Professional And Experienced
About The Attorney
Craig Watkins is the former Elected District Attorney in Dallas County, Texas. He became the first elected African American District Attorney in the State of Texas. Craig served for two terms: 2007-2014. While District Attorney, Craig set out to reform the criminal justice system with his “Smart On Crime” approach to criminal justice. This approach included the examination of wrongful convictions, rehabilitation, education, and employment. Craig created the first ever Conviction Integrity Unit in a District Attorney's Office in the Country. Under Craig's administration 35 men were freed for crimes they did not commit.Learn More
Texas Law Allows Individuals To Have Their Criminal Records Expunged Or Non-Disclosed (Sealed) From Their Records
Expunction and record sealing are two different processes. But when a record is sealed or expunged, most potential employers who conduct background checks, for example, will be prohibited from accessing the information. And, in many cases, once your record has been expunged or sealed you do not have to disclose it. (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article. 55.03; Texas Government Code § 411.0755A)
Do You Qualify?
Eligibility For An Expunction
Your criminal record may be eligible for expunction if you were arrested for a misdemeanor or felony and:
You Were Acquitted At Trial
You Were Convicted And Subsequently Pardoned Or Found Innocent
You Were Charged But The Case Against You Was Dismissed And The Statute Of Limitations Has Expired
Not Formally Charged
You Were Not Formally Charged With A Crime And Satisfy The Required Waiting Period (Described Below)
If you were arrested and not charged with a crime, Texas law requires you to wait a certain period of time before applying for expunction. The waiting periods vary depending on the severity of the crime for which you were arrested and are as follows:
Class C Misdemeanor
180 days from the date of your arrest
Class A Or B Misdemeanor
One year from the date of your arrest
Three years from the date of your arrest
Do You Qualify?
Eligibility To Have Criminal Record Non-Disclosed (Sealed)
Your criminal record may be eligible for sealing under an order of nondisclosure if you pled guilty or no contest to a crime and were placed on deferred adjudication community supervision, meaning that:
The Judge Deferred Proceedings Without Finding You Guilty
The Judge Placed You Under Cout Supervision
At The End Of Your Period Of Supervision Dismissed The Proceedings Against You
There is a five-year waiting period for felonies and a two-year waiting period for serious misdemeanors. (Texas Government Code §§ 411.0715, 411.0725)
Additionally, most misdemeanor convictions are eligible for sealing. If your punishment consisted of a fine only, there is no waiting period. Otherwise, you must wait two years after you have successfully completed your sentence to apply to have your record sealed. (Texas Government Code §§ 411.073, 411.0735)
However, some crimes are never eligible for sealing under an order of disclosure, including:
(See Texas Government Code § 411.074 for the full list of disqualifying crimes.)
- Any Crime That Requires You To Register As A Sex Offender
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Human Trafficking
- Child Endangerment or Abandonment
- Any Family Violence Crime
What To Expect
How Long Does It Take?
There's no reason you wouldn't want a damaging arrest off your record as quickly as possible. But the legal process involved in expunction and non-disclosure does take a little time. Calculating your waiting period is a fairly technical process. Using our first time DWI example, again, that person would have to wait either two years or five years to request a seal on their record, depending on whether or not they did probation with a “deep lung breath test device” (“ignition interlock”) for at least six months. Calculating your date of eligibility can be tricky even for experienced expungement attorneys.
A hearing appointment will usually take at least 30 days after a request, generally longer. If your petition is granted, agencies can take up to 12 months to destroy the records, but are much quicker to seal them. However, if you need an expunction or seal faster, then let us know and we will expedite the process.
Typically, you should expect an expunction to take 60-90 days before your record begins to clear up in background checks. Non-disclosure can be almost immediate, but some private companies may not update their records without being specifically informed of the order.
Getting your criminal record or writing a non-disclosure order can be a complicated and confusing process. But you can provide the best opportunity to get the date of your hearing as soon as possible by working with us.
Some individuals require an expunction or order of nondisclosure in order to better search for employment, get married, or do a number of important tasks, or repair credit. The sooner the legal process begins, the better chance an individual will have with returning to or getting on with their lives.
Professional And Experienced
Why Choose Craig Watkins
Excellent Track Record
Years of experience and success in multiple areas of practice.
Upfront pricing and fees.
Unparalleled Customer Service
"Once A Client, Always A Client".