Put out by the Texas District & County Attorneys Association, this publication goes over the "nuts and bolts" of expunctions and non-disclosures, explains how one petitions the court for either, and includes sample forms to guide you through the process.
The third volume of this 3-volume practice guide contains information on expunging arrest records.
About This Guide
In certain cases, Texas individuals are able to have their criminal record "expunged" or they may petition for their record to be sealed ("non-disclosure").
The information on this page can help you understand the difference between an expunction and non-disclosure, who is eligible for this, and how the process generally works.
Below you will find references to the areas of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the Texas Government Code that govern expunctions and non-disclosure. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to look at the "plain English" resources on this page or speak to an attorney.
Chapter 55 governs the expunction of criminal records. In this chapter you will find the Texas law that outlines who is eligible for and has a right to an expunction. This chapter also outlines the procedure required when requesting an expunction.
Chapter 411 Subchapter F governs non-disclosure orders. In this subchapter you will find the laws that explain who is eligible for an order of non-disclosure as well as the procedure that must be followed.
Beginning at section 58.003, this chapter of the Family Code governs the sealing of juvenile records. Section 58.203 also outlines what requirements must be met in order for certain juvenile records to be automatically restricted.
A law passed in 2013 (Senate Bill 107) ordered the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to prescribe a petition for an order of nondisclosure. You can now find the model petition for an order of nondisclosure, related documents, and instructions on the OCA website.
Explained in "Plain English"
Because state law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "plain English."
UT Austin's Legal Services for Students provides a good overview of expunctions and non-disclosure orders. They explain who is eligible for either of these procedures in a manner that is easy to understand.
This article originally appeared in the Texas Bar Journal and is publicly available on the Texas Bar's website. It provides a great, easy-to-understand summary of expunctions and non-disclosure in Texas.
The Criminal Records Service division of the Texas Department of Public Safety handles expunctions and non-disclosures. They are not able to offer any legal advice, but you may want to contact them with other questions or visit their site for more details.
Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library
The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.
Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.
Ask a Librarian
If you need help with a reference question, you may ask a librarian...
From their Web site: The Center For Consumer Law helps consumers settle disputes by informing them of their legal rights and assisting with the resolution of disputes through mediation and, when necessary, litigation.