As a Houston Criminal Lawyer I get asked this question routinely..."what is the difference between an expungement and a motion for non disclosure?" This is like comparing gold and silver Both are precious metals, but one is more sought after and harder to obtain. Similarly, an expungement is more sought after and much harder to get then a motion for non disclosure.
First, you are only able to get an expungement if your criminal case was dismissed. There are essentially two ways that your cases are dismissed. A prosecutor may choose to dismiss your case or a grand jury may refuse to indict your case. Most people believe that once their case is dismissed the case is expunged. This is incorrect. In fact, once your case is dismissed you must wait until the statute of limitations has expired. Once the statute of limitations has expired you are able to file the expungement petition with the local district court of the county where the case was heard.
If you are found not guilty at trial your case is typically expunged automatically by the court. Your trial attorney should explain this process to you. Our firm provides this service at no additional cost to you.
The least common way that people get their cases expunged is after successfully completing a class "c" deferred adjudication. Again, you must wait until the statute of limitations has expired to file for an expungement of your criminal arrest.
The best thing of getting the expungement is that you can legally state that you have never been arrested. Your record is wiped clean!!!
Conversely, you may get a motion for non disclosure even if your case was not dismissed. The only way to qualify for a motion for non disclosure is if you have successfully completed a deferred adjudication. Most misdemeanors qualify for a motion for non disclosure immediately. There are some misdemeanors that are ineligible for a motion for non disclosure. The most common misdemeanor that is ineligible for a motion for non disclosure is the crime of family violence assault.
Similarly, most felony cases may be eligible for a motion non disclosure, but you must wait at least two years after completion of the deferred adjudication. There are lot more felony crimes that ineligible for a motion for non disclosure. For instance, any crime that involves sexual registration would be ineligible for a motion for non disclosure.
Once the motion for non disclosure is granted by the court it keeps the general public from discovering your criminal history. This allows a lot of people better job opportunities, better credit, and rent an apartment .
Despite having a motion for non disclosure granted law enforcement and other government agencies will have access to your criminal history. Regrettably, this prevents a lot of people from obtaining or keeping those type of jobs.
If you need assistance with clearing your record in Houston, Harris County, Texas please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website.