Determine if you are eligible

Certain categories of people who have been arrested may be eligible for an expunction. If you have been arrested for an offense and were acquitted (found not guilty) by a jury or judge you may be eligible to have the records expunged. If you were arrested and a case against you was never filed in court or was filed and later dismissed, you may be eligible to expunge the record after the statute of limitations period has run. For misdemeanors, the period is two years. For felony offenses, the statute of limitations varies with the offense. If you were placed on deferred adjudications for a Class C offense and successfully completed the deferred probation, you may be expunction eligible after the two year limitations period has expired. Deferred adjudication probation for offenses Class B or higher will NOT result in expunction eligibility. Finally, certain alcohol offenses committed by minors are expunction eligible at age twenty one under separate law.


Draft and File the Expunction Petition

To successfully obtain an expunction order you must draft a Petition for Expunction. The requirements for expunction eligibility may be found in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This is the paperwork that informs the court that you want an expunction. The Petition must list the law enforcement agencies that you believe have information about the criminal history you seek to expunge. You must file the original signed petition with the District Clerk in the Judicial District in which you were arrested. Typically there is a substantial filing fee. You must also serve a copy of the Petition on the local District Attorney's Office. It may be a good idea to bring a copy of the Petition for each law enforcement agency listed in your Petition so that the clerk may provide copies to each. For alcohol offenses committed by minors, you may be required to file the expunction petition directly in the convicting court


Obtain a signed expunction order.

Once you have filed the petition and have served the appropriate parties with a copy, draw up a proposed order that lists the information required by Ch. 55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and seek the signature of a judge on the order. This typically happens in one of two ways. One, the matter is set for hearing and you prove that you are eligible according to the terms of Chapter 55, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The second, and more common method is to present a proposed agreed order the Assistant District Attorney assigned to handle expunction petitions. If the District Attorney agrees that you are expunction eligible, they will frequently indicate their agreement by signing your proposed order. When the D.A. signs off on your proposed order, take it to the assigned court and tell the court staff about the agreed order. Finally, take the judge signed order back to the clerk with enough copies for all the agencies entitled to service.