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How to Get Your Record Expunged In Texas
If you have been arrested, you already know that your arrest and criminal record will impact your life for years to come. Don’t let this be a lifetime burden! Under certain conditions, Texas allows you to file a petition to have your arrest and/or criminal record hidden from public access or even deleted entirely.
When your record is removed from public access, the record is hidden by an order of nondisclosure and will no longer be seen by credit agencies, potential employers and background investigators. Your record will still be available to local, state and federal police agencies, or to anyone with a court order that allows them access your information for a specific reason.
If you can meet the conditions set forth by Texas law, you can petition a court to have your record deleted. This is known as expungement and, once the order of record expungement has been issued, it is as if you were never arrested or convicted. In other words, you get to start over with a clean slate and no one need know about your previous run-in with the Texas criminal justice system.
The basic requirement for an adult expungement order are to meet one of the following conditions:
- You were charged, went to trial, and found to be innocent (acquitted)
- You were convicted but later pardoned by the Governor
- You were formally charged with a crime but the charge was dismissed, and the statute of limitations for the crime has run out
- You were arrested but never formally charged with a crime and the waiting period prescribed by law has been satisfied
The lengths of the waiting periods after you were arrested but never charged are based on the nature of your arrest.
- Class C misdemeanor, 180 days from the date of your arrest
- Class A or B misdemeanor, one year from the date of your arrest
- Felony, three years from the date of your arrest
Sealing and expungement are not allowed in cases of arrests and convictions for some types of crimes and certain administrative records including, but not limited to:
- Sex Crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Violent Felonies
- Probation Records
- Department of Motor Vehicles records
A more detailed explanation of arrests and/or convictions that can be sealed or expunged can be provided by an attorney who handles these requests on a regular basis. Call me at (832) 259-9095, or take our free expungement eligiblity test. There is no requirement to provide any personal contact information and the results are immediate:
Record Sealing vs. Record Expungement
Deciding if you want your criminal record hidden or expunged can be a difficult decision but, to a certain extent, state law does limit your decision based on the type of crime you were charged with and whether or not you were convicted.
If your record meets the state-mandated requirements, expungement is usually the best course of action. If your petition for expungement is granted, every document that is pertinent to your arrest and/or conviction is destroyed. Expunction is truly your best shot at making a “fresh start.”
If your record is expunged, you can legally state that you were never arrested or convicted. This means that you can swear under oath, in both criminal and civil cases, that you have no criminal record. You can also deny that you have a criminal record when the question arises on employment applications or if you are applying for a home loan or a Small Business Administration loan or grant.
In certain cases, expungement may not be allowed. It is sometimes possible to file a petition to have your record sealed. Sealing does not have the advantages associated with expungement but it is an option if your petition for expungement is denied on eligibility grounds.
Juvenile Arrests and Expungement / Sealing
Despite what you may have been told, your juvenile criminal records are not automatically sealed when you reach the age of 18. Unless sealed by the court, juvenile criminal records will be available to read law enforcement, juvenile justice system workers and probation officers, prospective employers, educational institutions, or if you apply for scholarships or student loans.
Record expungement or sealing of juvenile records is possible, but the procedure for making these requests differs from those of adult petitions. The basic requirements for filing a petition to seal juvenile records are:
- You were not arrested for a felony or a misdemeanor which a jail time sentence could have been given
- At least 5 years have passed since your 16th birthday (you must be 21 years of age or older)
- you have not has been convicted of a felony since your original arrest
There are many other laws and regulations that can significantly impact juvenile petitions to seal or expunge a record. The potential complexity of juvenile petitions makes it vital that an attorney be consulted at every stage of these requests.
How To File a Petition for Expungement or Non-disclosure
Although you do not need an attorney to manage your petition for record sealing or expunction, it cannot be expressed in strong enough terms that these requests are not something that you want to try on your own. Aside from not collecting all the information that will be necessary for you to even file your petition, you run the chance that you may not be able to refile if your petition is dismissed on any technical point. You also must remember that your petition may be opposed by the District Attorney’s office and that they will be represented at your hearing.
As is the case whenever you are dealing with the criminal justice system, you need to remember that the legislature can amend an existing law, repeal a law, or pass a new law that is relevant to the process of filing expungement or non-disclosure petitions. In order to make sure that your petition is heard by the court it is strongly advised that you consult an attorney that has experience with the filing of these petitions.
Advantages of Expunging Your Record
A criminal record can keep you from gaining employment, prevent you from getting into certain schools, and in most cases make one subject to a long lasting public stigma. Contact our lawyers to establish whether your criminal record can be expunged and ultimately send you on your way with a clear record.
Let us start your expungement process now! Call us at (832) 259-9095, or
Under Article. 55.01, Right to expungement, an individual who has been arrested for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
(1) the individual is tried for the offense for which the individual was arrested and is:
(A) acquitted by the trial court, except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section; or
(B) convicted and subsequently pardoned; or
(2) each of the following conditions exist:
(A) an indictment or information charging the individual with commission of a felony has not been presented against the indivifual for an offense arising out of the transaction for which the individual was arrested or, if an indictment or information charging the individual with commission of a felony was presented, it has been dismissed and the court finds that it was dismissed because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of the dismissal to believe the person committed the offense or because it was void;
(B) the person has been released and the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 of this code; and
(C) the person has not been convicted of a felony in the five years preceding the date of the arrest.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section, a district court may expunge all records and files relating to the arrest of a person who has been arrested for commission of a felony or misdemeanor under the procedure established under Article 55.02 of this code if the person is:
(1) tried for the offense for which the individual was arrested;
(2) convicted of the offense; and
(3) acquitted by the court of criminal appeals.
(c) A court may not order the expungement of records and files relating to an arrest for an offense for which a person is subsequently acquitted, whether by the trial court or the court of criminal appeals, if the offense for which the person was acquitted arose out of a criminal episode, as defined by Section 3.01, Penal Code, and the person was convicted of or remains subject to prosecution for at least one other offense occurring during the criminal episode.