Expungement Laws in Texas
Texas expungement laws allow you to have law enforcement agencies destroy all the records associated with an arrest and prosecution. The court may also direct law enforcement agencies to destroy jail records, police reports, prosecution reports and court files. You would then be legally allowed to deny any involvement in a criminal offense on job applications and background checks, as spelled out in detail of Chapter 55 or the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure:
(a) A person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
(1) The person is tried for the offense for which the person was arrested and is:
(A) Acquitted by the trial court, except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section; or
(B) Convicted and subsequently pardoned; or
(2) Each of the following conditions exists:
(A) an indictment or information charging the person with commission of a felony has not been presented against the person for an offense arising out of the transaction for which the person was arrested or, if an indictment or information charging the person with commission of a felony was presented, the indictment or information has been dismissed or quashed, and:
(i) the limitations period expired before the date on which a petition for expunction was filed under Article 55.02; or
(ii) the court finds that the indictment or information was dismissed or quashed because the person completed a pretrial intervention program authorized under Section 76.011, Government Code, or because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of the dismissal to believe the person committed the offense or because it was void;
(B) the person has been released and the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 for any offense other than a Class C misdemeanor; and
(C) the person has not been convicted of a felony in the five years preceding the date of the arrest.
(a-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (a)(2)(C), a person's conviction of a felony in the five years preceding the date of the arrest does not affect the person's entitlement to expunction for purposes of an ex parte petition filed on behalf of the person by the director of the Department of Public Safety under Section 2(e), Article 55.02.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section, a district court may expunge all records and files relating to the arrest of a person who has been arrested for commission of a felony or misdemeanor under the procedure established under Article 55.02 of this code if the person is:
(1) tried for the offense for which the person was arrested;
(2) convicted of the offense; and
(3) acquitted by the court of criminal appeals.
(c) A court may not order the expunction of records and files relating to an arrest for an offense for which a person is subsequently acquitted, whether by the trial court or the court of criminal appeals, if the offense for which the person was acquitted arose out of a criminal episode, as defined by Section 3.01, Penal Code, and the person was convicted of or remains subject to prosecution for at least one other offense occurring during the criminal episode.
(d) A person is entitled to have any information that identifies the person, including the person's name, address, date of birth, driver's license number, and social security number, contained in records and files relating to the arrest of another person expunged if:
(1) the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement to expunction was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person's identifying information without the consent of the person asserting the entitlement; and
(2) the only reason for the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement being contained in the arrest records and files of the person arrested is that the information was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person's identifying information.
Motion of Non-Disclosure
Many residents of Texas who received deferred probation in a plea bargain for a criminal offense were not fully advised of the consequences of their plea. They assumed that with this type of deferred adjudication, their records would be clear. Technically, their case would be dismissed at the completion of probation, but their records would still be available to the public. Texas law does allow those who completed their probation to apply for what's called a "Motion for Non-Disclosure". This would seal you records from public viewing but the state would be allowed to keep the record on file in case of any future arrests. Expunction is obviously the better solution.
Benefits of Texas Criminal Record Expungement
The benefits of getting your record expunged are numerous and long lasting. Expungement can be a time consuming process. You should get your request submitted as soon as possible since the Texas courts operate on a first in, first out basis. Steve Hesse is a Texas board certified criminal defense trial lawyer. He has many years of experience working as a prosecutor and defense attorney in the Texas Criminal Justice System. He will do all the necessary steps to make sure your case is handled in the most expeditious manner possible. Contact Steve Hesse for a free and confidential consultation for your criminal record removal.