NOTICE: These answers are provided as a public service and represent the District Attorney's good faith understanding of the Texas non-disclosure statute. They are not intended to substitute for independent legal analysis by an attorney in private practice, however. The District Attorney strongly urges anyone pursuing a petition for expunction to consult with an attorney of his or her own choice.
Pursuant to Chapter 55, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a person who has been arrested for either a felony or misdemeanor offense may have their criminal records EXPUNGED if:
- The person is tried and ACQUITTED (found Not Guilty);
- The person is convicted, but subsequently PARDONED;
- The person has not been indicted or had any information filed for the arrested conduct, or had their indictment or information dismissed or quashed, AND;
a. The statute of limitations has expired, or
b. The Court finds that the indictment or information was dismissed or quashed because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating a lack of probable cause.
- The arrest has not resulted in a Final Conviction, is no longer pending and there was no court-ordered community supervision (probation) for any offense above a Class C misdemeanor. (This provision “knocks out” all deferred adjudication offenses of a Class B misdemeanor level and above.)
- The person has not been convicted of a felony in the five years preceding the date of arrest.
If the Defendant in a criminal trial is ACQUITTED, his defense attorney should request that the trial court enter an Order of Expunction no later than 30 days after the date of acquittal.
A person otherwise entitled to an Expunction of Records, but who was tried and found Not Guilty, must file a Petition for Expunction of Records in the district court for the county in which either: 1) the defendant was arrested, or 2) the offense was alleged to have occurred.
The Petition for Expunction of Records is assigned a civil case number and the case is set for hearing NO SOONER THAN 30 days from the date the petition is filed.
Every official entity or agency having records of the subject arrest must be served with a copy of the Petition and must be notified of the hearing date.
If the Court finds that the person is entitled to expunction of any records and files that are the subject of the petition, it shall enter an order directing expunction and directing each agency to turn in its records to the district clerk, or certify to the court that the records have been destroyed and delete all relevant information of the arrest from its computer/electronic files.
No agency or entity subject to the order of expunction may release, maintain, disseminate or use the records for any reason.
The applicant for expunction may legally deny the occurrence of the arrest and the existence of the expunction order.
If the applicant is subsequently questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding about an arrest that has been the subject of an expunction order, the applicant may state only that the matter has been expunged.
In some situations, persons may find that they have a criminal record because someone has stolen their identity (driver’s license number, social security number, name, etc.) and then been arrested using that false identity.
An Identity Theft Victim may contact the District Attorney’s Office directly and request an expunction of records if they can show the following:
- Information identifying the victim was falsely given by an arrestee as the arrested person’s identifying information without the consent of the victim.
- The only reason for the information identifying the victim being contained in the arrest records and files of an arrestee is that the information was falsely given by the arrestee as the arrestee’s identifying information.