Law Office of Tim Powers
Good news and bad news,
Texas expunction law constantly changing. Bills passed during the 82nd Texas Legislature changed
several aspects of expunction law. These changes took effect on September
1, 2011, but since in most cases in the past, the statute of limitations
would have to expire before one could file for an expunction (that has
changed) , the changes have had little impact until now.
The Good News
One change is the new eligibility for a person granted relief on the basis
of actual innocence. Up until now, a person who had been convicted but
later pardoned could have his
criminal record expunged, but a person who was convicted and later found to be actually innocent
The new law also changes the timeline during which one becomes eligible
for expunction if the charges are not filed within a certain amount of
time. Current law provides that a person who was arrested must wait to
expunge until the statute of limitations for the offense expires (generally,
2 years for misdemeanors, 3 years for most felonies, longer for certain
serious felonies.) Under the new law, a person who is arrested but not
formally charged with a misdemeanor offense may
petition for expunction:
- 180 days after arrest for a Class C misdemeanor (traffic tickets, PI, MIP,
punishable by fine only)
- 1 year after arrest for Class A & B misdemeanors
- 3 years from date of arrest for all felonies
- at any time after arrest if the attorney for the State certifies that the
files are not needed for any subsequent criminal prosecution.
The Bad News
For cases that are formally filed by indictment or information but later
dismissed, (the most common situation), the person must still wait until
the statute of limitations expires to
petition for expunction.
Unfortunately, a person may no longer
petition for expunction of records for an arrest that was made pursuant to a probation revocation warrant.
The new law also denies eligibility to expunge records to people who intentionally
or knowingly abscond ("jump bail") after being released on bond.
Another consequence of the new law is that a person will likely no longer
be eligible to expunge misdemeanor cases that were disposed of under Section
12.45, Penal Code. Courts have interpreted current law to allow expunction
of 12.45 misdemeanors, but the new language of the statute could make
that interpretation moot.
This illustrates the importance of having
Texas criminal records expunged as soon as you are eligible. Once expungement is granted, the records
are destroyed forever. But if you wait too long, the Legislature may enact
changes that will make it so you are no longer eligible.
If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced
criminal defense attorney for your Denton County criminal case or arrest
in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no
charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899.
*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court
of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For
legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult