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Record Expungement & Sealing
Attorney Serving San Antonio, Texas

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If you have ever been arrested for an offense that was either dismissed, acquitted, or reduced to a Class C misdemeanor, you may be eligible to have that incident permanently erased or sealed. Due to the Texas Open Records Act, arrest records can be accessed by the public for things like employment background checks, apartment leasing checks, lenders, adoption background checks, etc. This means landlords, future employers, lending companies, and others can discover any prior criminal conduct by simply searching for your name at the courthouse or on-line with several web-based criminal record database companies. Unfortunately, once many of these people find out about your past legal problems, they may be reluctant to do business with you.

Give yourself a fresh start and get your case expunged. Once expunged, your criminal record, including fingerprints, booking photo, arrest report, local county records and DPS records, are all completely erased, as if it never happened.

Note: If you are eligible for an Expunction, you should contact an attorney to make sure that it is done right. If you are unsure if you qualify, contact the Law Office of Juan Carlos Hernández, P.C.

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Petitions for Non-Disclosure

For those who are not eligible for an expunction, the next best thing to protect your reputation is an Order of Non-Disclosure. A person who has successfully completed deferred adjudication probation may be able to obtain an order of non-disclosure from the court. Although it is not a total erasure order like an expunction, a non-disclosure order prevents government agencies from publicly disclosing criminal history information resulting from the offense. The criminal offense will determine whether a person is entitled to an order of nondisclosure and, if so when such an order can be obtained.

For most misdemeanors, a person may file a petition for an order of nondisclosure immediately after the discharge from probation and dismissal of the offense. However, some misdemeanors require a defendant to wait five years from the date of the discharge and dismissal of the misdemeanor offense. Those offenses include: unlawful restraint, public lewdness, indecent exposure, assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, disorderly conduct, harassment, unlawful carrying of a firearm, obstructing a highway or another passageway, and interference with an emergency telephone call, stalking, and bigamy. During this five-year period, the applicant must not have received anything more than a citation for a fine-only type traffic offense.

For most felony offenses, the applicant must wait five years from the date of the discharge and dismissal of the felony offense.

Not all defendants who successfully complete deferred adjudication probation are entitled to an order of non-disclosure. A person is not eligible if he/she has ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for: an offense requiring registration as a sex offender, aggravated kidnapping, murder, capital murder, injury to a child/elderly/disabled individual, abandoning or endangering a child, violations of a protective order or magistrate's order, or any offense involving family violence.

Obtaining an order of non-disclosure is very advantageous. A person who receives an order of nondisclosure may deny ever having been arrested or prosecuted for the offense unless the information is being used against the person in a subsequent criminal proceeding. However, an order of non-disclosure does not require the government to destroy the information. The information may be released to criminal justice agencies, non-criminal justice agencies authorized by statute or executive order to receive criminal history record information, and the person who is the subject of the criminal history information.

Private entities that compile and disseminate for compensation criminal history record information may not release information regarding an offense protected by an order of non-disclosure. A district court may issue a warning to a private entity for a first violation but faces a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each subsequent violation. The Attorney General or District Attorneys' office may sue to collect.

Note: If you are eligible for an Expunction or a Petition for Non-Disclosure, you should contact an attorney to make sure that it is done right. If you are unsure if you qualify, contact the Law Office of Juan Carlos Hernández, P.C.