Just about all of us have made a bad mistake before. Sometimes we were at the wrong place at the wrong time, or we misjudged others’ character and spent time with the wrong people. Unfortunately for some individuals, a single mistake can result in a criminal record, which reflects the person’s arrest, criminal charges, or conviction. A criminal record affects many aspects of a person’s life, such as employment, housing, the ability to get a professional license and join the military, obtaining a college scholarship, and joining the Armed Forces. While most convictions cannot be removed from a person’s criminal record, Texas law does permit certain information about arrests, charges and convictions to be permanently removed from a person’s record. This process is called expungement. Once a criminal record has been expunged, the person can legally deny that an incident occurred.
What Qualifies for Expunction?
The following types of records are eligible for expunction in Texas:
- Arrests for crimes that not lead to formal charges.
- Criminal charges that were dismissed.
- Certain misdemeanor juvenile offenses.
- Convictions for certain alcohol offenses committed by minors.
- Convictions for minors who failed to attend school.
- Arrests, charges and convictions of people accused of identity theft, which was actually committed by someone else who was arrested, charged or convicted of the crime.
- Convictions that were later acquitted.
- Convictions for crimes that were ultimately pardoned by the U.S. President or the Governor of Texas.
The courts will NOT issue an expunction in the following circumstances:
- Adults who received deferred adjudication.
- Adults who received probation.
- Adults who were convicted of a felony within five years of the arrest they are trying to expunge.
- Offenses that are a part of a “criminal episode” and the defendant is facing other charges for the same criminal episode, and the defendant has charges pending for a different crime from the same episode, or the defendant was convicted of another crime that was part of the same episode.
- The defendant’s felony was dismissed, but the statute of limitations has not expired for the felony offense.
A note about juvenile offenses: In many cases, juvenile offenses can be expunged. For example, misdemeanor convictions committed by juveniles under 17 punishable by a fine, offenses committed under the Alcoholic Beverage Code and failures to attend school can be expunged under Texas law.
To learn more about expunging a juvenile or adult record, reach out to our Plano criminal defense firm for help.