A first-time run in with a Tarrant or Denton County law enforcement officer can be scary. How will a criminal charge affect your future or your child's future? Will an arrest forever appear on a criminal history report?
Certain programs can keep a conviction off your record. One of these is the Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP). This applies when if you or your child was between the ages of 17 and 24 at the time of the alleged offense.
In any deferred prosecution or deferred adjudication program, you must comply with certain requirements and then the case is dismissed. But this does not necessarily mean that the arrest or court records are removed from your criminal history. This information is generally available to the public in the District Clerk's records and the state-wide Computerized Criminal History System database.
How do you then answer the employment form question that asks "have ever been convicted of a crime or entered a plea of guilty or plead no contest to anything other than a minor traffic offense?" You may be required to disclose the arrest even if there was no finding of guilt.
Expunction and an order of nondisclosure
One way around this is to ask for the records to be sealed by the court. The only way to ensure an arrest record or record of court action stays nonpublic is to request expunction or to file a petition asking for an order of nondisclosure.
Class C misdemeanor deferred adjudications generally will qualify. For some Class C offenses, you have to wait five years though.
A request for an order of nondisclosure is the only way to remove more serious charges, such as a Class B, Class A or felony level offense. The order for nondisclosure is not available for all offenses.
With any criminal charge, immediate action is required. Discuss what happened with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can explain available options to minimize the consequences.