Can I Clear My Criminal Record? Am I Eligible for an Expunction?

Whether or not the arrest on your record can be cleared, or expunged, depends on what the final disposition of the case was. To be eligible for an expunction a person’s case must have either been dismissed outright, found not guilty at trial, been a Class C offense (or ticket) that was dismissed because of deferred adjudication, never charged (given a certain waiting period has expired), pardoned, or the State prosecutor recommends the case be expunged. If your case fits in one of these categories and is expunged, the law in Texas even goes on to state that you can legally deny the existence of the arrest if asked in the future.

If your case doesn’t fit into one of the categories listed above, then you’re not eligible to have the case expunged off of your record. But, you still may be able to seal your record (otherwise known as non-disclosure).

Can my case be expunged now? Or, is there a waiting period to have my case expunged?

There are waiting periods when it comes to an Order for Expunction. The waiting period for expunctions depends on the type of case that the arrest was for:
Class C Misdemeanors (Ticket offenses): At least 180 days have elapsed from the date of arrest.
Class A or B Misdemeanors: At least one year has elapsed from the date of arrest.
Felonies: At least three years have elapsed from the date of the arrest.
If the attorney that represents the State certifies that the arrest records and files are not needed for use in any criminal investigation or prosecution, including an investigation or prosecution of another person, then the expunction can occur immediately. Expunctions can be issued immediately if a person is acquitted at trial as well.

If I am not Eligible for an Expunction, is there any other way to Clear my Record? Sealing your record and Non-Disclosures
If your case was a Class A or Class B misdemeanor and a non-exempt felony offense and you completed a deferred adjudication probation on your case, you may be eligible for a nondisclosure (or sealing your arrest record). There are some prerequisites – like not being arrested for any new offense since you finished the deferred adjudication probation, or having been convicted of certain other types of exempted offenses. But, generally speaking, if you successfully completed a deferred adjudication, it’s likely that you’ll be eligible for a non-disclosure.


Generally, if you successfully completed deferred adjudication probation in your case, you will likely be eligible for an Order for Nondisclosure which will keep the general public from seeing your criminal record.

Is there a difference between having a Texas criminal record sealed and a non-disclosure?
Most people know what it means to have their record “sealed”. But, in Texas, this is technically called nondisclosure. In order to keep a person’s Texas criminal record from being disclosed to the public, a person must obtain an Order for Nondisclosure from a judge. The specific term “sealing” a record refers more to juvenile cases. See below for more information on juvenile record sealing.

What cases will still be disclosed even if I successfully completed my deferred adjudication?
There are some types of cases that cannot be cleared by non-disclosure even though there was no conviction and someone successfully completed deferred adjudication.

  • Any case involving family violence
    Violations of Court Orders in Family Cases
    Endangering or Abandoning a Child
    Capital Murder
    Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled
    Aggravated Kidnapping
    Any offense involving registration as a sex offender

What could keep me from getting an Order for Nondisclosure?

There are a few things that could keep a person from getting an Order for Nondisclosure:

If the person did not successfully complete the deferred adjudication probation.
If the person was convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication probation during the period of deferred adjudication probation for which the nondisclosure is requested or during the waiting period.
Also, if there person has ever been previously convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any of the offenses listed in the section above.
If my record is sealed, will there still be certain people who know about my arrest?
Unfortunately, yes. While sealing your record via a nondisclosure is an important step in clearing up your record, there are still some groups and entities that will have access to your record. Agencies that will still have access to your record include:

Law enforcement agencies;
State Board of Educator Certification;
School districts, charter schools, private schools, regional education service centers, commercial transportation companies, or education shared service arrangements;
Texas State Board of Medical Examiners
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
Texas Board of Law Examiners;
State Bar of Texas;
District court regarding a petition for name change
Texas School for the Deaf;
Department of Family and Protective Services;
Texas Youth Commission;
Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;
Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local mental retardation authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or retardation;
Texas Private Security Board;
Municipal or volunteer fire department;
Board of Nurse Examiners;
Safehouse providing shelter to children in harmful situations
Public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district;
Texas Juvenile Probation Commission;
Securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and loan commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;
Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
Health and Human Services Commission; and
Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Is there a waiting period to get an Order for Nondisclosure?

It depends on the offense. For most misdemeanors, a nondisclosure can be obtained anytime on or after discharge and dismissal of the case. For misdemeanors involving kidnapping and unlawful restraint, sexual offenses, assaultive offenses, offenses against the family, disorderly conduct or weapons, a nondisclosure can be obtained anytime on or after the second anniversary of discharge and dismissal of the case. For Felonies, a nondisclosure can be obtained anytime on or after the fifth anniversary of discharge and dismissal of the case.

Expunctions in Texas – State Bar of Texas

Texas Bar Association Brochure

An arrest for a crime that was never charged; ii. A criminal charge that was ultimately dismissed; iii. … Conviction for a crime that was later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the US President. Not all individuals with records eligible for expunction above qualify to receive an expunction.