What is the difference between a nondisclosure order and an expunction?
A nondisclosure order instructs courts and law enforcement agencies not to release information regarding your case to the general public. This is one method to “sealing the record.” The general public is places like Home Depot, apartment managers, and banks. The records still exist and law enforcement and certain government agencies can still view the information. Once you get a nondisclosure order, you can legally deny the offense ever occurred when filling out job or apartment applications or discussing your background and it should not show on a background check. If you received a type of probation termed Deferred Adjudication, you most likely are qualified. But also, see above, the law has changed that allows certain misdemeanor convictions to be sealed; this includes some DWI's.
An expunction order causes all records connected with the case to be wiped from the record. The eligibility to get this type of order is more restrictive and narrow. If you went to trial and were found not guilty, you are entitled to it. If your case was dismissed or you were “no billed” by the Grand Jury and the statute of limitations or a certain time period has elapsed, you may be eligible for an expunction. Some people think you can get one if you received deferred adjudication probation. This is only true on most Class C misdemeanors if you received deferred adjudication; a Class C is at the level of a traffic ticket. If you received deferred adjudication on anything above a Class C, you cannot get an expunction, however, you still may eligible for a nondisclosure order as discussed above. Another situation where you may be able to get an expunction is if you successfully completed a Pre-Trial Diversion program. In this case, you may be able to expunge the record right after completing the program. Call us for more information on this.
If you got in trouble as a juvenile and did not get in any additional trouble, you may be able to get that record sealed / expunged. If you do not seal the record, it can still be viewed by law enforcement which includes prosecutors. The general public cannot see it even though it is not sealed because it is a juvenile record. We do not handle juvenile cases but feel free to call us if questions.