Your Criminal Record:
Contrary to popular belief, your criminal record does not disappear after a certain period of time has elapsed. This is why it is crucial that your case be disposed in a way which allows you to either eliminate all of your criminal records or at the very least remove them from public viewing. There are two methods to eliminate/conceal a person’s criminal record, (this is for all types of cases) Orders of Non-Disclosure and Expunctions.
An Expunction is the total elimination of your criminal record for the expunged offense. Generally an expunction will happen in one of three ways.
Acquittal - If you are found not guilty for an offense then you will be allowed to have your state criminal records eliminated. You are still required to file a Motion for Expunction regardless of the not guilty finding.
Dismissal - If your case is dismissed you will have to wait until the statute of limitations (time for the State to bring a charge against you).
No Bill - This is similar to a dismissal and usually happens on felony cases. If your case has been no billed, generally you must wait until the statute of limitations has run.
Class C Deferred Adjudication - This is the one exception where deferred adjudication probabtion can be expunged.
Order of Non-Disclosure:
An Order of Non - Disclosure can be filed for criminal cases where you have successfully completed deferred adjudication probation. Certain conditions must be met, including a waiting period for some offenses, and not all offenses will qualify.
An Order of Non - Disclosure does not eliminate criminal records but it does conceal them from public viewing. Law enforcement, prosecutors and certain licensing agencies still have access to those records. Additionally, the court must find that it is in the best interests of justice for the order to be granted.
For family violence related offenses you are DISQUALIFED from receiving an Order of Non-Disclosure. This is why, in my opinion, deferred adjudication probation does not add any meaningful benefit over straight probation (except for Class C) when it concerns family violence offenses.
Under all these examples you must file a Motion for Expunction or Order of Non-Disclosure
with the Court to have your records eliminated or sealed. It does not automatically happen.