How to Expunge Criminal Charges in Texas
Are My Criminal Records Eligible for Expunction?
According to the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the following types of records may be eligible for expunction:
- Arrests for crimes that were never charged
- Criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed
- Some misdemeanor juvenile offenses
- Juvenile convictions for some alcohol-related offenses
- Criminal convictions for failure to attend school
- Arrests, charges, and/or convictions for identity theft committed by another person who has been arrested, charged, and/or convicted of the crime
- Convictions that have been acquitted by the trial court criminal court of appeals
- Convictions that have been pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States
Eligibility for expunction does not automatically guarantee court approval. Even if your records are eligible, your request for expunction may be rejected if any of the following are true:
- You have received deferred adjudication or been given any other type of probation.
- You have been convicted of a felony within five years of the date of the arrest you wish to have expunged.
- The crime, charges, or arrest you are seeking to have expunged is part of a larger criminal episode involving other offenses and you have other pending charges (or are serving a sentence) for crimes related to the same episode.
- The statute of limitations has not yet expired for the arrest, charges, or crime you are seeking to have expunged. (This can be anywhere from 180 days to three years, depending on the nature of the offense in question.)
What Is the Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Records in Texas?
Expunction typically means having arrests, charges, and criminal convictions permanently erased from public record. Though often used interchangeably, record sealing is a bit different and typically involves an order of nondisclosure. This does not erase criminal records, but it can restrict viewing privileges to a small group of government agencies, which means prospective employers who conduct state background checks may not find information related to your arrest, charges, or crimes.
In the state of Texas, you may be eligible to obtain an order of nondisclosure if any of the following are true:
- You pled guilty or no contest and have finished probation or deferred adjudication community supervision.
- It has been five years since your felony conviction.
- It has been two years since your misdemeanor conviction. (For serious misdemeanor crimes)
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor and only penalized with fines.
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor and it has been two years since the completion of your sentence. (If penalized with more than fines)
How Can I Get My Record Expunged in Texas?
Expunctions are difficult to obtain, and having your criminal record cleared is impossible without a skilled attorney on your side. After connecting with a Texas expunctions lawyer, you will work together to file a Petition for Expunction with the proper court. Once your Petition is filed, you will likely be required to attend a hearing in the same Court where you were originally charged, at which point Respondents (related agencies, facilities, and officials) will have the chance to contest your expunction.
Connect with an Expunctions Attorney in Texas
Having criminal records expunged and obtaining orders of nondisclosure are technical, complex processes, and doing so successfully requires in-depth understanding of Texas criminal laws. At Crain Lewis Brogdon, LLP, we have decades of experience handling criminal matters and helping clients preserve their futures through expunction and record sealing. If you are being held back by old criminal charges, arrests, or convictions, we may be able to help you get rid of them.
Call (214) 301-5007 today to speak to a member of our team and schedule your free consultation.