Criminal Records Serving Greater Houston
Understanding Expunction & Non Disclosure
Expunction, or expungement, means that an arrest, charge or conviction is removed from an individual’s record.
While most convictions cannot be expunged, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 55 sets out the limited circumstances under which an individual is eligible for expunction.
Sealing Criminal Records
Records eligible for expunction include:
- An arrest for crime that was not charged
- A charge that was ultimitly dismissed. This does not include dissmisals that occur following deferred adjudication except in the case of a Class C misdemeanor.
- A charge that resulted in a not guilty verdict
- A conviction that was later reversed upon appeal resulting in an acquittal
- An Arrest, charge, or conviction due to identity theft by another who was actually arrested, charged or convicted of the crime
- A pardon by the Governor of Texas or US President
An individual’s record will not be eligible for expunction if he or she has been arrested and found guilty of a crime, or was arrested for a crime and received probation (also referred to as community supervision), except for Class C misdemeanors.
A person is also not eligible for expunction of a felony that was ultimately dismissed if the statute of limitations has not expired for that crime.
For an individual who is tried and acquitted of an offense or convicted and subsequently pardoned for an offense, his or her record is only eligible for expunction if he or she has not been convicted of another crime arising out of the same criminal episode.
To apply for expunction of your record, you must file a Petition for Expunction with the proper court. It is important to understand that there may be a waiting before you can apply for expunction.
Petitions for Non-Disclosure
Even if you are not eligible for expunction, you may be able to petition the court for an order of non-disclosure. The purpose of the non-disclosure order is to limit public access to your record.
An order for non-disclosure is available to individuals who have successfully completed deferred adjudication. However, not all offenses qualify for non-disclosure and you cannot obtain an order for an offense for which you have been convicted.
Similar to the process for expunction, a person must petition the correct court for an order of non-disclosure and there may be a waiting period before you can apply.
If the court grants an order for non-disclosure, the order will be sent the Texas Department of Public Safety. From there, DPS will send the order to other public agencies such as law enforcement departments or courts.
The order prevents these public agencies from releasing the information subject to the non-disclosure order to private parties.