Texas Expunctions 101
I routinely get phone calls on Expunctions. There seems to be a lot of bad information floating around so let’s start with the basics.
Expunction is the process of having records of arrest permanently hidden from public view. Failure to obliterate an expunged record is a class B misdemeanor. Yes, the law actually requires that expunged records be “obliterated.”
If your record is expunged you can actually deny ever being arrested (unless you are on the stand in a criminal case).
Are you eligible for an expunction? That’s a tough question. Call me and we’ll talk about it. Here are some general rules for Texas expunctions.
Misdemeanor Expunctions– To expunge a misdemeanor you can not have received a final conviction OR received community supervision. Deferred adjudication cases can not be expunged. That’s not all, you can not have any felony convictions in the 5 years prior to arrest and you can not have plead to another charge arising out of the same criminal offense.
Here are some hypotheticals-
1. Quincy is arrested for Possession of Marijuana. Quincy pleads guilty and receives deferred adjudication probation for 12 months. Quincy completes probation and there is no finding of guilt.
Quincy wants to expunge his record of the POM arrest and case. Can he?
No. He was placed on probation. Even though it was deferred and no finding of guilt was entered.
2. Paris gets arrested for DWI. Paris reads this blog and refuses to take any field sobriety tests. The State drops the DWI and Paris pleads to “Obstructing a Highway” as part of a plea bargain. Paris wants to expunge the arrest for DWI?
Can she? Nope. The “Obstructing a Highway” case is out of the same criminal episode.
3. Finally, Morpheus is arrested for Assault Family Violence. A year earlier Morpheus pled guilty to Possession Of Methamphetamine and got 6 months in State Jail. Morpheus sets the Family Violence case for trial and it is dismissed when the victim does not show up.
Can Morpheus get the Assault Family Violence expunged? Nope. He has a felony conviction within 5 years of the Assault Family Violence.
As you can see, expunctions are not easy to get. However, expunctions have a little known relative the Motion for Non Disclosure that can be useful. We will discuss MFNDs in the future.