If you have had a run-in with the law, you are probably wondering if your criminal record clears after a certain amount of time.
Some people have the misconception that their criminal record will “clear” after a period of 7 years. This is a misnomer. Although your criminal record does not automatically clear after 7 years, you can take steps to have your case expunged or your record sealed.
At the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, we know what matters most. We would like to discuss what types of offenses are placed on a criminal record, the differences between expunging and sealing a record, and eligibility for both options.
A criminal record will provide a list of your criminal history and any interactions that you have had with law enforcement agencies. If you need to access court records, you will contact the court where the case was heard. If you need to access your criminal record, you can contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS).
The following entries will be placed on a criminal record:
*Also known as probation, the defendant accepts responsibility for a crime without an actual conviction being placed on their record. It is part of a plea bargain before conviction or sentencing, but it can only be ordered by a judge.
The following are some examples of crimes that will be included on a criminal record:
Any encounters with the law will stay on your criminal record for life. Although it does not automatically clear 7 years, there are ways that you can keep the information away from the public eye.
Eligibility for either will depend on the type of offense and type of probation that is ordered. Both are intended to clean up a person’s record of criminal history.
An expunction means that you permanently remove entries from your criminal history record. You may be eligible to expunge felony and misdemeanor arrests.
An expunction destroys all records related to your charge. It essentially “erases” the record of the crime as if it never occurred. However, if you have been convicted or received probation, then you will not be able to expunge the crime from your record.
If the court grants you either an expunction or nondisclosure, you are not required to disclose the associated offense on a job application.
In Texas, the following are eligible for expunction:
However, you will be unable to expunge arrests that arise out of child support payments, contempt of court, or other civil penalties.
If you “seal” your record, also known as a nondisclosure, you will be hiding certain offenses from public viewing. Unlike an expunction, it does not remove the incident from your criminal record.
Even after a nondisclosure has been filed, there are certain groups that will still be able to see it, including criminal justice agencies, licensing agencies, and non-criminal justice agencies, such as the Texas Medical Board, Texas Board of Law Examiners, and the Texas Education Agency.
To qualify for a nondisclosure, you must meet the following requirements:
If you are unsure whether you qualify for an expunction or nondisclosure, an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer will be able to assist you. We have helped many clients in similar circumstances and will be able to advise you accordingly.
For an expunction, you will have to adhere to the following waiting periods:
If any charges were brought against you, you must wait out the statute of limitations for every crime for which you were arrested before filing for an expunction.
For a nondisclosure, the waiting period to file will depend on your offense:
Being arrested or charged with an offense can be daunting. One mistake should not change your future plans. Thankfully, there are circumstances in which you may be able to erase or seal your record to prevent future employers from seeing it.
When your future is on the line, hire the best. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.