Expunctions and Nondisclosures

Criminal Offenses

Expunctions (expungements) and Nondisclosures (sealing) are procedures that a previous offender can use to clean up his or her criminal history records. We know that criminal history records can adversely affect job searches, education admission, professional licenses, and credit scores.

In the state of Texas, an expunction can be used to permanently remove entries from an adult criminal history record, but its usage is very limited and can only apply to some offenses. Nondisclosures, on the other hand, conceal specific offenses from public disclosure such that they don’t appear in public and private background searches. However, sealed offenses are still visible to criminal justice agencies, licensing agencies, and certain government entities.
In both cases, after a request for expunction or nondisclosure is granted, individuals are not required by law to disclose the offense during job applications or anywhere else. Only in a criminal proceeding—where an individual is under oath—is he or she required to disclose the offense and explain that it was cleared from the criminal record.

Expunction Specifics

Expunctions are preferred over Nondisclosures because it permanently removes an entry from a criminal history record. However, it can only be used sparingly and only applies to select specific cases. Expunctions can only be applied in the following cases:

deferred adjudication for Class C misdemeanors

cases where an individual was acquitted of the charges

cases where charges were dismissed

convictions that were pardoned

cases where an individual was never formally charged with a crime

A deferred adjudication is a privilege granted usually to first-time offenders charged with misdemeanors where a person pleads guilty to the offense and the judge defers a finding of guilt. Class C misdemeanors are the lowest level of non-traffic offenses, which never results in jail time, but only a fine of up to $500.

Application for Expunctions should be filed in the arresting county along with a fingerprint card from the Department of Public Safety. The clerk from the arresting country will then notify the Department of Public Safety and schedule a court hearing no earlier than 30 days from the date of filing. Close relatives of someone who recently passed away may also file an expunction request on behalf of the deceased.

Nondisclosures Specifics

In cases where an expunction cannot be availed, Nondisclosures are still a good alternative because they ensure that the offense an individual has committed will not negatively affect his or her search for a job, credit scores, and others. Nondisclosures seals an offense from appearing in public and private background searches.

Automatic nondisclosure applies to first-time misdemeanors that were dismissed and discharged after August 31, 2017. If all requirements are met, the judge must order nondisclosure once six months have passed after the date an individual was placed on deferred adjudication. A filing for nondisclosure in such cases is not required. However, prudence dictates that the concerned individual should make sure that the court has done so.
There is a long list of eligible offenses in combination with specific circumstances that are eligible for nondisclosure via a petition. This is where the services of a lawyer are indispensable, as he can help individuals navigate through the different regimes that apply for different cases of nondisclosure petitions

Choose a Houston Criminal Lawyer That Will Advocate For You

As a Houston criminal lawyer that espouses compassion and open-mindedness, Joaquin Jimenez has a soft spot for first-time petty crime offenders. He believes–as the law also provides – that they deserve a second chance to start anew without the baggage of their previous shortcomings. If you or someone you know qualifies for an expunction or nondisclosure procedure, choose Joaquin Jimenez. Call us now to schedule an appointment.

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When you’re in the middle of a legal case, the right lawyer can change its entire trajectory. We will do all we can to advocate for your rights and achieve favorable outcomes.


Joaquin Jimenez is a Houston-based attorney specializing in crime and personal injury. Being in the middle of a legal battle is not easy, but The Law Office of Joaquin Jimenez is here to advocate for you and protect your rights.