We get a lot of phone calls from people who want to get an expunction of their criminal records. What most of them really want is to have their criminal records sealed. The expunction statutes were created to allow people who were wrongly arrested or charged an opportunity to have all the government records of their arrest and subsequent prosecution destroyed.
To qualify for an expunction, the person must have been arrested and not merely investigated. This does not mean that they have actually been taken into custody by the police, but that they have submitted to the authority of the courts.
There are four general categories for expunction:
- Acquittals and pardons;
- Dismissals and no-bills;
- Discretionary expunctions; and
- Identity theft.
Each of these has its own rules for determining if someone is entitled to an expunction. We will discuss each individually in future blogs. There are also other categories for which a person may get an expunction not included in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code Procedure.
A person is not entitled to an expunction if the person was arrested for contempt of court, a writ of attachment or violation of parole. The expunction must be for a new criminal charge. Also they are not able to get an expunction if they are acquitted of a charge but were convicted or remain subject to prosecution for any charge arising out of the same criminal incident.
If you believe that you may be eligible for an expunction, visit an attorney for assistance.