Expunging Your Record Under Texas Law

A record of an arrest, charge, or conviction can have a significant impact on your ability to attend school, obtain professional licenses, perform a successful job search, and maximize your employment advancement potential.  Under Article 55.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, an individual may obtain an expunction of his or her criminal record of an arrest or conviction under certain circumstances.  This can vastly improve your opportunities and future success.

What matters qualify for expunction?

  1. A person’s record of an arrest, charge, or conviction may be eligible for expunction if that person was acquitted of a misdemeanor or felony.  If the charge was for a felony, or a separate felony charge arose out of the same incident, then a period of three years needs to elapse between the date of the arrest and the filing of the petition for expunction.  Only certain felonies are eligible for expunction.
  2. A record may be expunged if the individual was convicted and subsequently pardoned.
  3. A record may be expunged if the arrest and charge never resulted in an actual conviction, the charge is no longer pending, and the statute of limitations has passed.  There are specific provisions with respect to whether the charge was a misdemeanor or felony that dictate eligibility for expunction.
  4. A record may be expunged if the individual completed an approved intervention program or the charge was dismissed because of the lack of probable cause, false information, or a void original indictment.
  5. A record may be expunged if the person is charged, convicted, and that conviction is subsequently overturned by the court of criminal appeals.
  6. A minor’s alcohol-related arrest or conviction may be expunged after the individual turns twenty-one.

There are limitations, including if there was a separate charge that resulted in a conviction that arose out of the same series of events making up one defined criminal episode. Bringing all the information related to the record in question will enable the criminal defense attorney to provide informed advice.

If a matter does qualify for expunction, what is the procedure to obtain the result?

In order to expunge a record, a petition seeking that relief must be filed with the district clerk for the judicial district in which the offense occurred.  There will a filing fee that has to be submitted with the petition.  All law enforcement agencies and departments that have information about the arrest and charge must be included in the petition.  A copy of the petition must be served on the relevant District Attorney’s office.  Frequently, as long as all of the criteria are met, the expunction can be accomplished with an agreed order.

For additional information, or if you were charged with a crime in Texas that you believe is eligible for expunction, it is important to work with an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer to help you enforce your rights.  For more than thirty years, our office has successfully defended thousands of individuals dealing with all types of criminal related offenses.   If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your case, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567.  We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.

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