Texas expungement laws call for a record to be removed from all databases if the petitioner is granted an expungement. The court will tell law enforcement agencies to destroy all records pertaining to the arrest and prosecution of an expunged record. The successful petitioner can deny any history relating to the expunged record.
However, expunged records do not disappear altogether. Records must be kept for the possibility they are needed in future criminal proceedings or an investigative process. Criminal records created due to a false identification shall be returned to the petitioner or completely obliterated.
An expunction proceeding is civil rather than
criminal in nature, although the expunction statute is located in the
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Texas Expungement Eligibility
A person who has been placed under custodial or non-custodial arrest for a felony or misdemeanor may have their record expunged if:
The person is acquitted during trial.
The person is granted a pardon.
Charges have been dropped.
The time period for charges to be made has ended.
The court did not feel it necessary to hand down any sentence.
A person was not convicted of a felony within five years before the arrest.
Once there is a court order to have an expungement, Texas expungement laws require all depositories containing information regarding an arrest to submit all information to the Federal Depository.
How do Records become Expunged?
The court must notify a defendant of their right to have their record expunged within thirty days of the completion of a trial resulting in an acquittal. Texas expungement laws call for the court to notify the defendant of their right to petition for expungement. Texas expungement cases take place in the same court where the criminal trial was held. The petitions must contain:
All personal information such as date of birth and social security number.
Race and sex.
Address at the time of arrest.
The offense they were charged with.
They must list all agencies involved with the case such as jails, detention facilities, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities, and any other organizations that may have access to records regarding the case.
Once the petition is properly filed, a court hearing must take place within thirty days of filing.
Juvenile Record Sealing
An individual with a juvenile record available for sealing may file an
application with the court. Juvenile records ordered sealed by the court
are removed from the criminal history database. Upon certification, the
Texas Department of Public Safety may not disclose the existence of the records or any
information from the records in response to an inquiry.
As of September 1, 2003, a person who has successfully completed a
deferred adjudication probation for a class B misdemeanor, a class A
misdemeanor, or a felony, may (depending on the offense committed) be
able to ask the judge of the court of original jurisdiction that put him
on deferred to sign an "order of nondisclosure" barring governmental
agencies from disclosing the existence of the charge or the deferred
For most misdemeanors, the defendant can petition for the order
of nondisclosure immediately after his deferred adjudication is
discharged and his case is dismissed.
For others, a defendant must wait
five years after his deferred adjudication is discharged and his case is
dismissed to file for an order of nondisclosure. These misdemeanors are
violations under the certain chapters of the Texas Code of Criminal
For felonies, the wait is ten years after the deferred
adjudication is discharged and the case is dismissed.
cannot be sealed with an order of nondisclosure.
There is a $28 filing
fee for an order of nondisclosure.
After a judge has ordered
nondisclosure, the defendant may deny the occurrence of the arrest and
prosecution unless the information is being used against him in a
subsequent criminal proceeding.
There is a common misconception that deferred adjudication records
are removed from a defendant's criminal history upon successful
conclusion of the community supervision (probation) period. In fact,
the law does not provide for automatic expunction of deferred
adjudication records. The records do become part of the defendant’s
“permanent record” and the arrest, court process and probation record
will appear on a criminal background check.
Accordingly, unless there is a court order directing otherwise,
records of a prosecution resulting in a deferred adjudication are
publicly available in the District Clerk's (Felony) and County Clerk’s
(Misdemeanor) records, the Texas Crime Information Center database
maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the National
Crime Information Center maintained by the Department of Justice.
addition, the records of the arrest, investigation and jailing are on
file with the investigating agency, with the agency that jailed or
processed the Defendant upon arrest, and with the magistrate who set
bond and conducted the initial appearance.