This guide is an introduction to juvenile record clearing in New Braunfels and Central Texas. An individual can remove some Texas juvenile criminal records. Eligibility determines the action, meaning what a person can seal, expunge, or non-disclose from their criminal history.
Where to Start?
First, your attorney must understand your criminal history. Second, they must determine whether you were a juvenile or an adult when the offense occurred.
Who is a juvenile?
In common usage, a juvenile may mean 16 years old and under, 18 years old and under; or 21 years old and younger. However, a juvenile is ten to sixteen years old under Texas law. An adult is seventeen and older. Sealing of records governs clearing offenses that occurred as a juvenile. Expunction and nondisclosure are the two main mechanisms to clear an adult conviction.
Expunction, nondisclosure, and sealing of records legally entitle a person to deny that the arrest occurred. All three remedies hide the record from the public.
A Summary of the Three Action
Expunction, defined by chapter 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, basically applies to cases dismissed without punishment, pardoned by the governor, or acquitted by a jury. It also applies to a completed deferred adjudication on a Class C misdemeanor.
Expunction is a right; if the person is eligible, a judge does not have the discretion to deny an expunction. Expunction is the most powerful remedy of the three mechanisms and results in the erasure of a record.
A person is eligible for nondisclosure if they completed a deferred sentence on a crime punishable by jail time. Some misdemeanors can be non-disclosed immediately after completion of community supervision; some misdemeanors require a two-year waiting period. Felonies require a five-year waiting period. Some offenses, like crimes involving family violence, are not eligible for nondisclosure. A judge has discretion whether to grant or deny a nondisclosure—such an order hides a record from the public. However, this action does not destroy the record, and several entities designated by the legislature can see a non-disclosed record. Section 411.081 of the Texas Government Code describes nondisclosure.
3. Sealing of Records
Texas law governs sealing a juvenile record. Sealing of records results in a sealed juvenile record with the clerk of the court. It is not as strong as expunction but stronger than nondisclosure. Sealing of records is also available for more dispositions than expunction and nondisclosure. While an adult conviction can never be expunged or nondisclosed, a judge can seal many juvenile crimes.
Contact me for a free case review if you want to clear a juvenile criminal record in Comal County or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County.