If you are reading this, you probably understand the many long-term consequences (trouble with housing, employment, etc.) of a criminal conviction. And like most who made a mistake and paid for their actions, you may wish for a way to erase your past errors.

In Texas, you have two options to consider when seeking to clear your criminal record: an expunction or nondisclosure order. With one of these remedies, you could get the fresh start you need to live a content and productive life.

What is an expunction?

You may already know an expunction basically erases your criminal record so that it does not interfere with your chance to start over. A leading reason to seek an expunction is to ensure that landlords, police officers and employers will never learn about that part of your past.

Expunction is generally only possible for certain misdemeanors and felony charges that were acquitted or dismissed. Severe offenses like murder and sex crimes are ineligible for expunction.

What is a nondisclosure order?

If a judge grants your request for a nondisclosure order, it can prevent the public from accessing your criminal background. It also means you are not required to disclose your past to potential employers or landlords. However, law enforcement officers and others, including professional licensing agencies, may still be able to see your criminal activity.

As you can see, nondisclosure is less effective in sealing criminal records than an expunction. However, it is generally an option in more situations, even if you do not qualify for complete sealing.

Consider learning more about these possible solutions and seek guidance if you feel you need assistance with your case.