Expungement in Texas

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Expungement in Texas is a legal process through which individuals to seek erasure of an event from their criminal records.

Background[edit]

Texas expungement law[1] allows expungement of arrests which did not lead to a finding of guilt, and class C misdemeanors if the defendant received deferred adjudication, and completed a community supervision.[1] If the defendant was found guilty, pleaded guilty, or pleaded no contest to any offense other than a class "C" misdemeanor, it is not eligible for expungement; however, it may be eligible for non-disclosure if deferred adjudication was granted.

The Texas Young Lawyers Association and State Bar of Texas provide an informational packet about expungement as a service to the public.[2]

Juvenile offenses[edit]

Juvenile offenses potentially eligible for expungement include "misdemeanor[s] punishable by fine committed prior to the age of 17, [offenses] committed by [minors] under the Alcoholic Beverage Code and [convictions] for Failure to Attend School" under the Education Code.[2] Disqualifying factors can include multiple convictions and insufficient age.[2]

Release, dissemination, and admissibility[edit]

The release, dissemination or use of expunged records by any agency is prohibited. Unless being questioned under oath, the defendant may deny the occurrence of the arrest and expungement order.[1][3] If questioned under oath, the witness may only respond the matter was expunged.

Legislation[edit]

The 76th Texas Legislature rejected a bill that would have expanded access to expungement.[4] The 78th Texas Legislature failed to gain consensus for HB-384, which would have granted automatic expungement in the cases of acquittal, pardoning, or upon dropping of charges.[5] The 82nd Texas Legislature's passing of HB-351 and SB-462 reformed the expungement code to include relief for those convicted but later determined to be innocent.[6]

Alternative remedies[edit]

Those ineligible for expungement may still seek an Order of Nondisclosure under some circumstances.[7]

Texas Record Sealing (also known as Orders of Nondisclosure)[edit]

An Order of NonDisclosure acts is an option for those that are not eligible for an expungement/expunction in Texas.

An Order of Non-Disclosure does not completely eradicate your record like that of a criminal expungement, but seals it from public domain. Your record may be visible to certain government agencies but to the rest of the public, it will not be able to be viewed/found.[8]

Typically, record sealing in Texas is available to those who have successfully completed all terms of deferred adjudication probation. For a misdemeanor in Texas, you can seal your record immediately after completing your deferred adjudication. For a felony, you must wait 5 years to seal your record.

The following charges are never eligible for a non-disclosure:

  • Aggravated and Regular Sexual Assault
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Prohibited Sexual Conduct
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Burglary of Habitation with intent to commit the above-listed offenses
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Sexual Performance of a Child
  • Child Pornography charges
  • Unlawful Restraint, Kidnapping, or Aggravated Kidnapping of a person younger than 17 years old
  • Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above-listed offenses
  • Capital Murder or Murder
  • Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled person
  • Abandoning or Endangering a Child
  • Violation of a Protective Order
  • Stalking
  • Family Violence

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 55
  2. ^ a b c "Expunctions in Texas". Texas Young Lawyers Association. 2010. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  3. ^ Shlosberg, Amy; Evan Mandery; Valerie West (2011/2012). "The Expungement Myth". Albany Law Review. 75 (3): 1235. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "A legislative review: laws meet real life". Austin American-Statesman. 1999-06-02. pp. A12.
  5. ^ "Got something to hide? Talk to your lawmaker: He'll file a bill for you". Austin American-Statesman. 2003-02-01. pp. A14.
  6. ^ National Employment Law Project, National H.I.R.E. Network, Sentencing Project (December 2011). "State Reforms Promoting Employment of People with Criminal Records: 2010‐11 Legislative Round‐Up" (PDF). Legislative Update: 12, 23. Retrieved 2012-12-14.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ Slayton, David (23 October 2014). "Written Testimony for the Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee" (PDF). Texas Courts. Texas Office of Court Administration. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Criminal Law - Expunctions and Orders of Non-Disclusure". Legal Services for Students. University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 29 June 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]