Expunctions erase the record of an arrest or a crime. Expunctions can take place in these circumstances:
- After a dismissal
- After a grand jury “no-bill” (where a grand jury does not indict you)
- After an acquittal
- After the completion of deferred adjudication for a class C misdemeanor
- After the statute of limitations runs on out before charges are filed.
Following an acquittal, a person is entitled to an expunction without court costs if the petition is filed within 30 days.
How Expungements Work
Generally if a person qualifies for an expungement, they hire a lawyer to file the petition for expungement in district court. Then, the judge will order all records arising from the arrest to be destroyed. This means court records, district attorney files, and the reporter’s transcript if there was a trial. After an Expunction, the State of Texas cannot share information about your arrest to private companies who gather criminal information for background checks.
With an Expungement, You Can Deny The Arrest Even Took Place
Most expungements are straightforward, but it can get complicated if multiple allegations spring from the same arrest. Also, the record of the criminal arrest will not simply disappear after deferred adjudication. You have to file the petition for expunction. Deferred adjudication means that you plead guilt and you get probation or other diversion program instead of going to jail. When probation is over, your case is dismissed without a conviction. You can only get an expunction after deferred adjudication for Class C misdemeanors.
Expungements for Class C Misdemeanors
You can expunge a class C misdemeanor 180 days after the arrest or ticket is issued. Class C misdemeanors are the lowest level of offense, including traffic tickets and other minor offenses—such as public intoxication, disorderly conduct, minor in possession of alcohol, or theft below $50.
Expungements and Nondisclosures for Class A and B Misdemeanors and Felonies
You can expunge a class A or B misdemeanor after one year. You can expunge a felony after five years. If you got deferred adjudication for class A or B misdemeanor or felony, you cannot get an expunction. But, you can get a nondisclosure. An order of nondisclosure prohibits courts and police departments from sharing your records to the general public. It also means you don’t have to reveal it on your job applications.
If You can’t get an Expungement, Nondisclosure May be Available
With nondisclosures, your information remains available for law enforcement and licensing agencies to see. If you plan or going to law school or medical school, the state licensing boards will find out about your arrest.
Expungements Erase the Record of Your Arrest
Unfortunately, public and private websites have your personal information, including arrest records. Potential employers or anyone else can go onto a search engine and get your public information:
- Tarrant County: https://egov.tarrantcounty.com/web/guest/departments/courts/criminal
- Dallas County: http://dallascounty.org/criminalBackgroundSearch/
- Texas Department of Public Safety: https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DpsWebsite/Index.aspx
Private websites have your personal records which they will sell to potential employers. For a small fee, anyone can get your criminal history. Here are just two examples:
Call me to set up an appointment for a free and confidential case evaluation. 817-689-7002. Our office is downtown: 108 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX, 76102