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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
In Texas, expunction and non-disclosure are likely the most beneficial outcome someone can get once you have been arrested or convicted in the state of Texas. Having your records destroyed or sealed will keep them out of the public eye. Because neither of these procedures are explicitly discussed in the Constitution, judges tend to broadly interpret cases involving these procedures.
For example, it has been ruled that organizations can rely on another’s personal observations and personal knowledge of your past without violating an expunction order because no records that have been sealed off and destroyed were necessary to acquire this knowledge. Contact a distinguished criminal attorney to learn more about possible exemptions to expunction and non-disclosure orders in Texas.
What are the Exemptions In An Expunction Order?
An expunction order might contain exemptions to expunction and non-disclosure orders in Texas that allow certain agencies to retain their records for the duration of a waiting period or even indefinitely. This compromise is to allow people to petition for expunction before statutes of limitation expire.
Expunction and non-disclosure will not erase every trace of your arrest or every trace of your deferred adjudication, but it does give the individual the right to deny both that these events ever occurred and the existence of the orders suppressing records of it.
Commonality of Retaining Criminal History
Records may be retained or left unsealed if there is still an ongoing investigation regarding a separate charge attached to the charge on which a person was arrested. Judges are mixed about whether or not parts or all of a criminal episode—or alleged criminal episode—can be expunged.
Another reason someone’s expunged records may be kept by law enforcement officials is if their expunction was the result of an acquittal and the records of their case are still useful in another criminal investigation.
If they are still needed to investigate someone else, or to investigate you for a different crime, the police can request an exception. They may be under investigation for a different crime and the records pertaining to the arrest they want to get expunged incidentally shed some light on this other investigation.
What Law Enforcement May Reference in Someone’s Records
If your expunction was granted because your arrest derived from identity theft, the police may still need access to the records of your investigation and arrest to find the actual culprit. At this point, however, the burden of proof is on the police to prove why they continue to need your records. It may seem like there are a lot of exemptions to expunction and non-disclosure orders in Texas but even if these exceptions are granted, police are prohibited from releasing your records or disseminating them in any way. These exceptions remain contained and private.