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I need to clear an arrest from my record (expunction).

Adult Criminal Records

How to ask the court to permanently remove entries from an adult criminal history record.
Overview

Guide Overview

Warning: The information and forms in this guide are not legal advice and are not a substitute for the help of a lawyer.

This guide tells you how to clear an arrest from your record. To learn the difference between clearing and sealing, see Expunctions vs. Nondisclosures in Texas.

Eligibility: Not everyone can get an expunction. In some cases, you may be able to seal your record even if you cannot expunge it. Use the Fresh Start app to see if you're eligible.

Do NOT use this guide for offenses where:

  • you were convicted, or
  • you served deferred adjudication for anything other than a Class C misdemeanor, or
  • you were pardoned, acquitted or released with a judge’s finding of actual innocence, or
  • charges were never filed and the statute of limitation has not expired, or
  • you have not been tried and the prosecutor recommends expunction, or
  • your case involves a “waiting period” and “discretionary expunctions” which require the prosecutor’s assistance and participation in the expunction petition, or
  • you have an error on your criminal history record because someone else used your name when they were arrested, or
  • you have been convicted of any similar crimes in the past, or
  • the arrest you want expunged involved multiple crimes, some of which you were convicted of or may still be prosecuted for.

Order of Nondisclosure Option - You may be able to get a nondisclosure order if you cannot get an expunction. This legally frees you from having to list the offense on applications for things like jobs, housing, and benefits. An order of nondisclosure also stops anyone but law enforcement, authorized licensing organizations, and federal agencies from seeing the offense on your record. For more information, see Expunctions vs. Nondisclosures.

Research Tips

Expunctions vs. Nondisclosures can help you understand more about how to clear and seal your record in Texas.

Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 55 controls expunctions.

Common questions about Adult Criminal Records

Yes. There is a fee to file for an expunction and additional fees for notifying agencies. The fees vary by county. Call the clerk’s office in the county where you were arrested or where the offense(s) allegedly occurred to learn the fees. 

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fees. File the fee waiver and the petition at the same time.

No, unless you are under oath in a criminal proceeding about the arrest. If that happens, you can explain that the arrest was cleared from your record.

If the court approves your petition, everyone listed as a respondent on your petition will be ordered to remove the arrest from your record. It is important to list every agency with information about the offense.

This means you need to list every public entity that you interacted with during your case. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Community Justice Assistance Division
  • Office of Court Administration - E-File Division
  • The law enforcement office that arrested you
  • The sheriff's office of any county where you were in jail
  • Prosecuting Agency - (County Attorney, District Attorney, contract prosecutors as applicable)
  • Clerk of any court involved in your case, other than the one where you file your petition
  • Magistrate that oversaw your arraignment
  • Any agency or individual who issued a warrant, such as a constable if a bond was forfeited
  • Personal Services Office if the case involved a personal bond
  • City or County Counseling Services
  • Treasurer of the county or municipality where your case was heard
  • School administration, if your offense involved campus police
  • Probation offices
  • Community service coordinators
  • Tobacco Alcoholic Beverage Commission if an ID or alcohol-related crime
  • State Office of Administrative Hearings for DWIs
  • Community Supervision and Corrections if you had pretrial diversion 
  • The information technology or record-keeping departments for any of these agencies
  • Any private data-trading companies you know have your info
  • Any employer or former employer that ran a background check
  • If you applied for a license, list the licensing agency.
  • If you receive public benefits, list that state or federal agency.

The list of entities you need to list can vary greatly depending on the nature and location of your offense. If you fail to list an entity, you may need to get another expunction order that includes it.

Be aware that private background-check companies may also have copies of your record. These companies may not update their information in a timely manner. You can contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice at www.continuingjustice.org for help getting private companies to remove your record from their databases.

Yes, you must almost always go to court to clear an arrest from your record. (But, if you hire a lawyer to represent you, the judge may allow the lawyer to go to court without you.)

You may use the instructions and forms in I need to clear an arrest from my record to ask a judge to clear an arrest from your record. You must also meet the requirements set out in the law and listed in the Petition for Expunction of Criminal Records (Charges Dismissed or Quashed) or the Petition for Expunction of Criminal Records (Charges not Filed).  

You will file (turn) in court forms in the district clerk’s office in the same county where you were arrested or where the offense(s) allegedly occurred.

Note: The expunction procedures for the following circumstances are different and are not addressed in this toolkit. Talk with a lawyer if you need to clear an arrest from your record after:

  • An acquittal
  • A pardon
  • An order of actual innocence
  • Charges were never filed and the statute of limitation has not expired before the filing of the petition.
  • You have not been tried and the prosecutor recommends expunction.
  • Your case involves a “waiting period” and “discretionary expunctions” which require the prosecutor’s assistance and participation in the expunction petition.
  • You have an error on your criminal history record because someone else used your name when he or she was arrested.
  • You have been convicted of any similar crimes in the past.
  • The arrest you want expunged involved multiple crimes, some of which you were convicted of or may still be prosecuted for.

No. The court will not approve your petition if:

  • You do not meet the requirements, or
  • If any party in your case opposes your petition and the judge agrees with them.

In most cases, though, the judge must give you an expunction if you qualify. So while the prosecutor may argue that you do not qualify, they cannot stop you from getting an expunction if you do qualify.

The clerk will give each official, agency, or governmental entity named in your petition notice of the hearing.

Any of the parties listed in your petition may go to your hearing and argue against your expunction.

Ask the clerk of the court where you file your court papers how to schedule a hearing date for your case. The hearing date will be at least 30 days after you file your petition. 

 

Yes.  About six months after the judge signs your order, get your criminal history from the Department of Public Safety. View it to confirm the arrest has been removed from your records. Note that in some cases, it may take up to a year to destroy all of your records.

You can also send the expunction order to the Foundation for Continuing Justice at www.continuingjustice.org. They will send copies of the expunction order to private companies that may have your record on file.

In Texas, arrests include any situation that subjects you to the authority of the court. These can include:

  • Being taken into custody by law enforcement
  • Appearing in court for a ticket (e.g., a Class C misdemeanor)
  • Appearing in court for a summons
  • Appearing in court in response to a warrant

You can only expunge felony and misdemeanor arrests. That means you cannot expunge arrests arising out of:

  • contempt of court
  • child support payments
  • other civil penalties

No. Expunctions have no impact on news media. You may try asking them to remove references to your arrest, but they do not have to do so.

Sealing or clearing a criminal record can be complicated. It is a good idea to have an attorney help you if possible. Limited scope representation is one way to help make hiring an attorney more affordable.

Instructions & Forms

Use these instructions to fill out a Petition to clear your criminal record when:

  • Charges were never filed against you.
  • The statute of limitation has expired.

If you fill out this form by hand, be sure to use only blue of black ink.

These materials are intended for general use throughout Texas. However, keep in mind that every county has different procedures. Always follow the court clerk's instructions.

Checklist Steps

You are the Petitioner. Fill in the requested information. List all of your names that appear in your criminal record, including any aliases or incorrect variations. Do not skip any information.

Only give information about one arrest in this section. (You will be able to enter other arrests in Section #4 and an additional form if needed.)

  • Enter the date of your arrest. Check your criminal history record to make sure you have the right date. For example, you may think the arrest was late at night but it was really the next morning.
  • Enter the name of the law enforcement agency that arrested you. This is usually a police department or sheriff’s office. Do not name the individual officer who arrested you.
  • Enter the name of the city and county where you were arrested. If you were not arrested within city limits, write N/A over city.
  • Enter your address at the time of this arrest. This may be different from your current address. If you do not remember, put unknown.
  • Enter the Department of Public Safety (DPS) tracking incident number (TRN) for this arrest. You can find this number in your DPS report. A TRN is assigned to each arrest. You can find it in the "event cycle" section, labeled 1, 2, 3, etc.

You must give complete information about all charges arising out of Arrest #1.

For each charge, print the name of the offense and the following information:

A. Print the case or cause number that was originally assigned to this charge.

Enter the case number assigned to your case.

B. Enter the name of the court assigned to this charge.

Some examples of court names:

  • 345th District Court Travis County, Texas
  • County Court # 2 Bexar County, Texas
  • Municipal Court of Houston Texas
  • Justice Court Precinct 4 Dallas County, Texas

If no court was assigned, enter N/A.

C. Enter the date that offense allegedly occurred.

Check your criminal history record to make sure you have the right date.

D. Time period

To get a full expunction, do not file until after the statute of limitation expires. See Statutes of Limitation for Crimes. If you have questions on what statute of limitation applies to the offense, it’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer.

You can get a partial expunction once the shorter time periods listed in c(1)-(3) have passed. However, unless the prosecutor certifies that they no longer need your record, they and the law enforcement agency can keep a copy of your record on file. They may even sell your records to private data collection companies. You will have to get an additional expunction later to remove these records. If you wait until after the statute of limitation expires, the prosecutor and law enforcement agency cannot keep or sell your record.

2nd – 4th offense from the same arrest

If there were additional offenses from the same arrest, enter the name of the offense and the information requested. This form provides space for up to four offenses related to arrest #1. 

If there were no other offenses charged, enter N/A in the blank for the name of the offense.

If you are asking the Court to expunge only one arrest, skip Section #4 and go to Section #5.

You might have multiple arrests on different dates involving different offenses. You may use this one Petition to expunge all of them if these arrests all:

  • resulted in no charges,
  • were in the same county, and
  • also qualify for expunction.

To expunge more than one arrest, check the box under Section #4 and enter the number of other arrests you want the court to expunge.  

Complete an Additional Arrest Exhibit (Charges not Filed) for each additional arrest with charges not filed. Attach the Exhibit to the Petition.

Labeling Exhibits: At the top of each page of your first Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “A.” At the top of each page of your second Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “B.” Continue labeling each Exhibit with a letter at the top of each page. Also label each Order of Dismissal. This will help to keep your court papers organized for the judge.

Note: Use the instructions for Sections #3, #6, and #7 of the Petition to fill out any Additional Arrest Exhibits.

Read each statement. All the statements must be true. If any are untrue, you cannot use this form. However, you may still qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure.  For more information and for forms for Orders of Nondisclosure, read How to Ask for a Nondisclosure Order?

You must list all the law enforcement agencies involved in each arrest (including any additional arrests you have listed in Additional Arrest Exhibits) and any other official or agency that may have a record of your arrest or arrests. Examples Include:

  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Community Justice Assistance Division
  • Office of Court Administration - E-File Division
  • The law enforcement office that arrested you
  • The sheriff's office of any county where you were in jail
  • Prosecuting Agency - (County Attorney, District Attorney, contract prosecutors as applicable)
  • Clerk of any court involved in your case, other than the one where you file your petition
  • Any agency or individual who issued a warrant, such as a constable if a bond was forfeited
  • Personal Bond/Pretrial Services Office if the case involved a personal bond
  • City or County Counseling Services
  • Treasurer of the county or municipality where your case was heard
  • School administration, if your offense involved campus police
  • Probation offices
  • Community service coordinators
  • Tobacco Alcoholic Beverage Commission if an ID or alcohol-related crime
  • State Office of Administrative Hearings for DWIs
  • Community Supervision and Corrections if you had pretrial diversion 
  • The information technology or record-keeping departments for any of these agencies
  • If you reported the arrest to a licensing agency, list the licensing agency.
  • If you were denied public benefits based on the expunged offense, list that state or federal benefits agency.

This is very important. If you forget to list an entity, that entity may not have to destroy your arrest records. Talk with a lawyer if you have questions.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is listed for you, and it will provide notice to the Federal Bureau of InvestigationNational Crime Information CenterTexas Crime Information Center, the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management, the State Operations Center/Preparedness Section, the Texas Fusion Center, and any entity that purchases Department of Public Safety records.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Community Justice Assistance Division has also been listed for you.

If your case is in Travis County, check the box for the Travis County Information Technology Services. If your case is from another county, do not check the box.

Any Law Enforcement Agency Involved in the Arrest

In many cases, there will be only one law enforcement agency. List each law enforcement agency involved in your arrest. Write the name, address, and email of the arresting agency in the space provided.

If the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission was involved in your arrest, check both boxes and enter the address for the TABC District Office.

Any Jail Where You Were Taken

List all jails where you were taken in the space provided. Include an email for each.

Any Court that Handled the Case

Often, a single court will handle a criminal case from start to finish. Sometimes, though, a case is transferred to another court before it is complete. List every court that held a hearing or issued any decisions in your case.

Court Clerk's Office

List the Court Clerk's Office for each court that handled your case.

Magistrates

Sometimes a magistrate will hear issues your case and make decisions instead of a full judge. List each magistrate who handled your case, if any.

County Information and Technology Services Department

County IT departments often back up data for other county organizations. If your case was in Travis County, check the box. Otherwise, list the county's IT department to make sure that they know to remove your records from the backup database.

County Treasurer

If you paid any court costs or fines in Travis County, check the box. If you paid court costs or fines in another county, list the name and address of that county's Treasurer.  This is to remove records of any fines or court costs you may have paid.

Jail Release

If you posted or even interviewed for a personal or cash deposit bond, include the pretrial services office, if any, involved in this process. List the pretrial services office in the space provided. Include an email for each. If your office was the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Travis County, check the box instead. 

Do not list a private bail bond company.

Community Supervision and Corrections Department / Adult Probation

If you completed a Travis County pretrial diversion program, select the box.

If your pretrial diversion program is from another county, include it in the space provided. Include an email for each. If you did not participate in a pretrial diversion program, leave this blank.

Counseling and Education Services

If you completed a substance abuse evaluation or other mandatory educational services in Travis County, check the box.

If you received these services through a different county's program, include it in the space provided. Include an email for each. If you did not participate in this type of program, leave this blank.

State Licensing Agency

If you had to report the arrest to any state licensing agencies, or if they performed a background check on you that included the arrest, list those agencies here.

Public Employer

If you have any public employers that have your arrest record, such as a school district, list those employees here. Do not list private employers.

Additional Agencies

List any other officials, agencies, and other public entities that may have records of your arrest. Include an email for each.

Some private entities, such as background check companies, purchase arrest records. Attach a list of any entities that you know are publishing or selling your information. Do not list these private entities alongside the state agencies. Attach them as a separate list.

You may use this Private Entity List form. You must have an email or fax for each entity. Note that news organizations do not have to remove your records. 

If you need advice or aren’t sure whether you should include this list, talk with a lawyer.

The request for relief is a list of what you are asking the court to order. You do not need to add any additional requests.

Sign your name and fill in the remaining contact information.

Enter the information requested and sign your name.

Very Important: By signing the Declaration, you are stating under penalty of perjury that everything in the Petition and any attachments is true. This means that lying on these forms is a crime.

Fill out an Additional Arrest Exhibit for each additional arrest you want the court to expunge. Remember that this Petition and exhibits can only address arrests that did not result in charges.

Remember that you can use the instructions for Sections #3, #6, and #7 of the Petition to fill out any Additional Arrest Exhibits.

Remember to Label Exhibits: At the top of each page of your first Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “A.” At the top of each page of your second Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “B.” Continue labeling each Exhibit with a letter at the top of each page. Also label each Order of Dismissal. This will help to keep your court papers organized for the judge.

Call the district court clerk’s office to learn how much it costs to file. If you cannot afford it, fill out Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. File this form with your Petition.

Important: These basic instructions are not a substitute for the legal advice and counsel of a lawyer. A lawyer is trained to protect your legal rights. Even if you decide to represent yourself, try to talk to a lawyer about your case before filing anything. You can hire a lawyer just to review your forms. This is called “limited scope representation.” You may also be able to talk with a lawyer for free at a legal clinic. If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

Call the court clerk and ask how many copies you need to bring when you file. Always make at least one set of copies for your records. The court clerk will keep the originals.

File (turn-in) your completed Petition, any attached exhibits, and fee waiver if applicable.

  • To file your forms online, go to E-File Texas and follow the instructions. Select the district court in either the county where you were arrested or where the offense(s) allegedly occurred.
  • To file your forms in person, turn in your Petition and attached documents to the district clerk’s office in the same county where you were arrested or where the offense(s) allegedly occurred. Call ahead and ask how many copies the clerk needs. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.

At the clerk’s office:

  • Turn in your Petition and other starting forms (and copies).
  • Pay the filing fee (or file your completed Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs if you cannot afford the fee). You can call the clerk’s office ahead of time to learn the filing fee for your case.
  • The clerk will give you a Cause Number and Court Number when you file.
  • The clerk will stamp your copies with the date and time. The clerk will keep the original and return your copies to you. Some clerks may want additional copies for their files and to send notice to parties.

You can also call the clerk's office to ask if you can mail the filings.

Ask the clerk how to schedule a hearing for your case. Ask if you need to physically or virtually attend the hearing.

Alternatively, the clerk may tell you to contact the court directly to set a hearing with the court coordinator.

  • The clerk or coordinator may give you a hearing date when you file your Petition, or may send you a notice with the date, time, and location of your hearing.
  • The hearing will be at least 30 days after you file your Petition.
  • File a Notice of Hearing. The court will give each official or agency or other governmental entity named in your Petition the notice.

Use this form if you are asking to expunge only one arrest:

Order Granting Expunction of Criminal Records (Charges not Filed)

Use this form if you are asking to expunge more than one arrest:

Order Granting Expunction of Criminal Records (Charges Dismissed or Quashed and Additional Arrests with Charges not Filed)

You will ask the judge to sign the Order form on the hearing date. Fill it out completely (except for the judge’s signature). After the judge signs, bring it to the court clerk.

Contact the court to ask if you need to be physically present at your hearing.

Read Tips for the Courtroom for more information about going to Court.

Bring the following with you to court:

  • The Order Directing Expunction of Criminal Records for the judge to sign.
  • If you were charged and your charges were dismissed, you should also bring copies of the dismissals with you to court.

When you get to the courthouse, go to the courtroom.

  • Ask the clerk in the courtroom if you need the court file or docket sheet (list of what has been filed in your case) and give the clerk your paperwork. (The clerk may be sitting in court near the judge instead of in their office.)
  • Sit down until the judge calls your case.
  • When the judge calls your case, walk to the front of the courtroom and stand in front of the judge’s bench. The judge will have you raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth.
  • Be ready to explain to the judge why you are eligible to have the criminal records expunged.

If the judge agrees to clear the arrest from your record, the judge will sign the Order.

After the judge signs the Ordertake the signed Order back to the court clerk. (The judge may hand your papers directly to the clerk if they are sitting in the courtroom.)

  • File (turn-in) the signed Order Directing Expunction of Criminal Records. Your case is not final until you do so.
  • Get certified copies of your Order signed by the judge from the clerk while you are there. If you did not get a fee waiver, the clerk may charge a fee for the certified copies. 
  • Ask the clerk to send a certified copy of the signed Order to the agencies, governmental entities and any other parties listed on the OrderThe Order tells these entities to return or destroy all records about the arrest.
  • Keep a copy of the signed Order for your records.
  • Note: It is possible that many private background-check companies have copies of your records. After you get your Order, you can contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice at www.continuingjustice.org for help getting private companies to remove your records from their databases.
  • Ask the clerk about their policy for destroying expunged files and what you need to do to get a copy for your records before they are destroyed.

Forms Required

Keep in mind that every county has different procedures. Always follow the court clerk's instructions.

Use these instructions to fill out a Petition to clear your criminal record when:

  • Charges were filed against you.
  • The charges were dismissed or quashed.
  • The statute of limitation has expired (or the reduced waiting period has expired, if seeking only a partial expunction).

If you fill out this form by hand, be sure to use only blue of black ink.

Checklist Steps

You are the Petitioner. Fill in the requested information. List all of your names that appear in your criminal record, including any aliases or incorrect variations. Do not skip any information.

Only give information about one arrest in this section. (You will be able to enter other arrests in Section #4 if needed.)

  • Enter the date of your arrest. Check your criminal history record to make sure you have the right date. For example, you may think the arrest was late at night but it was really the next morning.
  • Enter the name of the law enforcement agency that arrested you. This is usually a police department or sheriff’s office. Do not name the individual officer who arrested you.
  • Enter the name of the city and county where you were arrested. If you were not arrested within city limits, write N/A over city.
  • Enter your address at the time of this arrest. This may be different from your current address. If you do not remember, put "Unknown."
  • Enter the Department of Public Safety (DPS) tracking incident number (TRM) for this arrest. You can find this number in your DPS report. A TRN is assigned to each arrest. You can find the TRN in the Event Cycle section. These sections are labeled "Event Cycle 1," Event Cycle 2," etc.

You must give complete information about all charges arising out of Arrest #1. 

For each charge, print the name of the offense and the following information:

A. Print the case or cause number that was originally assigned to this charge.

Check the box indicating the Court in which the charge was originally filed. List the exact number or name of the court.

Some examples of court names:

  • 345th District Court Travis County, Texas
  • County Court # 2 Bexar County, Texas
  • Municipal Court of Houston Texas
  • Justice Court Precinct 4 Dallas County, Texas

Note: It is possible that the official charges related to your arrest started in one court and were assigned a cause number, but later transferred to another court and were assigned a different cause number.  If so, you need to list the information about all courts and cause numbers that were assigned to your case. (See E. below for the information you will provide about the court finally dismissing the charge.)

B. Enter the date that offense allegedly occurred.

Check your criminal history record to make sure you have the right date.

C. Enter the number of years for the statute of limitation that applies to the offense.

See Statutes of Limitation for Crimes. If you have questions on what statute of limitation applies to the offense, it’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer.

D-1. Check this box if the statute of limitation has passed for this offense before the filing of this Petition, or

D-2. Check this box and the below box that applies to your case (even if the statute of limitation has not passed) if the charge was dismissed or quashed because one of the following is true:

  • because of mistake or false information or for a similar reason indicating the absence of probable cause that you had committed the crime charged, or
  • because it was void, or
  • because you completed a pretrial intervention program authorized under 76.011 of the Texas Government Code.

Note: It is possible that both the statute of limitation has passed and that the charges were dismissed or quashed because of one of the above reasons. Check all applicable boxes that apply to the offense.

E. If the charge was dismissed by the same court, check box e(1) and skip to f.

Note: If the charge was transferred and dismissed by a different court, check box e(2) and print the new cause number. Then, check the box indicating the Court that dismissed the charge.  Fill in the exact number or name of the court.

F. Print the date the charge was dismissed. It is important to check the order of dismissal to make sure you have the right date.

G. Attach a copy of the order of dismissal to the Petition.

If there were additional offenses from the same arrest, print the name of the offense and the information requested. This form provides space for up to four offenses related to arrest #1. 

If there were no other offenses charged, enter N/A in the blank for the name of the offense.

If you are asking the court to expunge only one arrest, skip Section #4 and go to Section #5.

You might have multiple arrests on different dates involving different offenses. You may use this one petition to expunge all charges so long as all the arrests were in the same county, all of the charges were quashed or dismissed, and all charges also qualify for expunction. To expunge more than one arrest, check the box under Section #4 and enter the number of other arrests you want the court to expunge.

Labeling Exhibits: At the top of each page of your first Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “A.” At the top of each page of your second Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “B.” Continue labeling each Exhibit with a letter at the top of each page. Also label each Order of Dismissal. This will help to keep your court papers organized for the judge.

Note: Use the instructions for Sections #3, #6, and #7 of the Petition to fill out any Additional Arrest Exhibits.

Read each statement. All the statements must be true. If any are untrue, you cannot use this form. However, you may still qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure.  For more information and for forms for Orders of Nondisclosure, read How to ask for a nondisclosure order.

You must list all the law enforcement agencies involved in each arrest (including any additional arrests you have listed in Additional Arrest Exhibits) and any other official or agency that may have a record of your arrests. Examples Include:

  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Community Justice Assistance Division
  • Office of Court Administration - E-File Division
  • The law enforcement office that arrested you
  • The sheriff's office of any county where you were in jail
  • Prosecuting Agency - (County Attorney, District Attorney, contract prosecutors as applicable)
  • Clerk of any court involved in your case, other than the one where you file your petition
  • Magistrate that oversaw your arraignment
  • Any agency or individual who issued a warrant, such as a constable if a bond was forfeited
  • Personal Bond/Pretrial Services Office if the case involved a personal bond
  • City or County Counseling Services
  • Treasurer of the county or municipality where your case was heard
  • School administration, if your offense involved campus police
  • Probation offices
  • Community service coordinators
  • Tobacco Alcoholic Beverage Commission if an ID or alcohol-related crime
  • State Office of Administrative Hearings for DWIs
  • Community Supervision and Corrections if you had pretrial diversion 
  • The information technology or record-keeping departments for any of these agencies.
  • If you reported the arrest to a licensing agency, list the licensing agency.
  • If you were denied public benefits based on the offense you want to expunge, list that state or federal agency.

This is very important. If you forget to list an entity, that entity may not have to destroy your arrest records. Talk with a lawyer if you have questions.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is listed for you, and it will provide notice to the Federal Bureau of InvestigationNational Crime Information CenterTexas Crime Information Center, the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management, the State Operations Center/Preparedness Section, the Texas Fusion Center, and any entity that purchases Department of Public Safety records.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Community Justice Assistance Division has also been listed for you.

If your case is in Travis County, check the box for the Travis County Information Technology Services. If your case is from another county, do not check the box.

Any Law Enforcement Agency Involved in the Arrest

In many cases, there will be only one law enforcement agency. List each law enforcement agency involved in your arrest.  Write the name, address, and email of the arresting agency in the space provided.

Any Jail where I was Taken

List all jails where you were taken in the space provided. Include an email for each.

Prosecutor’s Office Handling My Case

List the prosecutor’s office involved in your case, if any, in the space provided. Include an email for each.

Court in which the Complaint was Filed

If a complaint was filed in your case, list the court in which it was filed. Misdemeanor complaints may be filed in Municipal Court, Community Court or any Justice of the Peace Precinct. List the name, address, and email for each the court in the space provided.

Clerk’s Office where my Case was Filed/Prosecuted

If a case was filed against you, include the appropriate City, County, or District Clerk. List the name, address, and email of the clerk’s office where your case was filed/prosecuted, if any, in the space provided.

Jail Release

If you posted or even interviewed for a personal or cash deposit bond, include the pretrial services office, if any, involved in this process. List the pretrial services office in the space provided. Include an email for each. If your office was the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Travis County, check the box instead. Do not list a private bail bond company.

Successful Completion of Pretrial Diversion

If you completed a Travis County pretrial diversion program, select the box.

If your pretrial diversion program is from another county, include it in the space provided. Include an email for each. If you did not participate in a pretrial diversion program, leave this blank.

Counseling and Education Services

If you completed a substance abuse evaluation or other services in Travis County, check the box.

If you received these services through a different county's program, include it in the space provided. Include an email for each. If you did not participate in this type of program, leave this blank.

Additional Agencies

List any other officials, agencies, and other public entities that may have records of your arrest. Include an email for each.

Some private entities, such as background check companies,  purchase arrest records. Attach a list of any entity that you know  is publishing or selling your information. Note that news organizations do not have to remove your records. these entities to your Petition so that they expunge your records. (If you need advice or aren’t sure whether you should include this list, talk with a lawyer.)

You must include an email or fax number for each entity. Do not list these private entities with government agencies. Attach them separately using the Private Entity List form.

The request for relief is a list of what you are asking the court to order. You do not need to add any additional requests. 

Sign your name and fill in the remaining contact information.

Enter the information requested and sign your name.

Very Important: By signing the Declaration, you are stating under penalty of perjury that everything in the Petition and any attachments is true. This means that lying on these forms is a crime.

Fill out an Additional Arrest Exhibit for each additional arrest you want the court to expunge. Remember that this Petition and exhibits can only address arrests for which charges were dismissed or quashed.

Remember that you can use the instructions for Sections #3, #6, and #7 of the Petition to fill out any Additional Arrest Exhibits.

Remember to Label Exhibits: At the top of each page of your first Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “A.” At the top of each page of your second Additional Arrest Exhibit, print the letter “B”. Continue labeling each Exhibit with a letter at the top of each page. Also label each Order of Dismissal. This will help to keep your court papers organized for the judge.

Call the district court clerk’s office to learn how much it costs to file. If you cannot afford it, fill out Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. File this form with your Petition

Important: These basic instructions are not a substitute for the legal advice and counsel of a lawyer. A lawyer is trained to protect your legal rights. Even if you decide to represent yourself, try to talk to a lawyer about your case before filing anything. You can hire a lawyer just to review your forms. This is called “limited scope representation.” You may also be able to talk with a lawyer for free at a legal clinic. If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

Make at least two copies of each document. One set is for your records. The court clerk will keep the originals.

Ask the clerk if you need any additional copies.

File (turn-in) your completed Petition, any attached exhibits, and fee waiver if applicable.

  • To file your forms online, go to E-File Texas and follow the instructions. Select the district court in either the county where you were arrested or where the offense(s) allegedly occurred.
  • To file your forms in person, turn in your Petition and attached documents to the district clerk’s office in the same county where you were arrested or where the offense(s) allegedly occurred. Call ahead and ask how many copies the clerk needs. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.

At the clerk’s office:

  • Turn in your Petition and other starting forms (and copies).
  • Pay the filing fee (or file your completed Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs if you cannot afford the fee). You can call the clerk’s office ahead of time to learn the filing fee for your case.
  • The clerk will give you a Cause Number and Court Number when you file.
  • The clerk will stamp your copies with the date and time. The clerk will keep the original and return your copies to you. Some clerks may want additional copies for their files and to send notice to parties.

You can also call the clerk to ask them if you can mail the filings.

Ask the clerk how to schedule a hearing for your case. Also ask if you need to physically or virtually attend the hearing.

  • The clerk may give you a hearing date when you file your Petition, or may send you a notice with the date, time, and location of your hearing. Alternatively, the clerk may require you to contact the court directly to set the hearing with the court coordinator.
  • The hearing will be at least 30 days after you file your Petition.
  • File a Notice of Hearing. The court will give each official or agency or other governmental entity named in your Petition the notice.

Use this form if you are asking to expunge only one arrest:

Order Granting Expunction of Criminal Records (Charges Dismissed or Quashed)

Use this form if you are asking to expunge more than one arrest:

Order Granting Expunction of Criminal Records (Charges Dismissed or Quashed and Additional Arrests with Charges not Filed)

You will ask the judge to sign the Order on the hearing date. Fill it out completely (except for the judge’s signature). After the judge signs, bring it to the court clerk.

Contact the court and ask if you need to be physically present.

Read Tips for the Courtroom for more information about going to Court.

Bring the following with you to court:

  • The Order Directing Expunction of Criminal Records for the judge to sign.
  • If you were charged and your charges were dismissed, you should also bring copies of the dismissals with you to court.

When you get to the courthouse, go to the courtroom.

  • Ask the clerk in the courtroom if you need the court file or docket sheet (list of what has been filed in your case) and give the clerk your paperwork. (The clerk may be sitting in court near the judge instead of in their office.)
  • Sit down until the judge calls your case.
  • When the judge calls your case, walk to the front of the courtroom and stand in front of the judge’s bench. The judge will have you raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth.
  • Be ready to explain to the judge why you are eligible to have the criminal records expunged.

If the judge agrees to clear the arrest from your record, the judge will sign the Order.

After the judge signs the Ordertake the signed Order back to the court. (The judge may hand your papers directly to the clerk.)

  • File (turn-in) the signed Order Directing Expunction of Criminal Records. Your case is not final until you do so.
  • Get certified copies of your Order signed by the judge from the clerk while you are there. If you did not get a fee waiver, the clerk may charge a fee for the certified copies. 
  • Ask the clerk to send a certified copy of the signed Order to the agencies, governmental entities, and any other parties listed on the OrderThe Order tells these entities to return or destroy all records about the arrest.
  • Keep a copy of the signed Order for your records.
  • Note: It is possible that many private background-check companies have copies of your records. After you get your Order, you can contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice at www.continuingjustice.org for help getting private companies to remove your records from their databases.
  • Ask the clerk about their policies for destroying expunged files. Ask them what you need to do to get a copy of the expunged file for your records before it is destroyed.

Forms Required

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