Criminal records do not include only findings of guilt; they also can contain accusations, arrests, deferred adjudications, probations, and guilty charges. Criminal records are kept by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Crime Information Center, and National Crime Information Center. Expunctions are the ideal means to remove matters from the public record. All records of an expunged case are destroyed and by law the person obtaining the expunction is allowed to say that no arrest or charge ever occurred.
Expungement allows for some charges on a criminal record or the entire criminal record to be completely removed. If expungement is successful, an individual may legally deny any occurrence of the arrest and can deny the existence of the expunction order; however, there are extremely limited circumstances where denial of the expunction is not allowed. Without removal, the public is still capable of viewing a record; this includes employers, friends, and family.
Not every individual is eligible to have their record expunged. There are limitations on what types of charges can be removed. Individuals must qualify for expungement and each case needs to be reviewed to determine the qualification of the specific individual.
Non-disclosure is also referred to as sealing records. Non-disclosure does not completely remove crime information from your criminal record like expungement, but it does limit who can and cannot see someone’s criminal record. The Texas Department of Transportation is not allowed to release records to the public if a record has been sealed; however, there are still situations where certain groups in the public community can view a criminal record, but these groups typically have a function that serves an important public function (e.g., lawyers, nurses, etc). No matter what, law enforcement agencies will still be capable of viewing the sealed criminal record.
Not every individual is eligible to have their record sealed. There are limitations on what types of charges can be sealed. Individuals must qualify to seal a criminal record and each case needs to be reviewed to determine the qualification of the specific individual.
The exact language of these laws and further details can be found in Article 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, for expunction, and starting in section 411.081 of the Texas Government Code, for non-disclosure. None of this information can take place of the information, knowledge, and expertise provided by a licensed attorney.