Expunction of Criminal Records in Texas

We have received several phone calls from clients wanting to get records of crimes expunged. An expunction can help you if you have a criminal record and are applying for a job, college, or simply looking for a new home or apartment.

An expunction can clean up a past criminal matter, but the process occurs in civil court.  Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering an expunction:

The State of Texas requires an “arrest.”

When you get an expunction, you are essentially getting records of your arrest destroyed.  Arrest, however, is broadly defined under Texas law.  An “arrest” occurs if you were taken into custody by the police, received a citation, or made an appearance in Court for a crime charged against you.

Four Grounds for Expunction

  1. Acquittals and Pardons: If you are found not guilty or by some chance are pardoned of a crime, you are eligible to have your records expunged.
  1. Dismissals and No Bills: You may be eligible if your case was dismissed or if a grand jury decided to not charge you with a crime. You must also meet the following two requirements (and some other technical things):
  • Statute of Limitations Have Expired: A prosecutor must file a case against you in a certain amount of time (each case differs depending on the crime). You could be eligible for an expunction if your case is dismissed and the time as expired.
  • Dismissed for the Right Reason: Your case must be dismissed for the right reasons. Courts consider a number of different factors in whether or not you may be eligible for an expunction.

NOTE: Expunctions do not apply to those who have received deferred adjudications.  You may be eligible for an ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE if you received deferred adjudication.

  1. Identity Theft: Let’s say I was arrested but told the authorities that I was my law partner, Tyler Rutherford.  In this situation, Tyler could get the record expunged as to his name and “involvement” in the crime.  Pretty simple.
  1. Discretionary Expunctions: The Texas Legislature created this very small category for people who do not meet any of the above requirements but deserve an expunction under extraordinary circumstances. The expunction is recommended by the prosecutor.

Applying for an Expunction

You must file a civil petition in the District Court of Texas to have your records expunged.  Notice of this petition will then go to all departments and authorities that you want to destroy your records (the District Attorney, the police department, the jail, Texas Department of Public Safety, etc.).  If none of these agencies oppose the expunction, it is generally granted at an uncontested hearing.  At this point, an Order is signed by the judge, forwarded to the agencies, and your criminal records are destroyed.

Contact us today if you have any questions: http://www.rutherfordandrutherford.com/contact-us/