Arrest records, when charges were cancelled, qualifies for expungement.
There is a possibility for misdemeanor criminal records to be expunged.
Felony records are harder to get expunged, but the possibility exists when qualified.
In Texas, eligibility for expungement is quite specific. According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, individuals may be eligible if they were arrested but not charged, if their case was dismissed, or if they were acquitted, that is, found not guilty at trial. Moreover, people who have been convicted and then later pardoned or proven innocent can have their records expunged. However, if an individual was found guilty or accepted a plea deal, they would generally not be eligible for expungement.
One notable exception to the rule lies with Class C misdemeanors. If an individual received deferred adjudication for a Class C misdemeanor and subsequently completed the deferment period successfully, they could potentially qualify for expungement. Deferred adjudication is a form of plea deal where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest in return for meeting certain requirements, such as probation, community service, or completion of a treatment program. If the requirements are met, the case is dismissed.
Even for those who are eligible, Texas law stipulates specific waiting periods before an application for expungement can be filed. These waiting periods vary depending on the severity of the offense. For example, Class C misdemeanors require a waiting period of 180 days from the date of arrest, while felonies require a wait of three years. These waiting periods are designed to ensure that no further charges will be brought relating to the same incident.
In cases where expungement is not an option, individuals may be able to have their criminal records sealed. Texas allows record sealing for many offenses, provided the person has successfully completed deferred adjudication probation, and meets other criteria. However, certain offenses, such as aggravated sexual assault, murder, or offenses involving family violence, cannot be sealed.
To have a criminal record expunged or sealed in Texas, one must petition the court, which generally involves hiring an expunction lawyer. The process can be complicated and time-consuming. There's no guarantee of success, and the final decision lies with the judge. Even if a person meets all the criteria, the judge may still choose to deny the request.
Overall, the opportunity for criminal record expungement or sealing in Texas offers a potential path for past offenders to reintegrate into society more seamlessly. However, the complex legal requirements and potential roadblocks highlight the importance of legal guidance in navigating this process. It is always recommended to seek legal counsel when considering this option to ensure a clear understanding of eligibility and the steps involved.