1. People who are acquitted at trial by jury or judge. In this case, the expunction is available immediately.
2. People who were arrested, but the case was never filed. In the case of a Class C misdemeanor, at least 180 days has to pass between the time of the arrest and the failure of the state to file a case before you are eligible for an expunction. In the case of a Class B or A misdemeanor, one year must pass between the date of arrest and the state's failure to file. In the case of a felony, at least three years must pass from the date of the arrest of the state's failure to file.
3. People who are convicted but subsequently pardoned are eligible for an expunction.
4. If the case was dismissed completely, as compared to reduced or re-filed, or the person was otherwise released from the charges, and the statute of limitations has ran, the person is eligible for an expunction. (In the case of a misdemeanor, two years must pass. With most felonies, four years must pass.)
5. People who are placed on a deferred disposition for a Class C misdemeanor and successfully complete the deferral period are eligible for an expunction.
There are a variety of other ways to obtain an expunction. As such, we have attached the appropriate statutes. It should also be noted that even though you may not be eligible for a petition of non-disclosure. While not as all encompassing as an expunction, it can seal our record from public view.
It is important to note that a record expunction, if you are eligible, will in effect completely erase your criminal record.
Art. 55.01. RIGHT TO EXPUNCTION. (a) A person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
(1) the person is tried for the offense for which the person was arrested and is:
(A) acquitted by the trial court, except as provided by Subsection (c); or
(B) convicted and subsequently:
(i) pardoned for a reason other than that described by Subparagraph (ii); or
(ii) pardoned or otherwise granted relief on the basis of actual innocence with respect to that offense, if the applicable pardon or court order clearly indicates on its face that the pardon or order was granted or rendered on the basis of the person's actual innocence; or
(2) the person has been released and the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court-ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 for the offense, unless the offense is a Class C misdemeanor, provided that:
(A) regardless of whether any statute of limitations exists for the offense and whether any limitations period for the offense has expired, an indictment or information charging the person with the commission of a misdemeanor offense based on the person's arrest or charging the person with the commission of any felony offense arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested:
(i) has not been presented against the person at any time following the arrest, and:
(a) at least 180 days have elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a Class C misdemeanor and if there was no felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested;
(b) at least one year has elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a Class B or A misdemeanor and if there was no felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested;
(c) at least three years have elapsed from the date of arrest if the arrest for which the expunction was sought was for an offense punishable as a felony or if there was a felony charge arising out of the same transaction for which the person was arrested; or
(d) the attorney representing the state certifies that the applicable arrest records and files are not needed for use in any criminal investigation or prosecution, including an investigation or prosecution of another person; or
(ii) if presented at any time following the arrest, was dismissed or quashed, and the court finds that the indictment or information was dismissed or quashed because the person completed a pretrial intervention program authorized under Section 76.011, Government Code, because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of the dismissal to believe the person committed the offense, or because the indictment or information was void; or
(B) prosecution of the person for the offense for which the person was arrested is no longer possible because the limitations period has expired.
(a-1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a person may not expunge records and files relating to an arrest that occurs pursuant to a warrant issued under Section 21, Article 42.12.
(a-2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a person who intentionally or knowingly absconds from the jurisdiction after being released under Chapter 17 following an arrest is not eligible under Subsection (a)(2)(A)(i)(a), (b), or (c) or Subsection (a)(2)(B) for an expunction of the records and files relating to that arrest.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a district court may expunge all records and files relating to the arrest of a person who has been arrested for commission of a felony or misdemeanor under the procedure established under Article 55.02 if:
(1) the person is:
(A) tried for the offense for which the person was arrested;
(B) convicted of the offense; and
(C) acquitted by the court of criminal appeals or, if the period for granting a petition for discretionary review has expired, by a court of appeals; or
(2) an office of the attorney representing the state authorized by law to prosecute the offense for which the person was arrested recommends the expunction to the appropriate district court before the person is tried for the offense, regardless of whether an indictment or information has been presented against the person in relation to the offense.
(c) A court may not order the expunction of records and files relating to an arrest for an offense for which a person is subsequently acquitted, whether by the trial court, a court of appeals, or the court of criminal appeals, if the offense for which the person was acquitted arose out of a criminal episode, as defined by Section 3.01, Penal Code, and the person was convicted of or remains subject to prosecution for at least one other offense occurring during the criminal episode.
(d) A person is entitled to have any information that identifies the person, including the person's name, address, date of birth, driver's license number, and social security number, contained in records and files relating to the arrest of another person expunged if:
(1) the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement to expunction was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person's identifying information without the consent of the person asserting the entitlement; and
(2) the only reason for the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement being contained in the arrest records and files of the person arrested is that the information was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person's identifying information.
Art. 55.011. RIGHT OF CLOSE RELATIVE TO SEEK EXPUNCTION ON BEHALF OF DECEASED PERSON. (a) In this article, "close relative of a deceased person" means the grandparent, parent, spouse, or adult brother, sister, or child of a deceased person.
(b) A close relative of a deceased person who, if not deceased, would be entitled to expunction of records and files under Article 55.01 may file on behalf of the deceased person an ex parte petition for expunction under Section 2 or 2a, Article 55.02. If the court finds that the deceased person would be entitled to expunction of any record or file that is the subject of the petition, the court shall enter an order directing expunction.
Art. 55.03. EFFECT OF EXPUNCTION. When the order of expunction is final:
(1) the release, maintenance, dissemination, or use of the expunged records and files for any purpose is prohibited;
(2) except as provided in Subdivision (3) of this article, the person arrested may deny the occurrence of the arrest and the existence of the expunction order; and
(3) the person arrested or any other person, when questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding about an arrest for which the records have been expunged, may state only that the matter in question has been expunged.
Art. 55.04. VIOLATION OF EXPUNCTION ORDER.
Sec. 1. A person who acquires knowledge of an arrest while an officer or employee of the state or of any agency or other entity of the state or any political subdivision of the state and who knows of an order expunging the records and files relating to that arrest commits an offense if he knowingly releases, disseminates, or otherwise uses the records or files.
Sec. 2. A person who knowingly fails to return or to obliterate identifying portions of a record or file ordered expunged under this chapter commits an offense.
Sec. 3. An offense under this article is a Class B misdemeanor.
Art. 55.05. NOTICE OF RIGHT TO EXPUNCTION. On release or discharge of an arrested person, the person responsible for the release or discharge shall give him a written explanation of his rights under this chapter and a copy of the provisions of this chapter.