Expunction and Clearing Your Record

What is an Expunction?

An Expunction is a seperate Petition asking the Judge for an Order to destroy records of an offense. Expunctions are avialable for cases that have been dismissed, rejected, found Not Guilty, or Pardoned. A few other rare categories exist, but for the most part, once a Conviction has been entered, there cannot be an Expunction. Also, Deferred Adjudication on a Class B Misdemeanor or higher (meaning more serious) cannot be Expunged. For information on Deferred Adjudication cases, please see: Motions for NonDisclosure.

Once an Expunction is granted, the person may legally deny the offense took place, and all state records are Ordered destroyed by agencies that hold them, including DPS, Police, Courts, Jail, and even third party internet background check sites.

Exceptions to "No Expunctions after Conviction"

Exceptions to the rule that 'once a Conviction has been entered, there cannot be an Expunction' include a one-time conviction involving Underage Drinking, potential probation set-asides, and a case that has been Pardoned.

What are the Benefits of Expunction?

An Expunction will destroy the offense records, meaning potential employers (see drawbacks below) will not see the offense, since records of it were destroyed through the Order of Expunction. This means you'll come up clean on background checks (see drawbacks below), rental appliacations, etc...


What can I expect with Expunction?

An Expunction requires an attorney to author a Petition and Order to the Court, containing the required information, and then, a Hearing is set. The hearings, at least in Travis County and Austin, are typically set 45-60 days away, meaning that if you file an Expunction January 1st, you can expect a hearing in late February or early March.

Once granted, notices of the granted Order of Expunction are sent to agencies that possess your information and offense data. The agencies (police, courts, jail) then destory the records and send in a compliance notice to the Court. You can expect to see results (in terms of a clean criminal history of that offense) in about 4-6 months, although it could take up to one year to be properly Expunction.


Expunction Drawbacks & More Information

A major drawback to an Expunction is that we now live in a digital age where information is posted on websites, blogs, and online databases. Even after an offense is sealed, it is not a 100% guarantee that the offense will be hidden from the public. Still, it remains the best method by which to seal a criminial offense in Texas for those who have successfully complete Deferred Adjudication.

Another limitation is that the Federal Government need not comply with State Orders, meaning that currently, at the time of this writing, it is unclear if the Federal Government (FBI, CIA, or Homeland Security) abides by the Expunction Order.


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