In Texas a person may be eligible for an expunction or an order of nondisclosure depending on the type of offense, the disposition of the case, and if they have fulfilled the statutory waiting period. The difference between and expunction and an order of nondisclosure is that expunctions completely erase the event like it never happened and orders of nondisclosures seal the information to the public but can still be seen and used by courts and law enforcement. Basically, the only offenses eligible for an expunction are offenses that have been dismissed, found not guilty, acquitted by an appellate court, pardoned or are a Class C Misdemeanor and deferred adjudication has been successfully completed. A person applying for an expunction must not have been convicted of a felony in five years preceding the arrest.
Orders of nondisclosure are eligible when the offense is a Class B Misdemeanor or above that is not barred by statute from nondisclosure, the defendant successfully completed a deferred adjudication and waited the statutory waiting period. The waiting period is no time for some misdemeanors, a two year waiting period for some misdemeanors and a five year waiting period for all felonies.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 55.01. Right to Expunction
(a) A person who has been placed under a custodial or noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged if:
(1) the person is tried for the offense for which the person was arrested and is:
(A) acquitted by the trial court, except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section; or
(B) convicted and subsequently pardoned; or
(2) each of the following conditions exist:
(A) an indictment or information charging the person with commission of a felony has not been presented against the person for an offense arising out of the transaction for which the person was arrested or, if an indictment or information charging the person with commission of a felony was presented, the indictment or information has been dismissed or quashed, and:
(i) the limitations period expired before the date on which a petition for expunction was filed under Article 55.02; or
(ii) the court finds that the indictment or information was dismissed or quashed because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information, or other similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of the dismissal to believe the person committed the offense or because it was void;
(B) the person has been released and the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 for any offense other than a Class C misdemeanor; and
(C) the person has not been convicted of a felony in the five years preceding the date of the arrest.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section, a district court may expunge all records and files relating to the
arrest of a person who has been arrested for commission of a felony or misdemeanor under the procedure established under Article 55.02 of this code if the person is:
(1) tried for the offense for which the person was arrested;
(2) convicted of the offense; and
(3) acquitted by the court of criminal appeals.
(c) A court may not order the expunction of records and files relating to an arrest for an offense for which a person is subsequently acquitted, whether by the trial court or the court of criminal appeals, if the offense for which the person was acquitted arose out of a criminal episode, as defined by Section 3.01, Penal Code, and the person was convicted of or remains subject to prosecution for at least one other offense occurring during the criminal episode.
(d) A person is entitled to have any information that identifies the person, including the person’s name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and social security number, contained in records and files relating to the arrest of another person expunged if:
(1) the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement to expunction was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person’s identifying information without the consent of the person asserting the entitlement; and
(2) the only reason for the information identifying the person asserting the entitlement being contained in the arrest records and files of the person arrested is that the information was falsely given by the person arrested as the arrested person’s identifying information.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 55.03. Effect of Expunction
When the order of expunction is final:
(1) the release, dissemination, or use of the expunged records and files for any purpose is prohibited;
(2) except as provided in Subdivision 3 of this article, the person arrested may deny the occurrence of the arrest and the existence of the expunction order; and
(3) the person arrested or any other person, when questioned under oath in a criminal proceeding about an arrest for which the records have been expunged, may state only that the matter in question has been expunged.