In Texas, some crimes cannot be expunged from your record. This means that even if you are later pardoned, or the court overturns your conviction, the criminal charge will still show up on a background check. If you faced a charge or are currently under prosecution, keep reading to find out if you can seal it.
What does expungement mean?
An expungement (also known as sealing or expunction) is a court order that requires certain criminal records to be destroyed, making them inaccessible for everyone except the government and law enforcement agencies. After receiving an expunction, you can confidently deny that you were ever arrested when applying for a job, during divorce, and in any other field that asks for a criminal record history.
What qualifies Texans for expunctions?
You may be eligible for expungement in Texas if:
- You have successfully completed your probationary period.
- You have not been convicted of any other crimes, including misdemeanors, during your probationary period.
- The offense is not one of the crimes ineligible for expungement like class C misdemeanors, some juvenile offenses, and charges that resulted in a “not guilty” verdict or were dismissed.
What’s the waiting period for expunction in Texas?
The waiting period for expunction in Texas is generally 180 days to 3 years, depending on the nature of the offense. After filing a petition, it might take up to 60 days for the court to hear your case.
Crimes that you cannot seal in Texas
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Drug crimes such as the manufacture or distribution of controlled substances
- Injury to a child, elderly or disabled individual
- Indecency with a child by contact or exposure
Getting a record expunged is very important in Texas. A criminal history can affect almost all areas of your life. So, if you are unsure if your crime qualifies for sealing, just petition to confirm or consult with your lawyer. And, if you have a deceased close relative with a criminal record, you can also petition for expungement on their behalf according to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 55.011.