Some of the calls I get most often at my office are individuals calling because their criminal record is giving them problems and they are looking for a record sealing lawyer. I can give you a few examples of what I deal with on a daily basis.
Record Sealing: Non-disclosures
Just the other day I went to court with a gentleman who is a professional working in corporate America. He was in his later 40s, and had not been in trouble since he was 18 years old. But even though it had been 30 years, one mistake that he made was still tormenting him to this day.
It wasn’t fair, because technically his record was clean. He was given Deferred Adjudication and he successfully completed it, and his case was dismissed. In fact, my client told me that this criminal case was actually one of the best things that ever happened to him. He told me a story about himself when he was young, and how against the wishes of his family he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. He told me how his arrest scared him straight and made him change his life around.
So even though my client finished his probation, went to college, graduated with a 4 year degree, and was extremely qualified for a wide variety of jobs, this Deferred Adjudication was popping up every single time any employer or potential employer pulled a background check on him.
He was confused because his lawyer had told him the case wouldn’t be on his record. But the truth is, cases don’t just disappear, there are additional steps that must be taken to protect your record. In the case of a successfully completed Deferred Adjudication, that step is a Non-Disclosure.
Luckily, he was able to find my number online when he looking for a record sealing lawyer and I was able to petition the court for him, get him a court date, get the DA to agree to my motion, and get the judge to grant it. Now, whenever anyone in the general public (including jobs!) pulls his criminal background, they see nothing! You can find out more about non-disclosures on my non-disclosure page below.
Record Sealing: Expunctions
Another recent client of mine was accused of cutting her husband with shards of glass that she used a weapon from a window that she broke while trying to confront him after catching him cheating. This was a very stressful case for my client as she adamantly denied any wrong doing. In fact, she claimed that it was her husband that assaulted her!
This was one of those cases where the DA never saw it our way. With the DA unwilling to budge we decided to leave her fate in the hands of a jury. After 2 days of evidence, testimony, and deliberations, the jury found my client NOT GUILTY. She had been cleared of any wrong doing.
Perfect! Her record is clean right? Wrong…you must apply for an expunction and you need a to speak with a record sealing lawyer like myself.
Even though she was found Not Guilty, on her background it is visible that she was arrested for Domestic Violence. If you are applying for a job and the company is trying to decide between you and another candidate, do you think they are hiring the candidate with the “completely” clean record, or the candidate who has been arrested for beating their spouse?
Even if your case has been dismissed you MUST protect yourself! This goes for any type of dismissal. Whether it is a dismissal through a Pre-Trial Diversion program, a straight dismissal, a dismissal because you took a class, an acquittal through a trial, or a no-bill through the Grand Jury. If you never get your case expunged, then the arrest will forever be visible on your record. You can find out more about expunctions on my expunction page.
Record Sealing: Juvenile Sealing
And finally, I recently had a 24-year-old client who had never been in trouble in her adult life. She was graduating college and applying for nursing school. To her horror, when she applied for school, an old juvenile case from when she was 15 years old popped up, and she was questions intensely by the school.
She heard about me and gave me a call. She was very upset the first time I met her. She was told that the juvenile case would automatically be sealed and would never be visible on her record. But again, that isn’t true. To fully protect yourself you must file a petition to seal your juvenile record.
Luckily, even though she never went to court for the case, I was able to track down records of everything that happened 9 years earlier. I was able to talk to the court staff, get all of the paperwork in order, find all of the agencies who had her record, get her a court date, and get the judge to seal the records.
Now the damage might have already been done with the school, but luckily, she was still accepted, and this case will never pop up again in the future when she is applying for jobs.
Recently something called restricted access passed in Texas for Juvenile Sealing. For older cases, you may still need a the help of a record sealing lawyer.