What Charges Can Never Be Sealed?

February 21st, 2013 at 9:11 pm

An order of non-disclosure is used to remove criminal records from public view if the person has completed deferred adjudication probation.  Once deferred adjudication is over, the charge is dismissed, but the record remains visible.  However, not all charges are created equal.  The following is a list of charges that can never be sealed from public view:

    • Indecency with a child
    • Sexual assault
    • Aggravated sexual assault
    • Prohibited sexual conduct (incest)
    • Aggravated kidnapping
    • Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit any of the above offenses
    • Compelling prostitution
    • Sexual performance by a child
    • Possession or promotion of child pornography
    • Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping of a person younger than 17 years of age
    • Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses
    • Capital murder
    • Murder
    • Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
    • Abandoning or endangering a child
    • Violation of protective order or magistrate’s order
    • Stalking
    • Any other offense involving family violence

But wait, it gets worse.  If you have ever taken deferred adjudication or received a conviction on any of these charges in your past, you are never entitled to non-disclose any future charges.  For example, a 2005 Family Violence charge for which you received deferred adjudication will stop you from sealing a 2010 Possession of Marijuana.  However, it will not stop you from obtaining an expunction on any charges, past or future, that were dismissed.

If you have taken deferred aadjudication for a charge which is not on this list and are interested in obtaining an order of non-disclosure in Texas, call for your free phone consultation.

How Long Do I Have To Wait To Seal A Felony?

February 11th, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Texas law allows a person to seal, or non-disclose, a charge for which they completed a term of deferred adjudication.  There are exceptions to this rule, so always consult with an experienced non-disclosure attorney to see what your options might be.

For most misdemeanors, there is no waiting period to seal a deferred adjudication charge.  However, there is a two-year wait on the following charges, and the clock doesn’t start ticking until your probation is finished and the case is dismissed:

      • Abuse of corpse
      • Advertising for placement of child
      • Aiding suicide
      • Assault
      • Bigamy
      • Cruelty to animals
      • Deadly conduct
      • Destruction of flag
      • Discharge of firearm
      • Disorderly conduct
      • Disrupting meeting or procession
      • Dog fighting
      • False alarm or report
      • Harassment
      • Harboring runaway child
      • Hoax bombs
      • Indecent exposure
      • Interference with emergency telephone call
      • Leaving a child in a vehicle
      • Making a firearm accessible to a child
      • Obstructing highway or other passageway
      • Possession, manufacture, transport, repair or
      • sale of switchblade knife or knuckles
      • Public lewdness
      • Riot
      • Silent or abusive calls to 9-1-1 service
      • Terroristic threat
      • Unlawful carrying of handgun by license holder
      • Unlawful carrying weapons
      • Unlawful possession of firearm
      • Unlawful restraint
      • Unlawful transfer of certain weapons
      • Violation of protective order preventing offense
      • caused by bias or prejudice

For felonies the wait is five years before you can petition to seal a deferred adjudication.  Again, the probation must be completed and the case dismissed prior to the five-year countdown beginning.

An order of non-disclosure is never a guaranteed procedure since they are always left to the judge’s discretion.  Make sure to hire an attorney who is experienced in arguing non-disclosures to increase the chances of having yours granted.

 

 

 

Can I Seal More Than One Deferred Adjudication?

February 9th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

It’s a common misconception that the dismissal that comes with successfully completing deferred adjudication means that the record “goes away.”  The record never goes away and an expuntion or order of non-disclosure on charges is never automatic.

An order of non-disclosure, or record seal, may be an option on charges that are Class B misdemeanors and higher–  Class C tickets can be expunged in Texas.  Not all deferred adjudication charges can be sealed, though, and some of them require a waiting period.  Check with an experienced non-disclosure attorney to make sure that you qualify.

Often times a client is in the situation of having more than one case that is eligible for expunction, either because they picked up charges and completed deferred adjudication several years apart, or because they were granted concurrent deferred adjudication probations on charges that occurred at or around the same time.

If you successfully completed your deferred adjudication without being placed on probation during the waiting period, if any, then you can petition the court to sealed all of the non-adjudicated charges.

Can you put more than one charge on a petition for non-disclosure to save money?  No, you cannot.  The County Clerk and District Clerk raise money by charging to file petitions and they’re not about to allow you to put more than one cause number on a petition for non-disclosure if the legislature doesn’t force them to do it.  But look on the bright side, if you have more than one dismissed charge due to deferred adjudication, the attorneys of Ross|Hurd can evaluate your case and get you started down the path to having a clear criminal history if you qualify.  Call today for your free consultation over the phone.

Best Valentine’s Gift 2013

February 2nd, 2013 at 4:51 pm

February 14th is right around the corner and what better way to show that special someone how much you care than by clearing their old criminal record.  Ross|Hurd, PLLC clients report that expunging or sealing their arrest record was the best decision they ever made for their future.  Many of those clients had a loved one pay for that invaluable service, so if you’re scrambling for a gift for your Valentine, look no further.

There is no greater sign of affection than to show an interest in a person’s future well being.  Chocolates and flowers are fleeting, and are often forgotten the moment they are gone.  Freeing a loved one from the burden of carrying a criminal record around is a gesture that will be remembered and treasured forever.

The attorneys at Ross|Hurd, PLLC can tell you in just a few minutes over the phone what your loved one might qualify for.  Whether it be an expunction or non-disclosure, they will have more career opportunities open up to them instantly.  A competitive job market and high-unemployment make every job that much more difficult to get.  When you add the additional burden of explaining an old arrest, it makes a difficult task nearly impossible.  The attorneys at Ross|Hurd, PLLC make it their business to allow your loved one to reach their potential, and provide for themselves and their family in the best way they can.  Call Ross|Hurd, PLLC today for a free phone consultation and find out how they can make this Valentine’s Day the best ever for your special someone.

How Much Does An Expunction Cost In Texas?

January 30th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

The answer is:  it depends on who you’re talking to.  If you call an attorney who doesn’t practice in expunction law you might be quoted $500 and weeks later receive a phone call notifying you that you’ll have to pay another thousand dollars because they did not price the service correctly.  Or you might be quoted $3,000 by a civil attorney who has no idea what they’re doing, but they aren’t going to do it for cheap.

An experienced expunction attorney knows that the going-rate for an expunction in Texas $1,500.  Some counties are more and some counties are less; some courts are also more or less.  The kicker, though, is that some attorneys will tell you $1,500 and then ask you to pay the filing and certification fees, which raises the price up by another $350 to $500.

At Ross|Hurd we have one price for local, uncontested expunctions:  $1,400.  We undercut our competition by $100 and let you keep the savings.  Our price includes all filing fees and there are no surprise phone calls down the road to ask for more money.  If a surprise charge pops up, we pay for it ourselves.

Give us a call today and see if you qualify for the cheapest expunction in town.

Can I Handle My Own Expunction?

January 25th, 2013 at 7:49 am

We received a call the other day from a man who wanted to know if his original lawyer is obligated to represent him on clearing his record for free because, “Isn’t it just a matter of dropping off some papers?”

So you’re wondering how to handle your own expunction or non-disclosure, huh?  It’s not impossible, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who isn’t an attorney or paralegal familiar with handling hybrid criminal/civil motions, which means most attorneys and paralegals shouldn’t even represent themselves on an expunction.

Firstly, you have to know whether you are qualified for an expunction, a non-disclosure, or nothing at all.  Most people do not know the answer to this question when they call our offices because it’s not as cut and dry as it seems.

Secondly, you have to know where to file.  There is some confusion when a person was arrested in one county, transferred their probation to another, but they now live out of state.

Then you have to draft petitions that track the statute and the statue changes every-other year.  You have to be able to conceptually visualize the custody chain of your records to know who to serve because if you don’t serve the right agencies, they’ll never know about your expunction and some of them have the right to fight it.  If the District Attorney or Department of Public Safety notifies you that they are going to contest it,  which was increasingly common in 2012 due to some new case law, you have to prepare for a hearing.  If it’s a non-disclosure you might have to prepare for oral argument to win it, especially in smaller counties.

Once all of this is done you have to know what to do with the paperwork.  Seems easy, right?  I know people who handled their own expunction and then dropped the ball right at the end, not knowing what to do with the paperwork.  Over the years they lost their signed court order.  Their only remedy is to start all over.

Our advice?  Call an experienced expunction attorney and have the job done right the first time.  You are always welcome to represent yourself in court but a job that takes an attorney ten hours might take you forty hours to accomplish.  It’s money well spent.

 

 

Should I Bother To Expunge My Record?

January 18th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

A question people often ask is this:  If I have two dismissed cases and a conviction, should I bother to expunge my dismissed cases when the conviction can’t be erased?  Isn’t that a waste of money?  Would it even make a difference?

Yes, no, and yes.  Yes, you should always make the investment to expunge whatever eligible cases can be expunged.  If you have multiple cases in one county that can be expunged, an experienced expunction attorney is not going to charge per case.  They’re going to charge per petition, so it doesn’t cost you more money to tack on more cases as long as they are in one county.

No, it is not ever a waste of money to invest in your future.  The difference between a minimum wage job and a $15/hr job adds up to millions over the lifetime of a career.

Yes, it makes a difference.  It’s the difference between having an explainable conviction in your past versus having a rap sheet.  Someone running your background does not want to decipher a rap sheet.

Having multiple dismissed cases on your record doesn’t make you look like a more honest or dependable employee because they’re dismissed.  It makes you look like a person who gets arrested a lot and has to miss work.

If you have dismissed cases or cases that you completed deferred adjudication probation on, call the top-ranked Austin and San Antonio expunction attorneys to help you today.

Tax Refund: Invest In Yourself

January 9th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

It is that time of year again:  where the federal government kindly returns to us a portion of the money that they confiscated throughout the previous year.  For many, it is money that will be spent on new toys or old debt.  For a smart few it’s an investment in themselves and their future.  An expunction or non-disclosure of an old arrest record is perhaps the best use of extra cash because it can turn itself into much more cash for you down the road.  Many people are unemployed or underemployed simply because an old arrest is showing up on a background check.  An expunction or non-disclosure erases that arrest from employers’ view and allows you to check the “No” box when a job application asks if you have ever been arrested.

A person can lose millions of dollars over the course of a career if they are not maximizing their skills and potential in the best job possible.  The sad fact is that old arrests are still an area in our society where employers can legally discriminate.  You might be the best person for the job by far, with the most experience and knowledge, but you will still not be hired in most cases where an old arrests pops up on a background search.

We advise you to use your new found money wisely.  Put your tax refund to work for you now and stop being held back by an old mistake.  The attorneys at Ross|Hurd, PLLC can quickly tell you at no cost whether you qualify.  Many employers now know that a pending expunction is as good as one that has already been cleared.

New Year’s Resolution Idea 2012 to 2013

December 31st, 2012 at 9:21 am

The new year offers opportunities for personal and career advancement. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to get out of debt or spend more quality time with your family, we can help you reach those goals if an old arrest record is standing between you and real financial success.  If you were arrested and have not yet taken the steps to seal or expunge your criminal record, let the new year be your motivation to finally clear your name.

You are doing yourself a disservice by not clearing your criminal history.  Every day technology makes it easier for potential employers and landlords to find your arrest record.  When they read your history, they have no idea what the facts were or whether you were guilty or innocent.  They just know that you were arrested and they don’t want to start their new year by hiring or renting to a “criminal.”

The expunction and non-disclosure process is uncomplicated in many cases.  You will either qualify or you won’t.  An experienced expunction attorney can usually quickly tell you what you qualify for and if they believe it will not be challenged.  Many counties do not even require you to appear–  your Ross|Hurd attorneys handle all of the pleadings and filings.  Don’t put this off another year, or another month, or another day.  Our clients tell us that they feel better about their life the moment they begin the expunction process, knowing that finally they are taking control of their own future.  Call Ross|Hurd, PLLC today to begin your new year the right way.

Least Expensive Expunction Lawyer in Town

December 23rd, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Expunctions typically cost between $1,500 and $1,900 but for the next 8 days the firm of Ross|Hurd, PLLC is offering to conduct uncontested expunctions in Austin, Hays, Comal and Guadalupe counties for only $985.  This price is all-inclusive of the filing and certification fees–  there are no surprises.  The sale is over January 1.

If you’re looking for a fresh start in 2013, calling Ross|Hurd is the first step to passing your background check.  Call or send us a note seven days a week.