Everyone has made mistakes throughout their life, especially when they were young, or in moments of weakness or desperation. Then, there are those of us who were “born on the wrong side of the tracks” or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sometimes, a mistake can lead to a criminal record, which affects the individual’s educational, employment and housing opportunities for years to come. The stigma of a criminal record can be so debilitating, it can be difficult for an individual to earn a good living and take proper care of their family.
Most criminal convictions cannot be removed from a person’s record; however, under Texas law, certain information about a person’s arrest, charge or conviction can be removed from their records under specific circumstances. Texas calls this process an expunction. If a person is successful in getting an expunction, all of the information from an incident is removed and the individual can legally deny that it (arrest, charge or conviction) occurred.
Which records qualify for an expunction?
- An arrest that never resulted in official charges being filed.
- A criminal charge that ended in a dismissal.
- Some misdemeanor juvenile offenses qualify.
- Certain convictions for alcohol offenses committed by minors qualify.
- Convictions for minors who failed to attend school.
- Arrests, charges and convictions on a person’s record that were linked to identity theft where the actual perpetrator was arrested, charged or convicted.
- Convictions that the Court of Appeals later acquitted.
- Convictions for crimes that were pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States.
Please note that even if your records are eligible for an expunction, it does not mean that an expunction is guaranteed. If you received probation or deferred adjudication, or if you were convicted of a felony within five years of the arrest for which you are seeking an expunction, the court will not grant you an expunction.