This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Texas Criminal Record Expungement service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.
No. The expungement prohibits the release, maintenance, dissemination, or use of the expunged records and files for any purpose.
Expungement seals and destroys your records of the arrest and court case so it is not viewable by the public.
You can deny the occurrence of the arrest and the existence of the expunction unless there is a criminal proceeding about the arrest for which the records have been expunged. In that instance, only the fact that the matter in question has been expunged can be disclosed. You can deny the case or the arrest on employment applications, housing applications, and any other applications.
Since the records are destroyed, the arrest and case won’t be considered for the application for employment.
Section 19 of the FDIA (Federal Deposit Insurance Act) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.
"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission.
Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.
If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the FDIC. It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.
Expungement cannot be used against you unless there is a criminal proceeding about the arrest for which the records have been expunged. In that instance, only the fact that the matter in question has been expunged can be disclosed.
Expungement results in the destruction of all references and records of the case from public records. The Department of Public Safety also requests any federal repository to return and destroy them. The court record for expungement is destroyed 60 days to 1 year after the order is issued.
Non-disclosure requires Department of Public Safety to send a copy of the order to all law enforcement agencies, jails, etc. who are then ordered to seal the records, but not destroy them. So, they cannot disclose the offense, but the records are not destroyed. And the prior criminal record could be used against the person in a subsequent prosecution.
A case is only eligible for one service and what the eligible service is depends on the sentence for that case.
No. If a case is eligible for nondisclosure then it is not eligible for expungement.
You have an attorney to (1) make sure it is done right the first time so it does not get rejected or cost you months of delay, (2) handle objections from the district attorney, (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be, and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will soon have the conviction off of your record.
Although a licensed attorney will appear in court for you, in Texas cases, the judge will frequently require your presence. If you live out of state or if attending the hearing would be a hardship for you, we can ask the court to excuse your presence, but this is not guaranteed.
Once you sign up we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks questions that influence the outcome of the case and allows us to argue the case before a judge. Although some of the questions may seem simple, the more information and detail that you provide in your answers the better we are able to argue the case in your favor.
Currently, the whole process typically takes anywhere between four and nine months, depending on county.
We base our estimates of how long a case will take on how long the average is for that service in that state. However, some cases can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the DA is agreeing or objecting, the age of the case, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and DA in anything they need to get your case heard.
The courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner the case is heard and decided. If it helps, we would be glad to write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having it expunged.
We have an online tracking system that is just for your case or cases. You will have a user name and password for the account and it will have the information specific to the case. Whenever anything happens in your case we post it in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that is made. If there is no post on your online account then that means that there is no update in the case. For example, once we update your online account to reflect that we have filed the motion with the court we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or District Attorney. Depending on the court, it can take several weeks to months to hear from the court or District Attorney whether there is an objection, hearing, or anything else. If something is taking longer than usual for the court we will call to obtain status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information in the case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.
Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print it.
If you pled guilty or no contest then the case is not able to be expunged unless the case was for a misdemeanor class C and you completed deferred adjudication.
If we are unable to succeed on your case, we give you your money back, except for the fees paid to the court (normally $200 to $450). There is a partial refund if the client does anything to become ineligible after beginning the process.
We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Please view the pricing for details regarding the payment plans.
We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done. We charge a researching fee to do it and we apply that fee to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.
Yes as long as the offense was not for any of the following offenses:
abuse of corpse; advertising for placement of child; aiding suicide; assault; bigamy; cruelty to animals; deadly conduct; destruction of flag; discharge of firearm; disorderly conduct; disrupting meeting of procession; dog fighting; false alarm; harassment; harboring runaway child; hoax bombs; indecent exposure; interference with emergency telephone call; leaving child in a vehicle; making a firearm accessible to a child; possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale of switchblade knife or knuckles; public lewdness; riot; silent or abusive calls to 9-1-1 service; terrorist threat; unlawful carrying of handgun by license holder; unlawful carrying weapons; unlawful possession of firearm; unlawful restraint; unlawful transfer of certain weapons; violation of protective order preventing offense caused by bias or prejudice. If the offense was any of the listed offenses then you must wait two years from the date you completed deferred adjudication.
Yes. For misdemeanors there is a two year waiting period and for most felonies there is a three year waiting period. For more serious felonies there is a longer waiting period. The waiting period begins to run from the date of arrest or incident.
Yes. If your case was dismissed due to lack of probable cause or mistake then you can file before the waiting period expires. This means that the case was dismissed with prejudice and the District Attorney cannot refile the charges against you.
If it is denied, it is usually because of (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) the court does not believe it will be in the interest of society or (4) not paying fines.
If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If we do not believe that refiling would be successful or we recommend the person wait longer to refile, then there is the money back guarantee.
Deferred adjudication is a sentence that the judge gives you. Typically, you are placed on probation as part of the sentence. Upon completing the sentence, the judge dismisses the case and “defers” the guilty plea. Under Texas law this is not considered a conviction.
You cannot expunge the case because the case cannot lead to a conviction, even if it was a lesser charge. The only exception to this is if the lesser crime was filed as a completely separate case.
We can file for multiple cases; however, they must be filed separately.
You will receive a court order of expungement. The order will update the court and state records so it is sealed and destroyed.
Once the judge signs the granted order for the case to be expunged, the court sends the order to all agencies with records of the arrest and court case.
The court updates their records within 48 hours. Texas Department of Public Safety and agencies typically update their records between 30 to 60 days upon receiving the order.
No. If you are required to register then your offense is not eligible for an expungement.
No. Driver's license records are not affected by the expungement. However, driving records fall off your record after a certain period of time unlike your criminal records, which remain on your record for life unless you have them cleared.
If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you may be prohibited from entrance and further action is required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States; so the Canadian government will have the same information as the United States. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of this will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and improve the odds of not being denied entry to Canada or being stuck at the border for lengthy interrogation.
The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; so it would be wise to invest in record clearing before applying for a pass. A modest investment in expungement could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. It will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.
Voting rights are restored to individuals convicted of a felony in Texas once a person is fully discharged from their sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completes a period of probation ordered by any court. Therefore, if you are eligible for expungement then you already have your voting rights.
Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, it is important to get a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case it is imperative you contact a qualified immigration attorney. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.
You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.
Since dismissed cases and cases where deferred adjudication is completed are not considered convictions, you are able to own or possess a firearm already. However, there is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States government (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by federal law. The federal definition is narrower than Texas’s definition, so your domestic violence conviction in Texas might not trigger the federal law. Expungment in Texas does not lift the federal prohibition.
Call us 512-501-4973 or Toll Free 877-573-7273
Please take the free online eligibility test before calling.
Law Firm of Higbee & Associates
825 W. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701 *
1314 Texas Ave. Suite 701, Houston, TX 77002 *
6060 North Central Expressway Suite 315, Dallas, TX 75206 *
*By Appointment Only