Expungement or Expunctions Questions and Answers
If you have a criminal record, the record will show that you were arrested and charged with a crime, even though your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty.
Criminal history is used by governmental agencies, schools, employers, apartments and credit agencies to judge a person. This can result in the denial of admission to schools, employment, housing and credit. In Texas, if a person does qualify to expunge their criminal record, they can remove or erase their arrest, booking and court proceedings from the local, state, and federal records.
Do you qualify for expunging your criminal record? A clean criminal record is something no one should take for granted.
What Criminal Records Can Be Expunged?
Many Class "C" misdemeanors can be expunged, even if there was a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) if the Defendant received a deferred adjudication. A felony or a misdemeanor can be expunged if the person who was tried for the offense and arrested was either:
- Acquitted or found not guilty by a judge or jury
- Convicted and subsequently pardoned or dismissed
Even if a person's criminal case was dismissed or they were found not guilty, their criminal record will show that they were arrested and charged with a crime. A record expunction in the state of Texas will remove all criminal history from their record
If a person does not qualify to have their criminal record expunged, they may be able to have their records sealed by an Order of Non-Disclosure.
Record Expunction Q&A
If you are eligible, expunging your criminal record is very important to your future opportunities in life.
Once an expunction is granted, your criminal record, including finger prints, booking-photo, arrest report, and DPS records, are erased.
Q. Am I eligible for an expunction of records?
A. Legal cases resulting in dismissals, declines, or not guilty verdicts are eligible for expungement.
Q. How do I know if I am eligible?
A. If you think your criminal history contains past allegations that are suitable for expunction, please contact us. We will be happy to evaluate your case for a nominal fee.
Q. Should I expunge a not guilty or dismissed case?
A. A criminal record does not automatically seal itself or go away over time. It remains public and permanent until it is ordered sealed or expunged by a judge. If your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, your criminal history will show that you were arrested and charged with a crime. Expunction will remove the criminal history from your record.
Q. How long does it take?
A. The process usually takes a few months from start to finish. The effect of a properly expunged record is worth the time and effort.
Q. What is the end result?
A. Following entry of an expunction order, the release, dissemination, or use of the expunged records and files for any purpose is prohibited. You can legally deny that the arrest ever occurred. But, if you are questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding about an arrest for which the records have been expunged, you are permitted to state only that the matter in question was expunged.
Q. What if someone makes my expunction record public?
A. A person who learns of an arrest while an officer of a listed agency and who knows of an order expunging the records and files relating to that arrest, is guilty of an offense if he knowingly releases or uses the records or files. And, a person who knowingly fails to return or to obliterate identifying portions of a record or file ordered expunged is also guilty of an offense. Violating an expunction order is a Class B misdemeanor.
Q. What happens if I do not qualify for expunction?
A. Even if you may not be eligible for an Expunction, if you have received or obtained a dismissal by having successfully completed a Deferred Adjudications, you may still be able to seal seal your records by order of nondisclosure. An order of non disclosure will seal your criminal record. This order prevents certain law enforcement agencies from disclosing any record associated with the arrest, prosecution and deferred probation sentence. You may then legally deny the existence of your arrest, charge and sentence of Deferred Probation.