Anyone with a criminal record knows how difficult past indiscretions can make everyday life. A criminal record can have devastating consequences for young people, especially. Hiring managers, loan officers and landlords alike regularly refuse to work with people with merely an arrest on their record.
Thankfully, Texas courts allow people to apply for expungement. Depending on the crime, courts may seal infractions or arrest from public view and grant individuals a second chance. How does it work?
Conditions for expunction in Texas
Texas courts grant either expunction or a court-ordered sealing. Expunctions can erase one’s criminal record, while sealing keeps the record from public view, meaning it will not show up in background checks. Law enforcement and judges can still see this information.
Texas does not offer expunction or sealing for all crimes, either. The petition process does allow for some flexibility, exchanging expungement for completion of rehabilitation or service programs. Under the law, Texas courts offer expungement in the following circumstances:
- A court acquitted the accused of the crime
- If found innocent of the crime
- If the accused received a pardon
- A dismissed case
Additionally, if an arrested individual was not charged with a crime, they may petition for expungement after a set amount of time. Courts will accept expungement petitions for Class C misdemeanors after 180 days, Class A or B misdemeanors after a year, and felonies after three years.
Crimes ineligible for expungement include kidnapping, stalking, murder, sex crimes, human trafficking, or domestic violence.
In some cases, individuals may find it easier to request an order of non-disclosure, often called sealing. Individuals must participate in deferred adjudication community supervision before requesting an order.
Protect the future with help from a lawyer
Those curious about expunction can reach out to a local attorney familiar with criminal defense for more information. A lawyer can assess one’s case, assemble petition documents and represent one’s interest in hearings or appeals.