In the State of Texas, there are certain instances where you can have your criminal records returned to you or destroyed. This is referred to as “expungement,” and is only available if:
- A criminal charge against you has been dismissed
- You have been found not guilty of a criminal charge
- You have been pardoned
- Someone used your name when they were arrested (theft of your identity)
- You are a minor charged with your first drinking offense
- You are a minor who has successfully completed a deferred sentence.
Additionally, if you have been involved in an alternative sentencing program in Texas (deferred adjudication) where you have been successfully discharged and dismissed, then you may get a “nondisclosure order” for them, if the charges involved some misdemeanors or felonies and a set number of years has passed. This is a recent alternative to expungement.
Expungement is a great benefit to criminal defendants. The opportunity to expunge criminal records should be taken if at all possible.