At the time of writing this, the nation is enduring the onset of Covid-19 and the lockdown of most businesses and society, including school. It is, figuratively, a giant painful reset of everything we have become used to in society. There is no football to watch on TV, no restaurants to relax and enjoy with friends. For many people it has meant the loss of their employment, even in situations where an individual has worked a job for years. Restaurants and other businesses have laid off employees in droves, forcing many to apply for unemployment that they never expected. But eventually it will all pass. Society will trickle back and reassemble, and businesses will start to rehire again.
The downside is that when the rehiring begins, there will be millions of people in the applicant pool, and companies will have a fresh look at staffing their businesses. This is where an Austin expunction lawyer can help you. Applicants who have had criminal charges or convictions will be at a disadvantage in the new hiring process in comparison to those with clean records. Even something as minor as a public intoxication ticket or disorderly conduct could be looked over in favor of others with no history. For this reason, now is the time to clean up your appearance with an Expunction or Non-Disclosure (“sealing”) of your criminal history.
You may have no idea how your old charge was resolved other than “it went away.” That is not an answer you should give to a prospective employer. Businesses often pay for background checks, which can show not only convictions but also the record that you were charged with an offense or ticket, even if it was dismissed. If you had a theft ticket in college, an employer may not care that it was dismissed as much as the fact that you were charged in the first place. This is where an Expunction or Non-Disclosure comes into play, and you may be eligible for more than you realize.
You may ask, how can I get my record expunged in Texas? To be more specific, when you get a charge or citation there are many different parties who maintain your information. If it was a ticket, those include the police agency who charged or arrested you, the municipal or JP court who handles the case, the city or county prosecutor’s office, and the record-keeping division of the Texas DPS. If you had an actual arrest then add pretrial services, the jail and sheriff’s office, the court and prosecuting office, the court clerks, and possibly others. If the judge or prosecutor dismisses your case you will not have a conviction, however all of the aforementioned information will still exist. When an employer finds that information you can say that it was dismissed, but if you expunge it or seal it you can avoid mentioning it at all.
Expunction is the best option overall because it directs all entities that have your information to destroy it. You’ll need a lawyer if you need expunction in Williamson County or any county near Austin. After an expunction the entities will no longer have your record, nor will they have any way to reference it. However, expunctions are available only in certain circumstances. Most expunctions of criminal charges require that the charges be fully dismissed, and that you cannot have had a supervised probation (i.e., one where you had to report to an officer). Dismissals, court diversion, and deferred prosecution are common examples of resolutions that allow for expunction. Outside of these, many class C misdemeanors (tickets) are expungible regardless of how it ended, but there are specific rules as to eligibility so you should consult an expunction lawyer.
Non-Disclosure is commonly referred to as “sealing” and is less complete than an expunction. With a Non-Disclosure all the agencies with your information are ordered NOT to disclose it to the general public. Your records will still exist but only specific State-affiliated entities can see it. DPS is not allowed to produce it for a background check, and the court system will no longer display your information in public. Non-Disclosures are available in many more situations than Expunctions. If you completed a deferred adjudication probation, whether it was a felony or misdemeanor, you are likely eligible for sealing. There are many charges that are specifically excluded from non-disclosure, but there are also many cases you can seal even if you were actually convicted. The type of case and your personal criminal history are used to determine your eligibility, so you should definitely contact a non-disclosure lawyer to see what you can do.
A Non-Disclosure or Expunction is one of the best things you can do for yourself during this break in society. If you have any old criminal history and would like to see about going forward with a clean slate, please contact Rhett or Brian for a free consultation. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.