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Archive for the ‘Expunction’ Category

Job Hunting with a Criminal Background

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Remember when it took true detective skills to track down your best friend from the third grade? Those days are definitely gone, as the Internet has made privacy almost obsolete. While companies were once required to physically search court records, they may now easily uncover job applicants’ criminal backgrounds using the Internet and a surplus of screening companies. In an already tight job market, at least 21 percent of those job seekers have a criminal record, making job placement even less likely. Read how this is trend has affected millions of Americans.

One in four Americans, almost 65 million people, have some type of criminal record, according to a report by the National Employment Law Project. This number has grown due to stricter sentencing and enforcement for non-violent crimes, such as drug offenses and speeding tickets.

There is no federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with criminal records, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (E.E.O.C.) has established rules about how employers may use their found information. (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) In an economy where jobs are scarce and applicants are abundant, employers often opt for those not carrying legal baggage.

New studies called redemption research find that the risk that an ex-offender will be re-arrested decreases substantially over time, (first time offenders: 7-10 years after conviction) making the chances the same as that of someone of the same age with no record.

If have questions about clearing your record contact an experienced Texas Expunction Attorney.

Teachers and Criminal Background Checks

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The Legislature is considering something of a fix to the current expunction process as it applies to teachers.  In the past few years, teachers have had to submit to fingerprinting and background checks.  More than a few that I’ve represented called in a panic when they realized that the dismissals of charges that we were able to obtain didn’t shield them from background checks for arrest records.

As reported in the San Antonio Express-News, the teachers now have their lobbyists involved, claiming that teacher’s privacy rights and need for protection from identity theft should entitle teachers to what can only be called a Super-Duper Expunction, providing protections above those enjoyed by other citizens.  The news outlets don’t like the impingment on First Amendment Newspaper-type rights.

Sometime soon, the citizenry will catch wind of the sale of their criminal histories by the State of Texas to offshore entities beyond the reach of Texas expunction orders.  Then, we will watch another flurry of bills in the legislature.  But, the cow has left the barn on that problem, I’m afraid.

Expunction Fix Considered by Legislature

Monday, March 9th, 2009

In the his blog, Grits for Breakfast, Scott Henson addresses one of the stickier issues in Texas Criminal Law, the expunction process.  A few years back the Texas Supreme Court, threw a curve to the entire expunction process by ruling that, among other things, that the statute of limitations must run before an individual is allowed to clear his record in most cases.  According to Henson, the legislature is considering how to tidy up the process in the current legislative session.  For more information on the subject click here, or here.  Both links are to Henson’s blog, Grits for Breakfast, which deals extensively with Texas Criminal Law issues.

The Criminal Record

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

At about the rate of once every day, I have a conversation with someone about his criminal record  and the exact meaning of the phrase “criminal record.”  “I want to clean up my criminal record.”   ”What is my criminal record?” ”My no good ex-husband has a criminal record!”

There are so many variations of a criminal record and where this information is stored, that the subject is almost impossible to wrestle to the ground with out a specific set of facts from which to ask questions.  My short answer to these types of questions is usually a question.  Have you been arrested?  If so, you have a criminal record.

Records exist at the police station, at the jail, at the courthouse, at the prosecutor’s office, at the county and district clerk’s offices… You get the idea…The records contain arrest information, case disposition information and other embarrassing facts.  Generally speaking, if the criminal case is later dismissed without the defendant being supevised by a probation officer, a person is usually eliglbe for an expunction.

These days, people who have completed certain types of deferred adjudicaition are eligible for a Petition for Non-Disclosure. This process is a availble to individuals whose cases have been “dismissed” after the successful completion of a deferred adjudication.  The process keeps former court proceedings from the public eye, but over sixty state agencies and all law enforcement retains the ability to access the information.  The governing statute is contained in the Texas Government Code Section 411.081(d) here:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/GV/htm/GV.411.20600.17898.htm

Expunctions.  Petitions for non-disclosure.  The process can be confusing.  The Harris County District Attorney’s office offers an FAQ page to sort out some of the questions. http://dao-web.dao.hctx.net/ie/DADJ/FAQs.htm

In this computer age, the flow of information is easily accessible, constant, and often just plain wrong.  Dallas County has had it share of problems making sure that it’s records are in compliance with the law.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/080306dnmetexpunge.220f68c.html

Even smaller counties keep their court records online:

http://www.co.comal.tx.us/Search/CrimSearch/crimfrmd.htm

http://www.co.guadalupe.tx.us/judicialsearch/judsrch.asp