If I have a felony from 11 years ago, what do I need to get this off of my record or have it sealed?

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If I have a felony from 11 years ago, what do I need to get this off of my record or have it sealed?

Asked on October 11, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Texas expunction and non-disclosure rules are very limited and specific.  If you were finally convicted (either went to prison or were placed on a strait probation), then you cannot get an expunction or have your records sealed.  You can ask for a pardon, but those are rarely granted in Texas.

If you were placed on a deferred probation and successfully completed it and have had no new offenses, you could qualify for a non-disclosure.  This is where the courts and law enforcement could still see it, but the general public would not otherwise have access to it.  You start this process by filing a petition with the court and serving all interested parties which includes the DA's office, the arresting agency, and DPS.  You then request a hearing on your motion.  At this hearing, you need to present evidence regarding the status of your probation.

If you were only arrested for a felony, but never convicted and the case really didn't go anywhere... then your options will depend on the nature of the felony with which you are charged.  For example, if it's a dope case which has a statute of limitations of three years, you could apply for an expunction to have it completely removed from your record.  Generally you need to wait until the statute of limitations has run or if one of the statutory exceptions applies to your case.  It's harder to aggravated felonies (like sexual assault, aggravated assault, murder, etc.) expunged, but not completely impossible since the legislature made major changes to the expunction statute a year ago which have some provisions for getting even these types of cases expunged.  Considering the current state of the law, this is a good time to look into an expunction while this statute is still favorable.  Many people have been disgruntled about the changes which now authorize expunctions for sex offenses-- so there is a possibility that it could change by next session.  To begin an expunction, you file a petition and serve the same people noted above (as in a non-disclosure) and then you request a final hearing.  You have the burden of proof, so make sure that you go prepared to show why you qualify for an expunction.  Many defendants appear and think it's the state's burden to prove they don't meet the requirements-- when actually a defendant must make the initial showing.   

If you're not sure which option you qualify for, talk to a couple of criminal defense attorneys.  Because of the recent changes discussed above, more are offering expunction and non-disclosure services at reasonable rate.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You most likely will not be able to have your prior felony conviction sealed by the court. However, you make be able to get it "expunged" (deemed no longer a conviction) under certain circumstances.

For that you will need to consult with a criminal defense attorney to assist you in the endeavor. Th court with respect to a properly brought petition looks to the age of the conviciton, the type of crime that occurred, what the convicted person has done with his or her life since and the reasons for seeking the expungement.

The court does not grant every request. The granting of such is discretionary upon the court's part.


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