Who Qualifies for an Expunction in Texas?

June 8, 2024 | By Law Offices of David M. White
Who Qualifies for an Expunction in Texas?

If you or a loved one was arrested or convicted of a crime in Texas, you may feel a range of emotions - fear, shame, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future. A criminal record can have far-reaching consequences, damaging your ability to find employment, secure housing, obtain loans, and more. 

However, in some cases, you may expunge your record, giving you a clean slate and a fresh start. Read on to learn about who qualifies for an expunction in Texas and what the process entails.

To get specific information about your rights and options for expunging your criminal record in Texas, reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Abilene,Texas to discuss your case.

Schedule a free consultation

Expungement Laws in Texas

Who Qualifies for an Expunction in Texas

Under Texas law, expungement (known in Texas as expunction) is the process of erasing a criminal record as if the offense never occurred. An expungement destroys and removes from the public record all information related to the arrest, charge, and/or conviction. 

To qualify for expungement in Texas, one of the following must apply:

  • You were arrested but not charged with a crime
  • You were charged with a crime but the charges were later dismissed
  • You were acquitted (found not guilty) at trial
  • You were convicted but later pardoned by the governor
  • You successfully completed a pretrial diversion program

In some cases, even if the court convicted you of a crime, you may still qualify for expungement if you meet certain criteria, such as completing deferred adjudication probation and waiting the required time period.

An attorney can determine whether you qualify and your options for relief.

What Crimes Don't Qualify for Expungement in Texas? 

While many types of criminal records qualify for expungement in Texas, some offenses are excluded under the law.

These include:

  • Most felonies, particularly violent crimes like murder and aggravated assault
  • Offenses involving family violence
  • Most sex offenses requiring sex offender registration 
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)

If you've been convicted of one of these offenses, expungement is not an option. However, you may qualify for an order of nondisclosure (more on that below).

How Long Does a Criminal Charge Stay on My Record in Texas?

Criminal Background Check

 If police arrest you but a court does not convict you of a crime, the arrest record will remain on your criminal history until you take action to expunge it. Texas automatically expunges no records. Dropped or dismissed charges will still show up on background checks until you go through the legal process to remove them.

If you sustained a misdemeanor or felony conviction in Texas, it will remain on your record unless you expunge or seal it. 

Can I Expunge Juvenile Offenses in Texas? 

Juvenile offenses may qualify for expungement if:

  • The offender is at least 17 years old
  • The offense was a misdemeanor
  • The offender has not been convicted of a felony as an adult

How Can I Get a Crime Expunged From My Record in Texas?

The expungement process in Texas involves several steps:

  1. Determine eligibility: Review the requirements to see if you qualify for expungement.
  2. File a petition: You must file a petition for expungement in the court where the offense occurred. 
  3. Attend a hearing: The court will set a hearing date where a judge will review your case and decide whether to grant the expungement.
  4. Notify agencies: If the court grants the expungement, you must notify all agencies with records of the offense (e.g. police departments, courts, jails) and request that they destroy their records.

Work with an experienced attorney who can handle the complex and time-consuming expungement process for you. 

What Is a Petition for Nondisclosure?

criminal defense attorney

If you do not qualify for expungement, you may still seal your criminal record through an order of nondisclosure. While an expungement completely erases a record, a nondisclosure order simply seals it from public view.

To qualify for a nondisclosure order, you must typically have:

  • Successfully completed deferred adjudication probation
  • Waited the required time period (ranging from 180 days to 5 years depending on the offense)
  • Not been convicted of another crime during the waiting period

A nondisclosure order will hide your criminal record from public view. However, certain government agencies and licensing boards can access it.

How Can an Attorney Help? 

Navigating the complex world of expungements and nondisclosure orders can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with the stress and emotions of a criminal case.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process. 

An attorney can:

  • Determine your eligibility for expungement or nondisclosure
  • Gather all necessary documentation and evidence
  • File the appropriate petitions and motions with the court
  • Represent you at hearings and negotiations with the prosecutor
  • Ensure that all agencies comply with the expungement or nondisclosure order

Contact an Experienced Texas Crime Expungement Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of David M. White, we understand the immense impact a criminal record can have on your life. That's why we help clients clear their records and move forward with a clean slate.

If you or a loved one is seeking an expungement or nondisclosure order in Texas, don't hesitate to contact our office today to request a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

We can review your case, explain your options, and guide you through the process. With our knowledge, skills, and commitment to client success, we'll work diligently to help you achieve the best possible outcome and protect your future. Contact us today to get started.

Schedule a free consultation