How Does Expungement Work? And Answers to Other Questions
In Texas, expungement is the legal procedure in which all criminal records relating to a misdemeanor and felony arrest are erased, deleted, and destroyed. Having your criminal record expunged allows you to legally deny the arrest, the original criminal case, and any other history relating to the arrest and criminal case.
The following article is an overview of expungement law in Texas and the questions our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys are frequently asked. If your questions are related eligibility requirements, specifically your own eligibility, you may contact The Clark Law Firm for more information.
Is My Case Eligible for Expungement?
Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Section 55.01, you may be eligible for expungement if one of the following applies:
- The charges were never filed
- The charges were filed, but then were later dismissed
- You were acquitted
- You were convicted but later proven innocent
- You were not tried and the prosecutor recommended expungement
- You were no-billed by a grand jury
- You were pardoned by the Governor of Texas or U.S. President
- Otherwise granted relief based on your actual innocence
Why Does My Record Show My Charge When My Case Has Been Dismissed?
Charges on criminal records do not disappear or automatically expunge itself. It is public knowldge, showing that you were arrested and charged with a particular crime, and readily available unless it is expunged. An expungement will permanently remove the criminal history from your record.
Does It Matter If I Pled Guilty or No Contest?
If you pled guilty or no contest, then the case is not able to be expunged. The only exception is if the case was for a misdemeanor class C and you completed deferred adjudication.
After My Case is Dismissed, What is the Waiting Period before I Can Apply for Expungement?
Yes. There is a two-year waiting period for misdemeanors and there is a three-year waiting period for most felonies. For more serious felonies, there is a longer waiting period. The waiting period starts to run from the date of arrest or incident.
Furthermore, there are some circumstances where you can get your record expunged before the waiting period ends. For example, if your case was dismissed due to lack of probable cause or error, then you can file before the waiting period expires.
What are the Reasons that a Texas Expungement Can Be Denied?
An expungement could be denied because of one of the following:
- There was an inaccuracy in the court records and/or in the expungement petition
- The court does not find that expungement is in the interest of society
- You have not paid your fines
Am I Required to Appear in Court?
Your lawyer can do this for you. However, the court may require the client to appear as well in some circumstances.
How Long Will It Take to Expunge My Record?
From start to finish, it takes a few months to get your record expunged. First, you need to first file a petition in district court. Then, a hearing will be scheduled at least 30 days after the district court receives the petition.
How Long Does It Take for the Records to Be Removed?
From the time an order for expungement is granted, it often takes up to 90 days for the agencies to destroy the records.
What Happens If I Obtain an Expungement?
You can honestly say that you have never been arrested or charged with a crime.