Texas Expunction Law
An expunction happens when a person’s criminal record is sealed, or made unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. The idea behind expunctions is giving people a second chance. A criminal record can keep people from obtaining many jobs, which makes it difficult for people with convictions to make a decent living, often making it easier for them to return to crime. Here are a few facts you may not have known about expunctions.
Fact 1: Not All Crimes Can Be Expunged
According to Texas law, only some records are eligible for expunction, including the following:
- Arrests for crimes that were never charged
- Criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed
- Certain misdemeanor juvenile offenses
- Conviction of a minor for certain alcohol offenses
- Conviction for failing to attend school
- Arrest, charge, or conviction on a person’s record that resulted from identity theft by another individual
- Conviction for a crime that was later acquitted by the trial court or the Criminal Court of Appeals
- Conviction for a crime that was later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the U.S. president
Courts will not grant expunctions to adults who have received deferred adjudication or probation or who were convicted of a felony within five years of their arrest.
Fact 2: Juvenile Conviction Expunctions Are Automatic
Family Code Section 58.003 allows for the automatic sealing of juvenile records. It eliminates the requirements to file an application or petition to seal records and mandates the juvenile court to order the sealing of documents if the offender meets statutory criteria.
Fact 3: Criminal Records Are Still Available to Some Agencies
Even if you get your record expunged, the Texas Department of Public Safety can permit access to your criminal record to a criminal justice agency for a criminal justice purpose or to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The record is never completely eradicated.
Fact 4: Waiting Periods for Expunctions Have Changed
Under old laws, people would have to wait until the statute of limitations had expired or a felony indictment had been dismissed for certain reasons before filing for an expunction. However, under new versions of the law, a person can obtain an expunction if no charges have been filed after a waiting period has passed. The waiting periods are as follows:
- Class C misdemeanor—180 days
- Class A and B misdemeanors—1 year
- Felonies—3 years
However, you must still prove that you have been released and the case is no longer pending. Likewise, if the police are actively investigating you, you are not entitled to an expunction.
For more information about expunctions and how they work, talk to one of our skilled Houston criminal defense attorneys. The Law Offices of Jed Silverman is dedicated to providing clients with the honest information they need to make the right choice in their advocacy. Our founding attorney, Jed Silverman, has more than 20 years of legal experience and has handled more than 3,000 cases during this time. He is also a highly rated Board Certified Specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization—Criminal Law, so he is more than qualified to handle any criminal law case. Let us see what we can do for you.
Talk to us at (713) 597-2221 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case consultation today.