Clearing Your Texas Adult Criminal Record (Expunction

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Texas law allows you to completely purge any and all traces of your adult criminal records history, including paper and digital only under very restricted situations:

  1. Arrested but not charged with a felony. You cannot have any felony convictions in the 5 years preceding the date of arrest
  2. Arrested and charged with a felony but the charge (i.e., indictment) was dismissed. In this case you not been convicted of a felony within 5 years preceding the date of the arrest.
  3. Tried and found not guilty.
  4. Won on appeal.
  5. Granted a pardon by the governor.
  6. Deferred disposition on a Class C misdemeanor charges).
  7. Wrongfully arrested because of mistaken identity.

A person who has successfully completed a Texas deferred adjudication on a misdemeanor or felony cannot used the expunction process but may qualify to file for an “Order of Non-Disclosure” This non-disclosure order seals you records from the public and so is not as complete a remedy as an expunction.

There are certain limitation and exceptions as to when an expunction can be filed. In most cases, it is necessary that the statute of limitations for the offense must run before you are entitled to an expunction. However, in some cases the granting of an expunction is discretionary even though the statute of limitations has not run. This means that your record can be cleared even if the time that charges can be filed for the offense has not run out. A small exception may exist for cases in which the Director of Public Safety may file a petition for expunction on your behalf (“ex parte”).

DUI convictions: A DWI conviction can never be expunged.

Driving records: No DMV records can be expunged.

Getting a criminal record expunged involves the filing of a petition in the same court where the criminal charges were originally handled. The process is outlined in the article titled “Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Arrest Records in Texas“.

Effect: When your expunction order is signed, all agencies holding your criminal record are required to literally destroy the criminal record, fingerprints, booking photo, mug shots, arrest records, and DPS records, leaving no documented evidence of your prior arrest. You also can legally deny that the arrest ever occurred and the expunction order existed. An expunction order allows you to legally answer “no” on an employment, school, military or other application that you were ever arrested (the exception to this is if you are under oath in a criminal proceeding).

Click on for the law on expunction of criminal records.

For more articles on the Texas expunction process, click on the following:

Overview of Texas Criminal Expunction and Record Sealing

Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Arrest Records in Texas

Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Texas: Nondisclosure Orders

Process for Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Texas: Nondisclosure Order

Sealing or Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records in Texas

Process for Sealing or Expunging Juvenile Records in Texas

Automatic Restriction of Access to Juvenile Criminal Records in Texas

Do I Need an Attorney in Texas to File a Petition for Expunction or to Seal My Criminal Records?

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