If you have been arrested in Collin County, Texas, on drug possession or similar charges, you may be worried about the prospect of having a criminal record. Fortunately, if the arrest did not result in a conviction or formal prosecution, you may be able to have the arrest removed from your record, either by expunction or by sealing the record. The formal term for sealing the records is an Order of Nondisclosure.
Expunction of an Arrest
Expunction is the process of removing “all records and files” relating to an arrest from a person’s criminal record. Below is a list of some of the circumstances in which one may become expunction eligible:
- The person is tried and acquitted—found not guilty—by judge or jury;
- The person is charged by information and indictment, the case is dismissed, and the statute of limitations has run.
- The person is charged but receives deferred adjudication on a Class C offense. Note that only deferred adjudication disposition for Class C offenses are eligible to be expunged. Deferred adjudication on Class B of greater offenses may be eligible for a nondisclosure.
- The person is convicted but subsequently receives a pardon (here is the pardon applications procedure) based on “actual innocence” or any other valid reason;
- The person is convicted at trial but subsequently “acquitted by the court of criminal appeals”; or
- The person is arrested but not formally charged with a crime, either via an information or an indictment. This particular type of eligibility, and the time frames, are dependent on the type of case and other factors. You should consult a qualified attorney if you were arrested and not formally charged.
Order of Nondisclosure
While an expunction completely eliminates any record of an arrest, an Order of Nondisclosure merely seals the record of an arrest to the public. A person may apply for such an order in cases where there has been a successful completion of deferred adjudication. Upon completion of the required probationary period in a misdemeanor case, a person may apply for an order of nondisclosure. Certain categories of misdemeanor offenses require a two year waiting period from the date of discharge from deferred prior to eligibility to file a Petition for Nondisclosure. For felony cases, before one may seek an order of Nondisclosure, there is a five year waiting period from the date of discharge from deferred. If granted, the order means the defendant does not have to disclose the arrest on a job or license application. However, since the record is only sealed and not expunged, the arrest information is still available to law enforcement and any agency in Texas that regulates the licensure of occupations and certain other entities. You should consult a qualified attorney for more details about whether a particular agency may continue to have access to your criminal history even after you obtain a Nondisclosure order.
Get Help From a Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney
A drug arrest is a serious matter. Even a misdemeanor conviction on simple possession can leave a person with a lifelong criminal record. That is why you need to contact an experienced Collin County Drug lawyer if you have been arrested. Contact the offices of Rosenthal & Wadas if you need to speak with a Prosper, Texas drug crimes attorney immediately.