviction in the state of Texas sealed through an order of non-disclosure.
Schedule A Free Case Consultation
If you live in Denton, Texas or the surrounding area and have questions about your DWI and whether or not it’s eligible to be sealed under Texas HB 3016, give the Law Offices of John C. Rentz, P.C. a call today at 940-308-8513. You can also contact us online.