Gale Law Group
525 Clifford Street
Corpus Christi, TX 78404

The Impact of Criminal Records: Expungement and Record Sealing

Having a criminal record can lead to a number of consequences — whether it’s for being arrested, convicted, or both. Employers and landlords will usually ask applicants if they have ever been convicted or even arrested for a criminal offense, and they may not want to hire or rent to you if you answered “yes” to this question. There is, however, some good news. In some cases, you might be able to get this arrest or conviction expunged from your record.

Expungement refers to the process of sealing an arrest, conviction, and other related records from being viewed by the public, and practically every state has laws that allow people to do this (though the specifics can vary from state to state). Once the arrest or conviction has been expunged, it doesn’t have to be disclosed to anyone (including prospective employers or landlords).

criminal background check

Texas Expungement Laws

There are two ways that you can get your criminal record sealed in the State of Texas:

  • Expunction — The complete removal of your criminal past from public records (including ones from the police and the prosecution).
  • Non-Disclosure — Putting a proverbial “blackout” on any information with regard to past offenses within the public records, which makes them inaccessible to anyone.

According to Section 55.02 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures Act, an order to expunge all your criminal records can lead to the destruction of any files that reference a crime, arrest, or punishment. Once it has been expunged, it has been removed from public records. But some agencies (such as the Department of Homeland Security) may still know about the crime.

A non-disclosure order will seal those records and keep it away from public view, but they can still be accessed by law enforcement agencies. Section 411.081(d) of the Texas Government Code allows a non-disclosure petition to be filed on a deferred adjudication in cases where a guilty plea was entered, but you must have completed your probation to be eligible for it.

Eligibility for an Expungement in Texas

Section 55.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure lists the eligibility requirements for expunging your criminal records. You can get an expungement in Texas if:

  • No criminal charges were filed against you.
  • You were charged but were acquitted on an appeal.
  • The charges against you were subject to a later dismissal order.
  • You were found innocent after you were convicted.
  • A grand jury issues a “no-bill” while they were looking at charges against you.
  • You were arrested but were never tried because the prosecutor approved the expunction.
  • You made a successful plea bargain.
  • You were sentenced for a misdemeanor offense while you were a child.
  • You received a pardon from the Governor or President.

There are some criminal convictions (such as being in prison for a DWI offense) that can’t be expunged, and the same is true for a straight probation. A deferred adjudication is only available for Class C misdemeanors. You can, however, ask for a non-disclosure on Class A or B misdemeanors and felonies.

Crimes That Aren’t Eligible for Expungement in Texas

There are a number of circumstances that can disqualify you from an expungement in Texas. With some exceptions, you won’t be able to get your criminal record expunged if you were convicted of a felony (which is one of the many consequences of this type of conviction). But regardless of the situation, there are certain crimes that can’t be expunged from your record.

Most crimes that involve children, sexual assault, and acts of violence are not eligible for record sealing in the State of Texas. Some of them can include but may not be limited to:

  • Capital murder.
  • Indecency with a child.
  • Aggravated kidnapping.
  • Aggravated sexual assault.
  • Aggravated robbery.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled person.
  • Criminal solicitation.
  • Some drug offenses.
  • Use of a child in committing an offense.

Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.

The Process for Getting Your Record Expunged in Texas

Once you make a petition to have your record expunged in Texas, you will have to appear in court for a hearing that will usually be held one month after you have made your initial filing. The court can give you the expungement, but it can take up to six months for them to make a decision. Once the court has granted the expungement, it usually takes up to 180 days for local, state, and federal agencies to destroy the records.

If you want to get your criminal record expunged and are looking for the help of a criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi, be sure to get in touch with Gale Law Group.