Can I Have My Drug Possession Arrest Record Sealed or Expunged?
You may be worried about the prospect of having a criminal record if you were arrested in Collin County, Texas, on drug possession or similar charges. Fortunately, if the arrest did not result in a conviction or formal prosecution, you may be able to have the arrest removed from your record, either by expunction or by sealing the record. The formal term for sealing the records is an Order of Nondisclosure.
Expunction of an Arrest
Expunction is the process of removing “all records and files” relating to an arrest from a person’s criminal record. Below is a list of some of the circumstances in which one may become expunction eligible:
- Judge or jury tried and acquitted the person—found them not guilty.
- The court charged the person with information and indictment, dismissed the case, and the statute of limitations expired.
- A person receives deferred adjudication on a Class C offense after being charged. Only eligible Class C offenses with deferred adjudication disposition can be expunged. Deferred adjudication on Class B of greater offenses may be eligible for a nondisclosure.
- A judge pardons the person convicted based on “actual innocence” or any other valid reason.
- The person is convicted at trial but subsequently “acquitted by the court of criminal appeals”; or
- The person is arrested but not formally charged with a crime, either via information or an indictment. This particular type of eligibility, and the time frames, are dependent on the type of case and other factors. If you were arrested and not formally charged, consult a qualified attorney.
Order of Nondisclosure
While an expunction completely eliminates any record of an arrest, an Order of Nondisclosure merely seals the record of an arrest to the public. A person may apply for such an order in cases where there has been a successful completion of deferred adjudication. Upon completion of the required probationary period in a misdemeanor case, a person may apply for an order of nondisclosure. Certain categories of misdemeanor offenses require a two-year waiting period from the date of discharge from deferred prior to eligibility to file a Petition for Nondisclosure.
For felony cases, before one may seek an order of Nondisclosure, there is a five-year waiting period from the date of discharge from deferred. If granted, the order means the defendant does not have to disclose the arrest on a job or license application. Law enforcement and any agency in Texas that regulates the licensure of occupations and certain can still access the arrest information since the record is only sealed and not expunged. You should consult a qualified attorney for more details about whether a particular agency may continue to have access to your criminal history even after you obtain a Nondisclosure order.
Get Help From a Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney
A drug arrest is a serious matter. Even a misdemeanor conviction on simple possession can leave a person with a lifelong criminal record. That is why you need to contact an experienced Collin County Drug lawyer if you have been arrested. Contact the offices of Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian if you need to speak with a Prosper, Texas drug crimes attorney immediately.