The Expungement Process
Nondisclosure and expungement are not available to all criminal records. Nondisclosures are generally available if you received deferred adjudication or probation for the criminal charge against you, and you successfully completed the deferred adjudication or probation. However, there are some cases where nondisclosure is not available due to the nature of the charge. For example, you may not get a nondisclosure from a charge of assault family violence and certain sex offenses. There are additional cases for which you may not receive a nondisclosure, including, but not limited to murder, certain crimes against the elderly and children, stalking and violation of a protective order. Additionally, you may not get a nondisclosure of any charge of which you were convicted.
Likewise, there are limits to getting an expungement. Expungements are generally available to anyone who successfully completed deferred adjudication for a Class C misdemeanor, which is essentially a traffic violation. Expungements are also available if you were acquitted of the charge, if the charge was dismissed without the necessity of probation or deferred adjudication, or if charges were never filed, eventhough you were arrested.
With some cases there are waiting periods before you may apply for a nondisclosure. First, you must successfully complete the deferred adjudication or probation. Some cases such as theft and certain gun crimes require a two year waiting period from the time deferred adjudication is successfully completed. There is a five year waiting period for all felony charges on which deferred adjudication or probation was successfully completed.
The process for obtaining a nondisclosure or expungement involves a thorough investigation of the criminal background in question. If it appears that the case is statutorily available, we file a Petition with the court and ask for the Judge to Order a nondisclosure or expungement. However, just because your particular case is eligible for expungement or nondisclosure, it does not guarantee that the Judge will sign the Order. In most cases, the Judge will sign the Order, but is not required to do so. The Judge has discretion on whether to grant or deny the Petition. In most cases, if the Judge agrees to the Order, it will be signed within about two months from the date the Petition is filed. However, it can take longer, depending on the workload of the Court and the County of jurisdiction.
Once the Order is signed, the Clerk of the Court is required to provide certified copies of the Order to all law enforcement agencies involved. These agencies must follow the Order immediately upon receipt of it. There are also various other reporting agencies, such as Publicdata.com. They normally will regularly update their records. So, if your records are ordered non-disclosed, they won’t be available to theses reporting agencies when they update their information databases.