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Expunction Hearings: What Happens after Filing a Petition for Expungement of Criminal Record

 

In Texas, some people who been been accused of or charged with crimes may qualify for an expunction. An expungement order removes information about a crime from a defendant’s criminal record. This can prevent many people from learning about that aspect of a defendant’s history.

This can have many advantages for a defendant. For example, this can benefit a defendant who is:

  • Trying to sign a lease on a house or apartment
  • Applying for government benefits
  • Applying for a new job by submitting to a background check

Not all crimes can be subject to an expunction. In some cases, a defendant who is charged with a crime that can be expunged may still not be eligible for an expunction. Understanding more about the process in Texas can help defendants find out if they are eligible.

Who Is Eligible For An Expunction In Texas?

In general, there are certain groups of people who are more likely to qualify for an expunction in Texas. These groups include:

  • Minors under the age of 18
  • First-time offenders
  • Defendants who are charged with misdemeanor offenses

Although these people are more likely to qualify for an expunction, they may not be eligible for an expunction. Certain offenses are automatically considered ineligible.

In many cases, the following scenarios are most likely to qualify for an expunction:

  • A person who was never formally charged with a crime for which they were arrested
  • A minor who was convicted of certain non-serious offenses
  • A person who had their charges dismissed by a court
  • A person who participated in a diversionary drug offender program
  • A minor who committed certain alcohol-related offenses
  • A person who was acquitted after a conviction
  • A person who received a pardon from the Texas governor or U.S. president
  • A person who was mistakenly convicted of a crime that was actually committed by another person

How Expunction Hearings Work

In order to apply, it is necessary to submit a petition to the court in the county in which the defendant was arrested. It is very important to fill out this petition correctly. An attorney may be able to help fill out the form in order to avoid costly mistakes.

The defendant may file the petition with the court personally or they may hire an attorney to file it. If the petition is properly filed, the court can decide to schedule a hearing.

If the hearing is scheduled, the court will notify certain parties about the hearing. These are known as the respondents. When the hearing takes place, the respondents will be allowed to attend the hearing and contest the expunction. This means that the respondents may get to make a case against granting an expunction.

If the court believes that the defendant meets all of the requirements, the court will agree to grant the expunction. Next, the defendant will have to present the order to the court for it to be signed. In most cases, the defendant will be required to have the Order of Expunction prepared and ready to be signed at the hearing.

After the order is signed, it must be submitted to all agencies that have the defendant’s criminal record on file.

Does Expunction Clear My Record?

In many ways, expunging can make a person’s criminal record appear to be clear of the initial charge. However, it does not actually erase the charges. After an order of expunction has been granted, any agencies that have the related criminal records on file will have to return their records to the court clerk.

However, the court clerk can hold on to these records for a certain amount of time. During that time, the records are still available to be viewed by certain parties.

Additionally, some people may still be able to find certain information about a criminal offense even if an expunction was granted. For example, government and federal agencies may still be able to find information about the arrest and initial charges for an offense that was later expunged.


The expunction process can be complicated and confusing. Consulting an attorney is the best way to begin this process.

For more information about expunging your criminal record, contact the The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp. Call (713) 868-6100 or email today.

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