Criminal history background checks have become a common part of life in the computer age. A background check often will be conducted when you apply for a job, mortgage, or to live in an apartment complex. If you apply for college or graduate school, you may have to disclose your criminal record.
Texas law allows you to clear an adult criminal record in certain circumstances. For example, if you were tried and found not-guilty, you can have all records of the arrest and prosecution expunged. Or if the court dismissed the charges against you, you can usually have the arrest record expunged. Furthermore, if you appeal your conviction and are acquitted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, you can have the record expunged. In Texas, these procedures are known as Expunction.
The only other way to clear a non-juvenile criminal record in Texas is called a petition for Non-Disclosure. A petition for non-disclosure is only available to those who have completed deferred adjudication probation. A person who completes deferred adjudication probation and wins a petition for non-disclosure can have the offense record sealed.
If you are granted expunction or non-disclosure, you can generally deny that you were ever arrested (except in certain criminal proceedings). So under Texas law, if you expunge a record or win your non-disclosure petition, you may deny that you were arrested or prosecuted on employment, mortgage, or college applications.
In Texas, a person who completes straight probation is not eligible for expunction or non-disclosure. Furthermore, other final criminal convictions cannot be erased from a criminal record. For example, a DWI conviction can never be expunged or sealed. If the court gave you as your punishment time served in jail or a prison sentence, you have a final conviction that cannot be sealed or expunged.
If you are ineligible for expunction and non-disclosure, there are two final ways to try to clear your record. First, you can try to win a pardon from the governor or president. Pardons are rare and difficult to get. Second, you can file a writ of Habeas Corpus.
Please Note: I usually take clearing record cases in Harris County and surrounding counties. If your offense occurred outside of Harris and surrounding counties, please contact a criminal defense lawyer in that county.
Download my guide, Clearing Criminal Records in Texas.
If your case was in Harris or a surrounding county, and you are interested in having your case handled correctly, please contact me. However, while my rates are reasonable, if you are looking for the lowest price possible, it will not be me. Thank you.