If a person took their felony or misdemeanor case to trial and was found not guilty the offense for which they were charged, that person can get their criminal expunged. Also, in a felony offense, if the case was no billed (dismissed) by a grand jury for lack of probable cause, that person can also get their criminal record expunged.
Comparing Expunction to Non-Disclosure (Sealing)
The sealing or Non-Disclosure of a Criminal Record is different from the Expunction of a Criminal Record. The Non-Disclosure process mainly applies to those who pled guilty to a criminal offense, received Deferred Adjudication probation and successfully completed it. However, if a person hires a Houston criminal defense attorney, fights their case at trial either before a Judge or a Jury and is found not guilty, that person can get his criminal record expunged. The two other ways that apply for Expunction is when the Grand Jury No Bills the case or the Prosecutor dismisses the case. However, with a dismissal by the prosecutor, the person may have to wait until the statute of limitations passes. With a no bill by the grand jury, the person has the immediate right to get their records expunged.
Contrasting the Effect on the Criminal Record between Expunction and Non-Disclosure
When a criminal record is Expunged, the criminal records cannot be released, maintained or disseminated. In fact, the person who has had their records expunged can legally deny ever having been charged or arrested and can even deny the existence of the expunction order.
By contrast, when a criminal record is sealed (non-disclosure), the person whose record it was is not required to disclosure or mention their criminal record when applying for a job. Because the record is sealed, the public employer will not have access to the criminal record. However, certain state entities may receive the criminal history from a criminal justice agency. These entities include as an example: State Medical Examiners; State Board for Educator Certification; public or non-profit Hospital Districts; Board of Nurses; a School Board District including private and charter schools; and other licensing authorities and State agencies.
Clearly, an Expunction is much better than a Non-Disclosure. For that reason, before you consider a probation or a conviction, talk to a Houston criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate your case, aggressively represent you and whose legal fees are affordable, reasonable and fair. You can call Attorney Jim Sullivan right now at 281-546-6428.