How to Expunge Criminal Records in Texas

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Texas law provides for the expungement of some criminal records by a process called "expunction." The requirements for expunction effectively limit the procedure to arrests that do not result in charges or convictions, or to acquittals after trial, including successful appeals of a conviction and even pardons. Cases that result in deferred adjudication—a special type of probation often given to first-time offenders—do not qualify for expunction. Other requirements for expunction include: you have no felony convictions in the five years immediately preceding your arrest; you were not arrested for multiple offenses; and you were not arrested for a sex-related crime and placed on community supervision.

Get a copy of the court form "Petition to Clear Record" from the court clerk's office in the county where you were arrested. Also get a copy of the court form "Order to Clear Record." You may also find the forms online from a legal services organization, such as Texas Law Help. You will also need to submit a record of your fingerprints, so you should also ask the clerk the procedure used by the court for fingerprinting in expunction cases.

Prepare the Petition to Clear Record by filling in your identifying information in the appropriate blank spaces, including the information regarding your arrest that you want cleared. You will also have to list on the form all agencies that have a record of your arrest and check the box describing the basis for your petition. After completing the form, sign it in front of a notary. You should make several copies.

File your petition and fingerprints at the clerk's office in the county where you were arrested. Request that the clerk stamp the court filing information (case number and date) on several of the copies of the petition you made. Keep at least one copy for your records. Send one copy by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the district attorney's office. The court will notify you by mail of the hearing date for your petition.

Prepare for the hearing on your petition by filling in as much information as you can on the Order to Clear Record. You must take this form with you to the hearing so that the judge can complete the order after granting your petition. You should also bring to the hearing your proof of mailing the petition to the district attorney's office, in case there is any question that it was done.

Attend the hearing on your petition, which is mandatory in order to have your petition granted.


  • Expunction erases your criminal record, and the agencies listed in your petition should take steps to clear your information from their records. It is advisable to perform a criminal record check on yourself within a few months after your petition was granted to make sure the proper action was taken.



About the Author

Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, and He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.

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