Expungement Guide

Texas Expungement

"Have you ever been arrested or charged with a criminal offense?" That sentence pops up on almost every employment application. Unless the job if for the federal government, it is technically not against the law to lie on a job application. However, if you do have a criminal past and don't admit to that it could cost you your job especially when a criminal background is conducted. One way to avoid this situation is by having your criminal record expunged.

The courts in Texas allow for expungement of arrest and conviction records in certain circumstances. If granted, then any record pertaining to your arrest or subsequent trial will be sealed. This will include any fingerprints, mug shots, DNA collection, trial transcripts or other arrest records. It will be like the crime never happened. This will allow you to answer that application question with a qualified "No" and you would be telling the truth in the eyes of the court.

Requirements for Expungement
In Texas, if you were arrested for a felony or misdemeanor crime which you were later found not guilty of you can be granted an expungement. You will have to wait at least 30 days after the acquittal before you can apply for the expungement. If you were convicted, but later pardoned by the Governor you can also be given an expungement.

With the conviction of criminal offenses there will be more scrutiny from the courts when it comes to granting an expungement. Most misdemeanor convictions are eligible for expungement in Texas provided you have not committed any other crimes in the period between your arrest and filing of the petition. For felony charges, the changes of getting an expungement in Texas are very slim. There are certain exceptions depending on the severity of the crime.

The same issued with felony convictions apply to DUI convictions. Unless it was a misdemeanor charge, you probably won't be able to have your records expunged if it was a DUI.

Juvenile Record Expungement
If a minor was arrested and later convicted of a criminal offense they can petition the courts for an expungement when they turn 18. The expungement will be granted if there was just one criminal incident. However, if the offense involved anything of a sexual crime then an expungement won't be granted.

Process of Expungement
In order to file a petition for expungement you'll need to complete the proper application form. This will include all of your personal contact information along with the information pertaining to your case. You'll need all the facts of your arrest and trial including proof that you completed any sentence or probation.

Once the application has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled. Like most other matters before the court, you are permitted to file your applications on your own, but you would be better served to have legal representation. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know right away if you are even eligible for an expungement. They will also be in the better position to advise you of your best course of action and any other applicable waiting period.

See also:
Texas Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)
Texas Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
Texas Felony External link (opens in new window)