A criminal charge or arrest will pop up anytime someone runs a background check on you, even if you were not convicted.
A criminal record can significantly limit your future employment opportunities and impact where you may or may not reside.
But Texas allows individuals to expunge certain criminal charges or arrests from their criminal record. Expungement means the record is deleted by the court.
Texas also refers to expungement as expunction. When a record is expunged, potential employers and other third parties will not see it when they run a background check.
It also means, after the process is completed, you can attest in sworn documents that you have never been arrested and have never been charged with a crime.
If you want to know how to get your record expunged, contact Austin Hagee Law Firm today. A San Antonio criminal defense attorney can review the circumstances of your case and determine if you qualify.
Texas Expungement Laws
In Texas, you may qualify for an expungement if:
- You were acquitted at trial;
- You were pardoned from a criminal conviction based on actual innocence;
- The charges did not result in a final conviction;
- You were pardoned by the President of the United States or Governor of Texas;
- The statute of limitations on your alleged offense has expired; or
- You were convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses that allow expungement.
Our team of qualified attorneys can help determine whether you qualify for an expungement in Texas. Contact our office today so we can start reviewing your case.
What Crimes are not Eligible for Expungement?
Texas prohibits you from removing certain criminal convictions from your record. You cannot expunge a conviction for the following crimes:
- Driving under the influence,
- Driving while intoxicated,
- Indecency with a child,
- Sexual assault,
- Aggravated robbery,
- Criminal solicitation,
- Assaults with an affirmative finding of family violence,
- Drug trafficking, or
- Aggravated assault.
In some cases, you can request a petition for nondisclosure if you do not qualify for an expungement. A criminal defense attorney can walk you through the process of filing for an expungement.
In Texas, crimes can be expunged under specific circumstances. The State Bar of Texas outlines the following situations where your crime may qualify for expungement:
- You were arrested but never charged with a crime.
- The charges brought against you were eventually dismissed.
- You were the victim of identity theft.
- You were found not guilty in a trial.
How Long Do Criminal Charges Stay on My Record?
Arrests, charges, and convictions stay on your criminal record forever unless you get the record expunged.
Even if the prosecutor drops the charges against you later, the record of the criminal charge and arrest will still show up anytime someone runs a background check.
Thus, it is important to expunge charges as soon as they are eligible.
Can I Expunge Juvenile Offenses in Texas?
The Texas Family Code § 58.253 provides for the automatic sealing of juvenile records when the juvenile meets statutory requirements.
The Department of Public Safety notifies the probation department when a juvenile record may be eligible for automatic sealing.
If you have questions about getting a juvenile record sealed, contact Austin Hagee Law Firm today to talk to one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers about your case.
How to Apply for Expungement in Texas:
File a Petition for Expunction
The first step of applying for an expunction is filing a Petition for Expunction with the district court that has jurisdiction over sealing the relevant criminal record.
This petition asks the court to grant an Order for Expungement. Including incorrect or wrong information in your petition can result in the court refusing to grant the order.
The petition needs to include the following information:
- The petitioner’s name;
- The petitioner’s identifying information;
- Information about the offense charged;
- How the charge was resolved;
- Date of the arrest;
- Name of arresting agency;
- Date the charge was resolved; and
- Case number, if applicable.
An attorney can help complete your Petition for Expunction and ensure it contains the required information.
The Court Schedules a Hearing
Once you file the petition, the court will schedule a hearing and provide notice to the parties. Those parties, typically including the original prosecuting attorney, can contest or agree to the expunction during the hearing.
There is a mandatory waiting period before the court will grant an expunction. The waiting period is generally 180 days for a Class C misdemeanor, one year for Class A and Class B misdemeanors, and at least three years for felonies. A few felony offenses require a longer statutory waiting period than three years.
Once you file a petition for expunction, it takes the court between six and eight weeks to make a ruling.
Clearing the Records
Once the judge signs the Order of Expunction, the court clerk will send a certified copy instructing city, state, and federal agencies to destroy any records of the expunged offense.
The process of deleting the records after receiving the order can take up to six months. Once the order has been finalized and received the records are legally required to be deleted.
If anything remains after the orders have been signed and sent, your lawyer can contact the reporting party and legally force them to delete their records.
Contact a member of Austin Hagee Law Firm today to discuss whether you qualify for an expungement. We can walk you through the filing process and make sure you meet the eligibility requirements.
What Is a Petition for Nondisclosure?
A petition for nondisclosure is an alternative to an expungement that prevents certain private parties from accessing your criminal record.
Obtaining a nondisclosure order is often referred to as getting your record sealed. People who agree to deferred adjudication and complete a term of probation as part of their criminal conviction qualify for a nondisclosure order in Texas.
While a nondisclosure order prevents private employers and landlords from seeing your sealed record, law enforcement and government agencies can still see your full criminal history.
Certain criminal offenses do not qualify for an order of nondisclosure. Such offenses include the following:
- Capital murder;
- A felony conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol;
- Trafficking of persons;
- Injury to a child, elderly person, or disabled person;
- Abandoning or endangering a child;
- Violating a court order or conditions of bond in a case involving family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking;
- Stalking; or
- Any offense involving family violence.
If you receive a conviction or a deferred sentence for another offense after your previous conviction or deferred adjudication sentence, you cannot obtain a nondisclosure order.
Remember, the individual must complete their probation term before they can file a petition for nondisclosure. Additionally, the mandatory waiting periods described above also apply to nondisclosure orders.
Contact Austin Hagee Law Firm to Discuss How to Get Your Record Expunged
A criminal charge or arrest should not negatively affect you for the rest of your life. Consult with a criminal defense attorney in San Antonio right away to see if you qualify for an expungement.
Our team at Austin Hagee Law Firm, PLLC, has experience with working with many types of cases on both sides of the aisle. So our team knows the details of Texas expungement statutes.
We are committed to ensuring our clients receive the best possible representation for their unique circumstances in sealing their criminal record.