As criminal-defense lawyers in Houston since 1995, we’re asked about sealing criminal records on numerous occasions and have helped hundreds of Houstonians to clear their names. If you would like to discuss your situation with Board Certified® criminal law attorney Mark Bennett, call our office at 713-224-1747.
To be honest, we love to help people in this delicate area of law as it’s very fulfilling to see a person who has turned their life around pursue their second chance. We all make mistakes so we all deserve a second chance, even if it doesn’t happen sometimes.
Criminal Records May Limit Your Potential
With a criminal history anchoring your good name, it can be hard or impossible to take advantage of the many beneficial opportunities you may be presented with in life. A criminal record appearing during background-checks may keep you from realizing the following;
- a new job or career opportunity,
- a promotion or advancement in a current career,
- being certified and licensed in some professions,
- being able to live in some communities,
- being allowed to enroll in institutions of higher learning,
- and being allowed to participate in some civic duties.
Having a criminal record may also make you a suspect if a crime occurs in your home or work environment, and may also hurt your reputation among colleagues. With the explosion of internet access due to wide acceptance of high-end mobile devices, anyone can look up your name and address and find out if you have a criminal record, instantly. Then, put their phone back in their pocket.
Mark & Jennifer Bennett, experienced criminal law attorneys, invite you to reach out to our law firm with any inquiries you may have about sealing your criminal records, or having them removed entirely.
Sealing & Removing Criminal Records
On many occasions, new and former clients have reached out to us with inquiries about potential options to mitigate problems caused by the appearance of criminal records during personal & professional background checks.
Although everyone doesn’t qualify, there are two ways to have adjustments made to the appearance of criminal records and arrests appearing during background screenings; expunction and non-disclosure.
Certificates of Non-Disclosure
When people refer to “criminal record sealing” they’re referring the process of obtaining a “Certificate of Non-Disclosure.” Non-Disclosure doesn’t completely remove a criminal record from your background, but it does seal it from public accessibility.
A person should seek Non-Disclosure if they have completed their deferred-adjudication requirements and have had the criminal charges against them dismissed.
Felony & Misdemeanor cases may qualify for Non-Disclosure. To have a felony criminal record sealed, the defendant must wait five years after completing their deferred-adjudication and/or community supervision requirements.
Some misdemeanor offenders may petition for Non-Disclosure once they’ve completed their deferred-adjudication and/or community supervision requirements. Other misdemeanor offenders must wait two years after completing their deferred-adjudication and/or community supervision requirements to petition for Non-Disclosure.
Listed below are the misdemeanor offenses that require a two-year waiting period
- Abuse of a Corpse
- Advertising for Placement of a Child
- Aiding Suicide
- Cruelty to Animals
- Deadly Conduct
- Destruction of a Flag
- Discharge of a Firearm
- Disorderly Conduct
- Disrupting Meeting or Procession
- Dog Fighting
- False Alarm or Report
- Harboring Runaway Child
- Hoax Bombs
- Indecent Exposure
- Interfering with Emergency Phone Call
- Leaving a Child in a Vehicle
- Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child
- Obstructing a Highway or Other Passageway
- Possession, Manufacture, Repair or Sale of Switchblade Knife or Brass Knuckles
- Public Lewdness
- Silent or Abusive 911 Calls
- Terroristic Threat
- Unlawful Carrying of Gun by License Holder
- Unlawful Carrying Weapons
- Unlawful possession of Firearm
- Unlawful Restraint
- Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons
- Violation of Protective Order Preventing Offense Caused by Bias or Prejudice
Expunction or Expungement
Full removal of a criminal record is referred to as either expunging a criminal record, expunction, or expungement. Both, felony and misdemeanor criminal records can be removed in this manner as long as they qualify.
The expunction process is mainly for people who were charged with a crime only to later have the charge dismissed, acquitted of a crime during trial, or had a conviction overturned.
Offenses That Aren’t Eligible for Sealing
- Indecency with a Child
- Sexual Assault & Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Burglary with Intent to Commit Any Above Offenses
- Compelling Prostitution
- Sexual Performance by a Child
- Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
- Unlawful Restraint, Kidnapping, or Restraint of a Minor
- Attempt, Conspiracy or Solicitation to Commit Any of the Above Offenses
- Murder & Capital Murder Cases
- Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual
- Abandoning or Endangering a Child
- Violation of Protective Order or Magistrate’s Order
- Family Violence & Domestic Assault Cases
Ready to Consult with our Legal Team?
Contact Attorney Mark Bennett
Attorneys Mark & Jennifer Bennett are ready to help you through the process of sealing your criminal records. Although some cases won’t qualify, most times we find that we can do something about the appearance of criminal records on the backgrounds of our clients. If you have any questions or concerns, call us.
Our office is located in Downtown Houston on Franklin Street, steps away from the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. Our phone number is 713-224-1747.