Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure sets forth procedures to expunge arrest, court and criminal history records information. This procedure is known as expunction or expungement.
When does the right to the Texas expungement process vest?
Individuals eligible for Texas expungement fall into two categories: those who have been arrested but never convicted and those who have only been adjudicated for minor (Class C misdemeanor) offenses. In both cases, you can clear your record by taking certain steps outlined in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Under the law, a person who was placed under arrest for the commission of a felony or misdemeanor in Texas is, with a few exceptions, entitled to expungement of his records and all files relating to the arrest if he is tried for the offense for which he was arrested and:
- Is acquitted by the trial court (in most circumstances);
- Is convicted but later pardoned;
- Is released and the charge has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court-ordered community supervision required by the court;
- A grand jury “no billed” the indictment in the matter;
- Has successfully completed a deferred adjudication for a Class C misdemeanor;
- His criminal record is not really his, but the result of identity theft, or;
- The case was dismissed for any reason, including procedural failures on the part of the prosecution such as failure to establish probable cause, failure to present sufficient evidence or failure to produce witnesses.
If any of these circumstances apply to you, you can clear your record in Texas through our do-it-yourself expungement forms.
Before completing your Texas expungement forms, you should obtain a copy of your criminal history maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, so that you can see what has been recorded and properly address it. In some cases, the history may contain erroneous information and you may want to consult with a Texas expungement attorney to determine the best course of action.
When is expungement not an option?
You do not have Texas expungement eligibility if you have a felony conviction on your record in the preceding five years before the arrest you wish to expunge. If you have been convicted of a crime other than a Class C misdemeanor, you cannot have that charge expunged. There are some exceptions for drug court convictions.
If you are not eligible for a Texas expungement, you may still be eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure from the State. Be sure to examine all the options that may be available to you for clearing your record.
When should I start the Texas expungement process?
You should start your Texas expungement process as soon as possible. While mandatory waiting periods sometimes apply before you can file for a Texas expungement, you need to be diligent or you can potentially lose the right to expunge the arrest and court records of a case.
Get your Texas expungement forms today and start the process of living life with a clean record.
Current legislative update is included in these forms – August 2012.