Information Sheet: Expunction and Non Disclosure in Texas
Authored By: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
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How do I expunge my criminal history record?
Expunction can remove entries from your criminal history records. In Texas, expunction is very limited.
You might be eligible for expunction if:
- charges were never filed, or
- charges were filed, but then dismissed, or
- you were acquitted, or
- you have not been tried and the prosecutor recommends expunction, OR
You were convicted, but pardoned or otherwise granted relief based on your actual innocence.
NOTE: Expunction does NOT apply to offenses resulting in deferred adjudication. Completing community supervision does not get rid of the conviction. The offense might be eligible for Nondisclosure (see below).
- Expunction does NOT apply to offenses leading to suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
How do I file for expunction?
File an Application for Expunction in the county of your arrest. There is a waiting period before you can file the application. For Class C misdemeanors, the waiting period is at least 180 days from the date of arrest. For Class A and B misdemeanors, the wait is1 year. For felonies, the wait is at least 3 years from the date of arrest.
A free expunction packet with instructions and forms is available from www.texaslawhelp.org.
The Application requires a filing fee and an official finger print card, which you can get from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Once filed, the clerk will set a hearing on your Application no earlier than 30 days from the date of filing. Once expunged, you do not have to admit that you were arrested on job applications or anywhere else.
Can I get my criminal records sealed?
An adult can seek non disclosure of criminal history records from the public under Sec.411.081 of theTex.Gov’t Code, but the records will remain visible to prosecutors and certain government agencies.
To be eligible forNondisclosure:
1. The offense must be among those eligible for nondisclosure, AND
2. Successful completion of deferred adjudication and an order of discharge from community supervision.
Offenses NOT eligible for nondisclosure:
Are those under Texas Penal Code Sections 20.04,19.02, 19.03 22.04, 22.041, 25.07, or 42.072, or involving family violence as defined in Tex. Family Code Sec. 71.004. These include:
- Sex offenses - Sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, prohibited sexual conduct (incest)
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Burglary of habitation with intent to commit any of above offenses
- Offenses involving children, elderly, disabled - indecency with a child; sexual performance by a child, possession/promotion of child pornography ; injury to a child, elderly, or disabled individual; abandoning or endangering child; unlawful restraint, kidnapping/aggravated kidnapping of person younger than 17;
- Compelling prostitution;
- Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of above offenses;
- Protective orders and family violence: Violation of protective order/magistrate's order; stalking; any offense involving family violence;
Murder, capital murder.
For most misdemeanors, you can file your petition for non disclosure as soon as you are discharged from community supervision and your case is dismissed.
A misdemeanor under Tex. Penal Code Chapters 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, or 46 have a 2-year waiting period from the date of discharge and dismissal. For eligible felonies, the wait is 5 years.
What is the procedure for nondisclosure?
File a Petition for Nondisclosure in the court of conviction, notify the prosecutor’s office and attend a hearing.
Once entered, the Order of Nondisclosure prohibits criminal justice agencies from disclosing your criminal history to the public, but records remain available to law enforcement,schools,and other state agencies,including agencies that govern licensed occupations.