SEALING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORDS
There are generally four ways to clear a person’s criminal record in Texas. They are (1) expunction, (2) nondisclosure, (3) petition for writ of habeas corpus, and (4) a pardon. I assist people in clearing their records through all these methods but most often through expunction and nondisclosure.
Expunction is available only for charges for which a person was acquitted or where the charges were dismissed without misdemeanor or felony probation. If you plead guilty or no contest to a crime, you cannot get your record expunged. It does not matter how long ago the crime happened. If you were acquitted, you may seek an expunction immediately. If the case was dismissed or no-billed by a grand jury, you may have to wait until the statute of limitations has run before you can seek an expunction. You should speak with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
Different considerations apply to Class C misdemeanors and it will depend on whether or not there was a final conviction.
Petitions for nondisclosure allow a judge to order records of successfully completed deferred adjudication probation from the public view. Successful completion means that you did not pick up a new charge during the period of your deferred adjudication. If you pick up a new charge, you will be ineligible for nondisclosure on the original charge.
A petition for nondisclosure can often be filed immediately following the successful completion of the deferred adjudication probation. There are, however, several categories of offenses for which nondisclosure is not available. Those include:
- Any crime requiring Chapter 62 sex offender registration
- Aggravated kidnapping under Section 20.04 of the Texas Penal Code
- Murder under Section 19.02 of the Texas Penal Code
- Capital Murder under Section 19.03 of the Texas Penal Code
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual under Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code
- Abandoning or endangering a child under Section 22.041 of the Texas Penal Code
- Violating a protective order under Section 25.07 of the Penal Code
- Stalking under Section 24.072 of the Penal Code; and
- ANY OFFENSE INVOLVING FAMILY VIOLENCE
There is also a two-year waiting period for certain misdemeanors and a five-year waiting period for felonies. The petition for nondisclosure must be filed in the same court that imposed the deferred adjudication. If you are looking to seal a criminal record, please call me at 713.665.4400 to schedule an initial consultation.