Sealing the Records, Texas Style (Expunctions and Nondisclosures)

By Cole Fulks

“Nobody is perfect” is a saying that can apply to individuals, government agencies and our system of laws and justice. Although we as citizens want our criminal justice system to be tough on offenders, we are a nation of “second chances” and our laws are designed with this concept in mind. When an error is made, the law attempts to right wrongs.

Back in the dark ages before computers, we would talk about “sealing the record” to ensure that the wrong was put to rest. The mental image of a document being sealed with candle wax and an official seal might come to mind, but usually the process consisted of a document being placed in the file folder and the folder replaced on the shelf. Sealed indeed!

Fast forward to the present, with computers, the Internet and the ability to Google© someone to find out about their past activities. Can a wrong still be made right?

Texas law provides for an “expunction” or a “nondisclosure” of certain records. The procedure for obtaining either is substantially similar.

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