Being accused of a crime is a harrowing experience for anyone. Not only will a person have to contend with the prosecution, he or she will have to deal with the social fallout of being accused of a crime.
If a person pleads guilty or is convicted of a crime, he or she faces additional challenges. Aside from the social stigma associated with criminal conviction, there are employment challenges, as well. Often, an employer will perform a background check to determine whether a candidate or potential candidate committed a crime. Just the thought of a potential employer conducting a background check keeps many people away from even looking for a job.
Determining and finding criminal convictions are as easy as ever. There are a number of companies located throughout the world that specialize in obtaining this type of information. An employer need merely contact these companies and provide a name and in a few days have information discussing brushes with law enforcement.
Therefore, if you have been convicted of a crime or entered a guilty plea to a crime, you may be able to seal the record associated with your conviction wherein potential employers may not have access to such information.
To seal a criminal record, one must obtain a non-disclosure order from a Texas court. Note that it is not easy to obtain such an order. A non-disclosure order bars the police and courts from disclosing criminal records.
To be eligible for a non-disclosure order, one must satisfy the following six conditions:
The court placed the convicted individual on “deferred adjudication” supervision. A deferred adjudication is a probation process that is ordered by a judge. It provides the defendant with a chance to plead guilty but the judge does not enter a guilty plea; instead, the judge defers the case subject to the defendant completing prescribed requirements of the probation.
One must have completed the deferred adjudication. Upon completion, the deferred adjudication only shows an arrest but does not show guilt even though the defendant admitted to guilt. See above.
The offense in question must be one that is subject to deferred adjudication.
The applicant must have no disqualifying criminal history. For instance, a convicted sex offender who may otherwise qualify for an order of non-disclosure will not qualify because the sex offense disqualifies him or her from the non-disclosure order.
The person applying for a non-disclosure order must wait a prescribed statutory time before applying for an order of non-disclosure. For felonies, it is a five-year wait period from the time of discharge and for a misdemeanor it is typically two years from the time of discharge.
There must be no other convictions since the time of the offense. Note that a fine-only offense is not considered a disqualifying conviction for this element.
Accused of a crime? Guilty of a crime but looking for the best deal to allow you to get your life on track? Contact the criminal defense firm of Christopher Abel.
(image courtesy of Scott Webb)