Expungement in Texas: What You Need to Know
The first thing you need to understand when learning about expungement in Texas is that arrests do not equal guilty charges. This can be hard to remember if you’ve recently been caught driving while being above the legal alcohol limit or have a warrant for your arrest.
Between the time of your arrest and the time of sentencing, a whole lot can happen. Especially in a world where cases often last months or even years, it’s extremely important to keep the notion of “innocent until proven guilty” in the front of your mind and if you want a shot at expungement in Texas.
Expungement in Texas Explained
In Texas, a petition for expunction is a process that legally erases a crime from an individual’s record. There are different means and methods towards obtaining expungement in Texas (see pretrial diversion) but typically, expungements happen during sentencing. It can be initiated shortly after, given the result of the sentence or at a later date if there are new findings in the case.
Texas Expungement Eligibility
Many different types of crimes are eligible for expungement in Texas, so long as the arrest did not lead to a guilty verdict, and the individual received a deferred adjudication for a class C misdemeanor. One of the most common types of expungement in Texas that people seek is DWI expungement, as getting a DWI in Texas can come with a slew of repercussions.
What Can and Cannot be Expunged in Texas?
The Texas Young Lawyers Association and State Bar of Texas outline the following crimes as being qualified for expunction in Texas:
- An arrest for a crime that was never charged
- A criminal charge that was ultimately dismissed
- Certain qualifying misdemeanor juvenile offenses
- Conviction of a minor for certain alcohol offenses
- Conviction for failure to attend School
- Arrest, charge, or conviction on a person’s record due to identity theft by another individual that was actually arrested, charged or convicted of the crime
- Conviction for a crime that was later acquitted by the trial court or the Criminal Court of Appeals
- Conviction for a crime that was later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the US President
With good defense, expunging a misdemeanor in Texas and getting a felony expunged in Texas are both possible.
With a good defense, expunging a misdemeanor in Texas and getting a felony expunged in Texas are both possible.
Record Sealing and Orders of Nondisclosure
If you do not qualify for expunction of your charge, you may still be in luck. Texas law also allows a petition for nondisclosure if you have completed deferred adjudication. Different than expungement in Texas, deferred adjudication is a type of plea deal where the defendant pleads “guilty” or “no contest” to their charges in exchange for meeting certain requirements laid out by the court of law, including community supervision.
When a record has been sealed, only a small group of government agencies and select entities specified in your agreement will be able to view your criminal. That being said, there are some crimes that will always show up on a criminal background check in Texas. The following crimes are never eligible for record sealing in Texas public criminal records:
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Any crime that requires you to register as a sex offender
- Any family violence offense
- Child endangerment or abandonment
- Human trafficking
Expungement in Texas for Juvenile Offenses
Minors are also eligible for expungement under certain circumstances, including if they are charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fine committed prior to the age of 17, offenses that fall under the Alcoholic Beverage Code, and failure to attend school. Judges are often more lenient and giving when it comes to minors, but if an individual under the age of 17 has multiple convictions of his/her record, expungement in Texas become less likely.
Get Your Expungement in Texas Today
We’ve all been made mistakes that are worth forgiving. Rather than letting your record be tarnished for forever, contact us at Thiessen Law Firm and we’ll start the process of filing for your expungement in Texas.
The criminal defense lawyers at Theissen Law Firm can help answer case-specific questions, such as “How much does it cost to get my record expunged in Texas?” or “How long does it take to get your criminal record expunged in Texas?”
In addition to clearing the record legally, expunctions and record sealings have helped our clients regain control of their lives. Get in touch with the most aggressive Houston DWI attorney today and we’ll do the same for you.