Daniel Peugh is a former Chief Prosecutor for the Denton County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. He has an insider’s knowledge of local Judges, Prosecutors, and Probation Officers. At The Peugh Law Firm we try cases and we get jury verdicts. Our ability to make our case before judges and juries benefits all of our clients at every level of representation. Most of our clients do not go to trial. Still, the plea bargain offers our clients receive are based in large part on what the prosecutors know we can do if the case goes to trial.

Contact Daniel K. Peugh, Attorney at Law today 940.566 0271

CLEARING CRIMINAL RECORDS

Do I Have a Record?

You have a criminal record if you have ever been arrested. Even if the case was dismissed, your record still will show that you have been arrested for a crime. If you were found not guilty at a trial, your record will still show that you have been arrested and charged with a crime.

If you have ever received deferred-adjudication probation, you have a criminal record. Your record will show you have been arrested, charged with a crime, and placed on deferred-adjudication probation. Though a case may have been “legally dismissed” at the end of deferred adjudication probation, the record of the case is still publicly available. If your attorney told you that “this is deferred it will not be on your record,” you received inaccurate information. It is not a conviction on your record but, it is on your record in a way that can hurt you.

We Can Help

Attorney Daniel Peugh has years of experience helping people clear their criminal backgrounds. Daniel Peugh has personally handled hundreds of cases involving expunctions, non-disclosures, and juvenile record sealing.
Mr. Peugh knows which solution is right for you.

Deferred Adjudication Non-Disclosure Orders

If you were placed on deferred-adjudication probation and you successfully completed it, an Order of Non-Disclosure is the way to clear your background. Did you know that once you have been arrested and charged with a crime, your records are available to the public? Anyone may disclose and distribute the information. There is a common misconception that deferred-adjudication probations do not appear on a person’s record. The truth is, your record will show you have been arrested, charged and placed on deferred-adjudication probation for a crime. Potential employers, loan officers and landlords can easily access the information, which may prevent you from getting a job, a mortgage or an apartment. Even though you may have received deferred-adjudication probation, most people do not understand what that means. Unfortunately, a potential employer or loan officer might never give you a chance to explain the situation.
In September 2003, the Texas legislature passed a law that allows you to permanently seal those records from public view. Non-Disclosures prevent private employers, private credit agencies, private leasing companies, and all private individuals or entities from accessing the records of your successfully completed deferred adjudication probation. You may be eligible for an order of non-disclosure if you have successfully completed your deferred-adjudication probation. However, the records will not be sealed automatically. You must take action to do so.

If you would like attorney Daniel Peugh to help you get your records made non-public, please call our office at (940) 566-0271 to arrange an appointment to discuss your situation with our attorney.

Parameters For Deferred-Adjudication Nondisclosure Orders

The plea must have been guilty or no contest. (If you entered a plea of not guilty and were acquitted in trial, you would be eligible for an expunction rather than an order of nondisclosure.)

Excluded offenses:
• murder
• aggravated kidnapping
• injury to a child/elderly person
• abandonment/endangerment of a child
• violation of a protective order
• stalking
• sex offenses
• family violence

2. The following misdemeanors have a two year waiting period:
• Kidnapping/Unlawful Restraint
• Assaults (family violence cases are excluded)
• Offenses Against the Family that are not otherwise excluded
• Cases prosecuted under Texas Penal Code Chapter 42
• Weapons Offenses under Texas Penal Code Chapter 46

3. All non-excluded felonies have a five-year waiting period.

4. For “waiting period offenses,” the defendant may not have been convicted or received deferred adjudication for a new offense (other than a fine-only traffic offense) during the waiting period.

5. Even where no statutory preclusion exists, the state may oppose any petition for nondisclosure based on the “best interest of justice.”

Governmental agencies (police, prosecutors, etc.) and quasi governmental entities will still have access to the records of your deferred. For any profession licensed by the State of Texas (teaching, nursing, etc.) the licensing board for that profession will still have access to records of your deferred. But take heart, criminal cases that have been disposed of with a successfully completed term of deferred adjudication probation are now considered by the State of Texas for the granting of a full pardon. Please see below for information regarding pardons.

Expunctions

If the criminal allegation against you was dismissed, no billed by the grand jury, never filed in court, dismissed after the successful completion of a first offender program, or if you were found not guilty at trial an expunction is the way to get the matter off of your record. Also, if you are successful with a Petition for Pardon, a Pardon entitles you to an expunction. Just being pardoned does not clean-up your record. You must take the next step and file for an expunction based on your Pardon or you will continue to have a criminal record.

Our Comprehensive Expunction Orders are served on no fewer than 500 different entities known to us to maintain criminal records. With the dawning of the internet age, criminal background records have spread all over the web and all over the world. Beginning a few years ago the problem arose for attorneys and clients that not every entity that was supposed to destroy the criminal background records in its possession was doing so. Therefore, attorneys and clients were learning, the hard way unfortunately, that obtaining an expunction didn’t always mean that your background checks would come back clear. For the unfortunate clients who missed out on jobs, the solution was to discover the identity of the entity that was still reporting the expunged matter. Once identified, the entity or entities could be directly served with an expunction order. Only then did the rogue entities remove the records from their databases.

There have been two responses to this problem. Some attorneys have added a paragraph in the expunction orders that they draft that “requires” the Texas Department of Public Safety to notify all the entities they sell records to of the expunction and their need to comply with it. We have added this paragraph to our Expunction Orders. However, as a Law Firm we are not totally satisfied with this solution because we do not fully trust DPS to be able to read and enforce all the expunction orders they receive. Finding out after you miss out on a job that DPS has let you down is unacceptable. Further, it seems likely that some of these businesses who are reporting criminal records are buying that information, not from DPS but, from an entity that has a contract with DPS. These second hand entities have no contract with DPS and are under no obligation to delete expunged material if they are not made aware of the expunction. Further, DPS has no way of knowing who these entities are or how many there are of them.

The Peugh Law Firm has spent years compiling our own database of entities that maintain and sell criminal background information. We were shocked to learn how many entities maintain criminal records and who some of those entities are. Our Comprehensive Expunction Orders are served on no fewer than 500 different entities known to us to maintain criminal records. That is several times more crime reporting entities being directly reached than with other lawyers’ or law firms’ Expunctions. Our Comprehensive Expunction is more expensive than other lawyers’ expunctions; additional filing fees, service of process fees, and attorney time requirements dictate that. However, if your Expunction Order can be served on at least 500 crime reporting entities and your lawyer does not make that happen, can you be sure that you will pass your next background check?

Article 55.01. Right To Expunction

  1. A person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
    1. the person is tried for the offense for which the person was arrested and is:
      1. acquitted by the trial court, except as provided by Subsection (c); or
      2. convicted and subsequently:
        1. pardoned for a reason other than that described by Subparagraph (ii); or
        2. pardoned or otherwise granted relief on the basis of actual innocence with respect to that offense, if the applicable pardon or court order clearly indicates on its face that the pardon or order was granted or rendered on the basis of the person’s actual innocence; or
    2. the person has been released and the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court-ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 for the offense, unless the offense is a Class C misdemeanor, provided that:
      1. regardless of whether any statute of limitations exists for the offense and whether any limitations period for the offense has expired, an indictment or information charging the person with the commission of a misdemeanor offense based on the person’s arrest or charging the person with the commission of any felony offense arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested:
        1. has not been presented against the person at any time following the arrest, and:
          1. at least 180 days have elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a Class C misdemeanor and if there was no felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested;
          2. at least one year has elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a Class B or A misdemeanor and if there was no felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested;
          3. at least three years have elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a felony or if there was a felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested; or
          4. the attorney representing the state certifies that the applicable arrest records and files are not needed for use in any criminal investigation or prosecution, including an investigation or prosecution of another person; or
        2. if presented at any time following the arrest, was dismissed or quashed, and the court finds that the indictment or information was dismissed or quashed because the person completed a pretrial intervention program authorized under Section 76.011, Government Code, because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of the dismissal to believe the person committed the offense, or because the indictment or information was void; or
      2. prosecution of the person for the offense for which the person was arrested is no longer possible because the limitations period has expired.

 a-1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a person may not expunge records and files relating to an arrest that occurs pursuant to a warrant issued under Section 21, Article 42.12.

 a-2. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a person who intentionally or knowingly absconds from the jurisdiction after being released under Chapter 17 following an arrest is not eligible under Subsection (a)(2)(A)(i)(a), (b), or (c) or Subsection (a)(2)(B) for an expunction of the records and files relating to that arrest

  1. Except as provided by Subsection (c), a district court may expunge all records and files relating to the arrest of a person who has been arrested for commission of a felony or misdemeanor under the procedure established under Article 55.02 if:
    1. the person is:
      1. tried for the offense for which the person was arrested;
      2. convicted of the offense; and
      3. acquitted by the court of criminal appeals or, if the period for granting a petition for discretionary review has expired, by a court of appeals; or
    2. an office of the attorney representing the state authorized by law to prosecute the offense for which the person was arrested recommends the expunction to the appropriate district court before the person is tried for the offense, regardless of whether an indictment or information has been presented against the person in relation to the offense.
  2. A court may not order the expunction of records and files relating to an arrest for an offense for which a person is subsequently acquitted, whether by the trial court, a court of appeals, or the court of criminal appeals, if the offense for which the person was acquitted arose out of a criminal episode, as defined by Section 3.01, Penal Code, and the person was convicted of or remains subject to prosecution for at least one other offense occurring during the criminal episode.
  3. A person is entitled to have any information that identifies the person, including the person’s name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and social security number, contained in records and files relating to the arrest of another person expunged if:
    1. the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement to expunction was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person’s identifying information without the consent of the person asserting the entitlement; and
    2. the only reason for the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement being contained in the arrest records and files of the person arrested is that the information was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person’s identifying information.

Article 55.01. Right of Close Relative to Seek Expunction on Behalf of Deceased Person

  1. In this article, “close relative of a deceased person” means the grandparent, parent, spouse, or adult brother, sister, or child of a deceased person.
  2. A close relative of a deceased person who, if not deceased, would be entitled to expunction of records and files under Article 55.01 may file on behalf of the deceased person an ex parte petition for expunction under Section 2 or 2a, Article 55.02. If the court finds that the deceased person would be entitled to expunction of any record or file that is the subject of the petition, the court shall enter an order directing expunction.
 

Article 55.02. Procedure For Expunction

 Sec. 1. At the request of the defendant and after notice to the state, the trial court presiding over the case in which the defendant was acquitted, if the trial court is a district court, or a district court in the county in which the trial court is located shall enter an order of expunction for a person entitled to expunction under Article 55.01(a)(1)(A) not later than the 30th day after the date of the acquittal. Upon acquittal, the trial court shall advise the defendant of the right to expunction. The defendant shall provide to the district court all of the information required in a petition for expunction under Section 2(b). The attorney for the defendant in the case in which the defendant was acquitted, if the defendant was represented by counsel, or the attorney for the state, if the defendant was not represented by counsel, shall prepare the order for the court’s signature.

 Sec. 1a. (a) The trial court presiding over a case in which a defendant is convicted and subsequently granted relief or pardoned on the basis of actual innocence of the offense of which the defendant was convicted, if the trial court is a district court, or a district court in the county in which the trial court is located shall enter an order of expunction for a person entitled to expunction under Article 55.01(a)(1)(B)(ii) not later than the 30th day after the date the court receives notice of the pardon or other grant of relief. The person shall provide to the district court all of the information required in a petition for expunction under Section 2(b).

  1. The attorney for the state shall:
    1. prepare an expunction order under this section for the court’s signature; and
    2. notify the Texas Department of Criminal Justice if the person is in the custody of the department.
  2. The court shall include in an expunction order under this section a listing of each official, agency, or other entity of this state or political subdivision of this state and each private entity that there is reason to believe has any record or file that is subject to the order. The court shall also provide in an expunction order under this section that:
    1. the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shall send to the court the documents delivered to the department under Section 8(a), Article 42.09; and
    2. the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shall delete or redact, as appropriate, from their public records all index references to the records and files that are subject to the expunction order.
  3. The court shall retain all documents sent to the court under Subsection (c)(1) until the statute of limitations has run for any civil case or proceeding relating to the wrongful imprisonment of the person subject to the expunction order.

 Sec. 2.

  1. A person who is entitled to expunction of records and files under Article 55.01(a)(1)(B)(i) or 55.01(a)(2) or a person who is eligible for expunction of records and files under Article 55.01(b) may file an ex parte petition for expunction in a district court for the county in which:
    1. the petitioner was arrested; or
    2. the offense was alleged to have occurred.
  2. The petition must be verified and must include the following or an explanation for why one or more of the following is not included:
    1. the petitioner’s:
      1. full name;
      2. sex;
      3. race;
      4. date of birth;
      5. driver’s license number;
      6. social security number; and
      7. address at the time of the arrest;
    2. the offense charged against the petitioner;
    3. the date the offense charged against the petitioner was alleged to have been committed;
    4. the date the petitioner was arrested;
    5. the name of the county where the petitioner was arrested and if the arrest occurred in a municipality, the name of the municipality;
    6. the name of the agency that arrested the petitioner;
    7. the case number and court of offense; and
    8. together with the applicable physical or e-mail addresses, a list of all:
      1. law enforcement agencies, jails or other detention facilities, magistrates, courts, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities, central state depositories of criminal records, and other officials or agencies or other entities of this state or of any political subdivision of this state;
      2. central federal depositories of criminal records that the petitioner has reason to believe have records or files that are subject to expunction; and
      3. private entities that compile and disseminate for compensation criminal history record information that the petitioner has reason to believe have information related to records or files that are subject to expunction.
  3. The court shall set a hearing on the matter no sooner than thirty days from the filing of the petition and shall give to each official or agency or other governmental entity named in the petition reasonable notice of the hearing by:
    1. certified mail, return receipt requested; or
    2. secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission.

 (c-1) An entity described by Subsection (c) may be represented by the attorney responsible for providing the entity with legal representation in other matters.

  1. If the court finds that the petitioner, or a person for whom an ex parte petition is filed under Subsection (e), is entitled to expunction of any records and files that are the subject of the petition, it shall enter an order directing expunction.
  2. The director of the Department of Public Safety or the director’s authorized representative may file on behalf of a person described by Subsection (a) of this section or by Section 2a an ex parte petition for expunction in a district court for the county in which:
    1. the person was arrested; or
    2. the offense was alleged to have occurred.
  3. An ex parte petition filed under Subsection (e) must be verified and must include the following or an explanation for why one or more of the following is not included:
    1. the person’s:
      1. full name;
      2. sex;
      3. race;
      4. date of birth;
      5. driver’s license number;
      6. social security number; and
      7. address at the time of the arrest;
    2. the offense charged against the person;
    3. the date the offense charged against the person was alleged to have been committed;
    4. the date the person was arrested;
    5. the name of the county where the person was arrested and if the arrest occurred in a municipality, the name of the municipality;
    6. the name of the agency that arrested the person;
    7. the case number and court of offense; and
    8. together with the applicable physical or e-mail addresses, a list of all:
      1. law enforcement agencies, jails or other detention facilities, magistrates, courts, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities, central state depositories of criminal records, and other officials or agencies or other entities of this state or of any political subdivision of this state;
      2. central federal depositories of criminal records that the person has reason to believe have records or files that are subject to expunction; and
      3. private entities that compile and disseminate for compensation criminal history record information that the person has reason to believe have information relating to records or files that are subject to expunction.

 Sec. 2a. (a) A person who is entitled to expunction of information contained in records and files under Article 55.01(d) may file an application for expunction with the attorney representing the state in the prosecution of felonies in the county in which the person resides.

  1. The application must be verified, include authenticated fingerprint records of the applicant, and include the following or an explanation for why one or more of the following is not included:
    1. the applicant’s full name, sex, race, date of birth, driver’s license number, social security number, and address at the time the person who falsely identified himself or herself as the applicant was arrested;
    2. the following information regarding the arrest:
      1. the date of arrest;
      2. the offense charged against the person arrested;
      3. the name of the county or municipality in which the arrest occurred; and
      4. the name of the arresting agency; and
    3. a statement that:
      1. the applicant is not the person arrested and for whom the arrest records and files were created; and
      2. the applicant did not give the person arrested consent to falsely identify himself or herself as the applicant.
  2. After verifying the allegations in an application received under Subsection (a), the attorney representing the state shall:
    1. include on the application information regarding the arrest that was requested of the applicant but was unknown by the applicant;
    2. forward a copy of the application to the district court for the county;
    3. together with the applicable physical or e-mail addresses, attach to the copy a list of all:
      1. law enforcement agencies, jails or other detention facilities, magistrates, courts, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities, central state depositories of criminal records, and other officials or agencies or other entities of this state or of any political subdivision of this state;
      2. central federal depositories of criminal records that are reasonably likely to have records or files containing information that is subject to expunction; and
      3. private entities that compile and disseminate for compensation criminal history record information that are reasonably likely to have records or files containing information that is subject to expunction; and
    4. request the court to enter an order directing expunction based on an entitlement to expunction under Article 55.01(d).
  3. (d) On receipt of a request under Subsection (c), the court shall, without holding a hearing on the matter, enter a final order directing expunction.

 Sec. 3. (a) In an order of expunction issued under this article, the court shall require any state agency that sent information concerning the arrest to a central federal depository to request the depository to return all records and files subject to the order of expunction. The person who is the subject of the expunction order or an agency protesting the expunction may appeal the court’s decision in the same manner as in other civil cases.

  1. (b) The order of expunction entered by the court shall have attached and incorporate by reference a copy of the judgment of acquittal and shall include:
    1. the following information on the person who is the subject of the expunction order:
      1. full name;
      2. sex;
      3. race;
      4. date of birth;
      5. driver’s license number; and
      6. social security number;
    2. the offense charged against the person who is the subject of the expunction order;
    3. the date the person who is the subject of the expunction order was arrested;
    4. the case number and court of offense; and
    5. the tracking incident number (TRN) assigned to the individual incident of arrest under Article 60.07(b)(1) by the Department of Public Safety.
  2. When the order of expunction is final, the clerk of the court shall send a certified copy of the order to the Crime Records Service of the Department of Public Safety and to each official or agency or other governmental entity of this state or of any political subdivision of this state named in the order. The certified copy of the order must be sent by secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission or otherwise by certified mail, return receipt requested. In sending the order to a governmental entity named in the order, the clerk may elect to substitute hand delivery for certified mail under this subsection, but the clerk must receive a receipt for that hand-delivered order.

 (c-1) The Department of Public Safety shall notify any central federal depository of criminal records by any means, including secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission, of the order with an explanation of the effect of the order and a request that the depository, as appropriate, either:

  1. destroy or return to the court the records in possession of the depository that are subject to the order, including any information with respect to the order; or
  2. comply with Section 5(f) pertaining to information contained in records and files of a person entitled to expunction under Article 55.01(d).

 (c-2) The Department of Public Safety shall also provide, by secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission, notice of the order to any private entity that is named in the order or that purchases criminal history record information from the department. The notice must include an explanation of the effect of the order and a request that the entity destroy any information in the possession of the entity that is subject to the order. The department may charge to a private entity that purchases criminal history record information from the department a fee in an amount sufficient to recover costs incurred by the department in providing notice under this subsection to the entity.

  1. Any returned receipts received by the clerk from notices of the hearing and copies of the order shall be maintained in the file on the proceedings under this chapter.

 Sec. 4. (a) If the state establishes that the person who is the subject of an expunction order is still subject to conviction for an offense arising out of the transaction for which the person was arrested because the statute of limitations has not run and there is reasonable cause to believe that the state may proceed against the person for the offense, the court may provide in its expunction order that the law enforcement agency and the prosecuting attorney responsible for investigating the offense may retain any records and files that are necessary to the investigation.

 (a-1) The court shall provide in its expunction order that the applicable law enforcement agency and prosecuting attorney may retain the arrest records and files of any person who becomes entitled to an expunction of those records and files based on the expiration of a period described by Article 55.01(a)(2)(A)(i)(a), (b), or (c), but without the certification of the prosecuting attorney as described by Article 55.01(a)(2)(A)(i)(d).

 (a-2) In the case of a person who is the subject of an expunction order on the basis of an acquittal, the court may provide in the expunction order that the law enforcement agency and the prosecuting attorney retain records and files if:

  1. the records and files are necessary to conduct a subsequent investigation and prosecution of a person other than the person who is the subject of the expunction order; or
  2. the state establishes that the records and files are necessary for use in:
    1. another criminal case, including a prosecution, motion to adjudicate or revoke community supervision, parole revocation hearing, mandatory supervision revocation hearing, punishment hearing, or bond hearing; or
    2. a civil case, including a civil suit or suit for possession of or access to a child.
  1. Unless the person who is the subject of the expunction order is again arrested for or charged with an offense arising out of the transaction for which the person was arrested or unless the court provides for the retention of records and files under Subsection (a-1) or (a-2), the provisions of Articles 55.03 and 55.04 apply to files and records retained under this section.

 Sec. 5. (a) Except as provided by Subsections (f) and (g), on receipt of the order, each official or agency or other governmental entity named in the order shall:

  1. return all records and files that are subject to the expunction order to the court or in cases other than those described by Section 1a, if removal is impracticable, obliterate all portions of the record or file that identify the person who is the subject of the order and notify the court of its action; and
  2. delete from its public records all index references to the records and files that are subject to the expunction order.
  1. Except in the case of a person who is the subject of an expunction order on the basis of an acquittal or an expunction order based on an entitlement under Article 55.01(d), the court may give the person who is the subject of the order all records and files returned to it pursuant to its order.
  2. Except in the case of a person who is the subject of an expunction order based on an entitlement under Article 55.01(d) and except as provided by Subsection (g), if an order of expunction is issued under this article, the court records concerning expunction proceedings are not open for inspection by anyone except the person who is the subject of the order unless the order permits retention of a record under Section 4 of this article and the person is again arrested for or charged with an offense arising out of the transaction for which the person was arrested or unless the court provides for the retention of records and files under Section 4(a) of this article. The clerk of the court issuing the order shall obliterate all public references to the proceeding and maintain the files or other records in an area not open to inspection.
  3. Except in the case of a person who is the subject of an expunction order on the basis of an acquittal or an expunction order based on an entitlement under Article 55.01(d) and except as provided by Subsection (g), the clerk of the court shall destroy all the files or other records maintained under Subsection (c) not earlier than the 60th day after the date the order of expunction is issued or later than the first anniversary of that date unless the records or files were released under Subsection (b).

 (d-1) Not later than the 30th day before the date on which the clerk destroys files or other records under Subsection (d), the clerk shall provide notice by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile transmission to the attorney representing the state in the expunction proceeding. If the attorney representing the state in the expunction proceeding objects to the destruction not later than the 20th day after receiving notice under this subsection, the clerk may not destroy the files or other records until the first anniversary of the date the order of expunction is issued or the first business day after that date.

  1. The clerk shall certify to the court the destruction of files or other records under Subsection (d) of this section.
  2. On receipt of an order granting expunction to a person entitled to expunction under Article 55.01(d), each official, agency, or other governmental entity named in the order:
    1. shall:
      1. obliterate all portions of the record or file that identify the petitioner; and
      2. substitute for all obliterated portions of the record or file any available information that identifies the person arrested; and
    2. may not return the record or file or delete index references to the record or file.
  3. Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, an official, agency, court, or other entity may retain receipts, invoices, vouchers, or similar records of financial transactions that arose from the expunction proceeding or prosecution of the underlying criminal cause in accordance with internal financial control procedures. An official, agency, court, or other entity that retains records under this subsection shall obliterate all portions of the record or the file that identify the person who is the subject of the expunction order.

Article 55.03. Effect Of Expunction.
When the order of expunction is final:

  1. the release, dissemination, or use of the expunged records and files for any purpose is prohibited;
  2. except as provided in Subdivision 3 of this article, the person arrested may deny the occurrence of the arrest and the existence of the expunction order; and
  3. the person arrested or any other person, when questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding about an arrest for which the records have been expunged, may state only that the matter in question has been expunged.

Article 55.04. Violation Of Expunction Order

  1. A person who acquires knowledge of an arrest while an officer or employee of the state or of any agency or other entity of the state or any political subdivision of the state and who knows of an order expunging the records and files relating to that arrest commits an offense if he knowingly releases, disseminates, or otherwise uses the records or files.
  2. A person who knowingly fails to return or to obliterate identifying portions of a record or file ordered expunged under this chapter commits an offense.
  3. An offense under this article is a Class B misdemeanor.

Petty Offenses, aka Fine Only Offenses, aka Class C Misdmeanor Convictions.

Do you have a petty offense, fine only offense, or Class C Misdemeanor conviction in your past that is hurting you on background checks today? Whether you just paid the fine at the window or agreed to time served after a brief period in jail or, you plead a more serious charge down to a Class C Misdemeanor, if the conviction is on your record and causing you problems, we can help.

Even if you have been told by other attorneys, “its a conviction, nothing can be done,” we know what to do. Because Expunctions, Non-Disclosures, and Pardons are not available for Class C convictions most people, including lawyers, believe nothing can be done. They are wrong. We not only know the law but, we have experience using those laws to benefit our clients. Call us today.

 

Pardons (Executive Clemency)

You do not have to know the governor personally to receive a pardon from him or her. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Executive Clemency Section is hard at work every day considering applications for a full pardon, which are available for a variety of legal situations.

To receive a pardon, you do not have to show that you are actually innocent. The board considers so many different situations for pardon eligibility that your situation is most likely one that the board would consider. Do not assume you cannot get a pardon.

The Executive Clemency Section is beset each year by Petitions for Executive Clemency (Pardons) that have no merit. Every hardened criminal doing a long sentence in prison files a pardon petition annually. In fact, the Board gets so many meritless petitions that to handle all the requests the Board denies most petitions based on technical errors.

I can help you through the process. I will guide you through the petition process to help you avoid the technicalities that doom most petitions. And I can tell you from experience, the Board of Pardons and Paroles wants a good petition for pardon. They want one they can grant. They want your petition.

Texas Constitution Article IV, Section 11

Sec. 11. BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES; PAROLE LAWS; REPRIEVES, COMMUTATIONS, AND PARDONS; REMISSION OF FINES AND FORFEITURES.

  1. The Legislature shall by law establish a Board of Pardons and Paroles and shall require it to keep record of its actions and the reasons for its actions. The Legislature shall have authority to enact parole laws and laws that require or permit courts to inform juries about the effect of good conduct time and eligibility for parole or mandatory supervision on the period of incarceration served by a defendant convicted of a criminal offense.
  2. In all criminal cases, except treason and impeachment, the Governor shall have power, after conviction, on the written signed recommendation and advice of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, or a majority thereof, to grant reprieves and commutations of punishment and pardons; and under such rules as the Legislature may prescribe, and upon the written recommendation and advice of a majority of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, he shall have the power to remit fines and forfeitures. The Governor shall have the power to grant one reprieve in any capital case for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days; and he shall have power to revoke conditional pardons. With the advice and consent of the Legislature, he may grant reprieves, commutations of punishment and pardons in cases of treason.

(Amended Nov. 3, 1936, Nov. 8, 1983, and Nov. 7, 1989.)

Convictions Set Aside by a Judge

Article 42.12(20)(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows a trial judge, after a defendant has plead guilty and served a portion of the court’s sentence, to set aside the verdict or permit the defendant to withdraw the defendant’s plea, and dismiss the accusation, complaint, information or indictment against the defendant. The result is that the defendant is released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense or crime of which the defendant has been convicted or to which the defendant has pleaded guilty.

Though a trial court judge may grant all of the relief listed above that does not mean you will have a completly clean background. If you believe the trial Judge in your case released you from your initial sentence and dismissed your case, you may be able to get the records pertaining to that case cleared. We have worked on these issues for clients in the past and we have been successful in getting this type of record removed from background check results. If you have benefitted from the type of court order discussed here but, you are still failing background checks related to the offense, we can help.

Further, if you are currently on felony or misdemeanor probation we can assist you in requesting the judge to allow you to withdraw your plea and set aside your conviction pursuant to Article 42.12(20)(a). Experience tells us that to persuade a judge to reduce a sentence and reverse a judgment of guilty already entered is difficult in the extreme. Such a result requires extraordinary circumstances. If you believe you have extraordinary circumstances that will convince even the crustiest old law-and-order judge we can help you make your case.

 

Sealing Juvenile Records

If you were charged with a crime before you turned 17 years of age, you have a Juvenile Record. Juvenile Records are, by law, non-public. Unfortunately, that does NOT mean that your juvenile record cannot hurt you. Many public data websites have come and gone since the dawn of the internet. Not all of the managers of these websites knew or cared about the confidentiality laws that protect juvenile records. As these internet businesses continue to come and go your juvenile record could be made public. Just two or three short years ago my juvenile record sealing business was booming because private websites were not obeying the law and it was hurting my clients.

Even Juvenile Records that are kept confidential can still cause a problem for adults with juvenile issues in their background. Juvenile records are only kept confidential from the general public. The government, all governmental entities, still have access to juvenile records. I am frequently called on to seal juvenile records because my clients are told by military recruiters, who as federal government employees have access to the juvenile records, that they cannot be commissioned into the service with their current juvenile record.

The problems extend beyond military service. Teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, and many-many more professions are licensed by the State. State Licensing Boards are governmental entities and, as such, they have access to juvenile records. You can be denied a license to practice your profession if you have a juvenile record. Many jobs require bonding or security clearances. A juvenile record can keep you from getting a job that has security clearance requirements.

I have handled hundreds of cases sealing juvenile records. Give me a call before your juvenile past causes you a problem.

Texas Family Code Sec. 58.003. Sealing Of Juvenile Records.

  1. Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), on the application of a person who has been found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision, or a person taken into custody to determine whether the person engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision, on the juvenile court’s own motion the court shall order the sealing of the records in the case if the court finds that:
    1. two years have elapsed since final discharge of the person or since the last official action in the person’s case if there was no adjudication; and
    2. since the time specified in Subdivision (1), the person has not been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision and no proceeding is pending seeking conviction or adjudication.
  2. A court may not order the sealing of the records of a person who has received a determinate sentence for engaging in delinquent conduct that violated a penal law listed in Section 53.045 or engaging in habitual felony conduct as described by Section 51.031.
  3. Subject to Subsection (b), a court may order the sealing of records concerning a person adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct that violated a penal law of the grade of felony only if:
    1. the person is 19 years of age or older;
    2. the person was not transferred by a juvenile court under Section 54.02 to a criminal court for prosecution;
    3. the records have not been used as evidence in the punishment phase of a criminal proceeding under Section 3(a), Article 37.07, Code of Criminal Procedure; and
    4. the person has not been convicted of a penal law of the grade of felony after becoming age 17.

 (c-1) Notwithstanding Subsections (a) and (c) and subject to Subsection (b), a juvenile court may order the sealing of records concerning a child adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision that violated a penal law of the grade of misdemeanor or felony if the child successfully completed a drug court program under Chapter 469, Health and Safety Code. The court may:

  1. order the sealing of the records immediately and without a hearing; or
  2. hold a hearing to determine whether to seal the records.

 (c-2) If the court orders the sealing of a child’s records under Subsection (c-1), a prosecuting attorney or juvenile probation department may maintain until the child’s 17th birthday a separate record of the child’s name and date of birth and the date the child successfully completed the drug court program. The prosecuting attorney or juvenile probation department, as applicable, shall send the record to the court as soon as practicable after the child’s 17th birthday to be added to the child’s other sealed records.

Text of subsection as added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1150, Sec. 2

 (c-3) Notwithstanding Subsections (a) and (c) and subject to Subsection (b), a juvenile court, on the court’s own motion and without a hearing, shall order the sealing of records concerning a child found to have engaged in conduct indicating a need for supervision described by Section 51.03(b)(7) or taken into custody to determine whether the child engaged in conduct indicating a need for supervision described by Section 51.03(b)(7). This subsection applies only to records related to conduct indicating a need for supervision described by Section 51.03(b)(7).

Text of subsection as added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1322, Sec. 19

 (c-3) Notwithstanding Subsections (a) and (c) and subject to Subsection (b), a juvenile court may order the sealing of records concerning a child found to have engaged in conduct indicating a need for supervision that violates Section 43.261, Penal Code, or taken into custody to determine whether the child engaged in conduct indicating a need for supervision that violates Section 43.261, Penal Code, if the child attends and successfully completes an educational program described by Section 37.218, Education Code, or another equivalent educational program. The court may:

  1. order the sealing of the records immediately and without a hearing; or
  2. hold a hearing to determine whether to seal the records.

Text of subsection as added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1150, Sec. 2

 (c-4) A prosecuting attorney or juvenile probation department may maintain until a child’s 17th birthday a separate record of the child’s name and date of birth and the date on which the child’s records are sealed, if the child’s records are sealed under Subsection (c-3). The prosecuting attorney or juvenile probation department, as applicable, shall send the record to the court as soon as practicable after the child’s 17th birthday to be added to the child’s other sealed records.

Text of subsection as added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1322, Sec. 19

 (c-4) A prosecuting attorney or juvenile probation department may maintain until a child’s 17th birthday a separate record of the child’s name and date of birth and the date on which the child successfully completed the educational program, if the child’s records are sealed under Subsection (c-3). The prosecuting attorney or juvenile probation department, as applicable, shall send the record to the court as soon as practicable after the child’s 17th birthday to be added to the child’s other sealed records.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1150, Sec. 2

  1. The court may grant to a child the relief authorized in Subsection (a), (c-1), or (c-3) at any time after final discharge of the child or after the last official action in the case if there was no adjudication, subject, if applicable, to Subsection (e). If the child is referred to the juvenile court for conduct constituting any offense and at the adjudication hearing the child is found to be not guilty of each offense alleged, the court shall immediately and without any additional hearing order the sealing of all files and records relating to the case.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1322, Sec. 19

  1. The court may grant the relief authorized in Subsection (a), (c-1), or (c-3) at any time after final discharge of the person or after the last official action in the case if there was no adjudication, subject, if applicable, to Subsection (e). If the child is referred to the juvenile court for conduct constituting any offense and at the adjudication hearing the child is found to be not guilty of each offense alleged, the court shall immediately and without any additional hearing order the sealing of all files and records relating to the case.
  2. The court shall hold a hearing before sealing a person’s records under Subsection (a) or (c) unless the applicant waives the right to a hearing in writing and the court and the prosecuting attorney for the juvenile court consent. Reasonable notice of the hearing shall be given to:
    1. the person who made the application or who is the subject of the records named in the motion;
    2. the prosecuting attorney for the juvenile court;
    3. the authority granting the discharge if the final discharge was from an institution or from parole;
    4. the public or private agency or institution having custody of records named in the application or motion; and
    5. the law enforcement agency having custody of files or records named in the application or motion.
  3. A copy of the sealing order shall be sent to each agency or official named in the order.
  4. On entry of the order:
    1. all law enforcement, prosecuting attorney, clerk of court, and juvenile court records ordered sealed shall be sent before the 61st day after the date the order is received to the court issuing the order;
    2. all records of a public or private agency or institution ordered sealed shall be sent before the 61st day after the date the order is received to the court issuing the order;
    3. all index references to the records ordered sealed shall be deleted before the 61st day after the date the order is received, and verification of the deletion shall be sent before the 61st day after the date of the deletion to the court issuing the order;
    4. the juvenile court, clerk of court, prosecuting attorney, public or private agency or institution, and law enforcement officers and agencies shall properly reply that no record exists with respect to the person on inquiry in any matter; and
    5. the adjudication shall be vacated and the proceeding dismissed and treated for all purposes other than a subsequent capital prosecution, including the purpose of showing a prior finding of delinquent conduct, as if it had never occurred.

 (g-1) Any records collected or maintained by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, including statistical data submitted under Section 221.007, Human Resources Code, are not subject to a sealing order issued under this section.

  1. Inspection of the sealed records may be permitted by an order of the juvenile court on the petition of the person who is the subject of the records and only by those persons named in the order.
  2. On the final discharge of a child or on the last official action in the case if there is no adjudication, the child shall be given a written explanation of the child’s rights under this section and a copy of the provisions of this section.
  3. A person whose records have been sealed under this section is not required in any proceeding or in any application for employment, information, or licensing to state that the person has been the subject of a proceeding under this title and any statement that the person has never been found to be a delinquent child shall never be held against the person in any criminal or civil proceeding.
  4. A prosecuting attorney may, on application to the juvenile court, reopen at any time the files and records of a person adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct that violated a penal law of the grade of felony sealed by the court under this section for the purposes of Sections 12.42(a)-(c) and (e), Penal Code.
  5. On the motion of a person in whose name records are kept or on the court’s own motion, the court may order the destruction of records that have been sealed under this section if:
    1. the records relate to conduct that did not violate a penal law of the grade of felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail;
    2. five years have elapsed since the person’s 16th birthday; and
    3. the person has not been convicted of a felony.
  6. On request of the Department of Public Safety, a juvenile court shall reopen and allow the department to inspect the files and records of the juvenile court relating to an applicant for a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code.
  7. A record created or maintained under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, may not be sealed under this section if the person who is the subject of the record has a continuing obligation to register under that chapter.
  8. An agency or official named in the order that cannot seal the records because the information required in the order under Subsection (p) is incorrect or insufficient shall notify the court issuing the order before the 61st day after the date the agency or official receives the order. The court shall notify the person who made the application or who is the subject of the records named in the motion, or the attorney for that person, before the 61st day after the date the court receives the notice that the agency or official cannot seal the records because there is incorrect or insufficient information in the order.
  9. A person who is eligible to seal records may file an application for the sealing of records in a juvenile court of the county in which the proceedings occurred. The application and sealing order entered on the application must include the following information or an explanation for why one or more of the following is not included:
    1. the applicant’s:
      1. full name;
      2. sex;
      3. race or ethnicity;
      4. date of birth;
      5. driver’s license or identification card number; and
      6. social security number;
    2. the offense charged against the applicant or for which the applicant was referred to the juvenile justice system;
    3. the date on which and the county where the offense was alleged to have been committed; and
    4. if a petition was filed in the juvenile court, the cause number assigned to the petition and the court and county in which the petition was filed.

Parameters For Non-Disclosure Orders on Convictions When a Period of Incarceration was Served

The plea must have been guilty or no contest. (If you entered a plea of not guilty and were acquitted in trial, you would be eligible for an expunction rather than an order of nondisclosure.)

1. The Petitioner cannot have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense other than an offense under the Transportation Code that is punishable by fine only.

2.  Offenses Excluded from Non-Disclosure even when they are the only offense:

• murder
• aggravated kidnapping
• injury to a child/elderly person
• abandonment/endangerment of a child
• violation of a protective order
• stalking
• sex offenses
• family violence

3.  Offenses Specifically Excluded From Non-Disclosure Where There Has Been a Conviction.

·        Driving While Intoxicated, Boating While Intoxicated, Flying While Intoxicated, Assembling an Amusement Ride While Intoxicated,

·        Operating a Watercraft While Intoxicated by a Minor

·        Organized Crime

·        All Felonies are Excluded

4.  The Petitioner Must Have Been Sentenced to and Served a Period of Incarceration

5.  All Eligible Offenses Require a Two Year Waiting Period From the End of the Period of Incarceration

6.  For “waiting period offenses,” the defendant may not have been convicted or received deferred adjudication for a new offense (other than a fine-only traffic offense) during the waiting period.

7.  Even where no statutory preclusion exists, the state may oppose any petition for nondisclosure based on the “best interest of justice.”

Governmental agencies (police, prosecutors, etc.) and quasi governmental entities will still have access to the records of your deferred. For any profession licensed by the State of Texas (teaching, nursing, etc.) the licensing board for that profession will still have access to records of your deferred. But take heart, criminal cases that have been disposed of with a successfully completed term of deferred adjudication probation are now considered by the State of Texas for the granting of a full pardon. Please see below for information regarding pardons.

Parameters For Non-Disclosure Orders on Convictions with a Probation Period Served

The plea must have been guilty or no contest. (If you entered a plea of not guilty and were acquitted in trial, you would be eligible for an expunction rather than an order of nondisclosure.)

1. The Petitioner cannot have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense other than an offense under the Transportation Code that is punishable by fine only.

2.  Offenses Excluded from Non-Disclosure even when they are the only offense:

• murder
• aggravated kidnapping
• injury to a child/elderly person
• abandonment/endangerment of a child
• violation of a protective order
• stalking
• sex offenses
• family violence

3.  Offenses Specifically Excluded From Non-Disclosure Where There Has Been a Conviction.

·        Driving While Intoxicated, Boating While Intoxicated, Flying While Intoxicated, Assembling an Amusement Ride While Intoxicated,

·        Operating a Watercraft While Intoxicated by a Minor

·        Organized Crime

·        All Felonies are Excluded

4.  Offenses with a Two Year Waiting Period

·        Unlawful Restraint

·        Public Lewdness, Indecent Exposure, Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material, Voyeurism (non-felony)

·        Assault (if not a felony or family violence)

·        Non-Felony TPC Ch. 25 Offenses

·        Non-Felony TPC Ch. 42 Offenses

·        Prostitution and Other Non-Felony TPC Ch. 43 Offenses

·        Non-Felony Weapons Offenses TPC Ch. 46

5.  The Petitioner Must Have Successfully Completed Probation

6.  Petitioner Cannot Have Served Any Period of Incarceration (If you had to serve some incarceration, see below for Parameters for Non-Disclosure Orders on Convictions When a Period of Incarceration Was Served)

7. For “waiting period offenses,” the defendant may not have been convicted or received deferred adjudication for a new offense (other than a fine-only traffic offense) during the waiting period.

8. Even where no statutory preclusion exists, the state may oppose any petition for nondisclosure based on the “best interest of justice.”

Governmental agencies (police, prosecutors, etc.) and quasi governmental entities will still have access to the records of your deferred. For any profession licensed by the State of Texas (teaching, nursing, etc.) the licensing board for that profession will still have access to records of your deferred. But take heart, criminal cases that have been disposed of with a successfully completed term of deferred adjudication probation are now considered by the State of Texas for the granting of a full pardon. Please see below for information regarding pardons.

Expunctions for Class C (fine only) Misdemeanors

Contact attorney Daniel K. Peugh today at 940.566 0271
in Denton, Texas, for comprehensive criminal defense.

E-mail criminal defense attorney Daniel K.
Peugh to schedule your free consultation today.