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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in Texas? Points to Consider

Many people wonder: How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in Texas? It's important to understand the rules and how it all works.


According to Texas law, a misdemeanor conviction will usually stay on the person's criminal record indefinitely if a court doesn't expunge it. In some cases, misdemeanors are eligible for non-disclosure. This works to limit access to the ruling by certain individuals and entities, such as for criminal background checks. However, law enforcement agencies can still access the information.


When dealing with Texas criminal records, people often wonder how to start. Though it's wise to consult with an attorney for guidance, this blog post might help explain things. These attorneys can also explain things like how to expunge misdemeanor Texas.


How Does the Expungement Process Work in Texas?

How Does the Expungement Process Work in Texas?


An expungement is the term often used for expunction, which is a legal process. It's the signed order from a judge and is served to state agencies in Texas that typically have copies of that person's criminal record.


The expunction order is often good for a single criminal offense. It forces any private companies and state agencies to destroy records of the person's arrest, whether they're in hard copy or electronically stored. It's important to note that a felony conviction can't be expunged for three years.


These are the basic steps for expunging a criminal record in Texas:


  1. Determine eligibility requirements for expunction.

  2. File an expunction petition with the local district court.

  3. Pay any statutory fees.

  4. Attend a hearing.

  5. File the order with a court clerk.


How to Get a Misdemeanor Expunged from a Criminal Record in Texas


If one is eligible for expunction, they will file a petition with the court where the conviction or arrest was made. This must be followed by a copy of that person's criminal history and other documentation, including a sworn affidavit. There will then be a court hearing to grant or deny the expunction.


Some misdemeanors aren't eligible for expunction. Likewise, the process is quite complex. Therefore, it's wise to work with a criminal defense attorney to understand the law.


Even when an expunction is granted, some private entities and state agencies can access those criminal records. They aren't always destroyed; instead, they could be sealed.


Is the Person Eligible for Expunction?

Expunction is the process for expunging the misdemeanor conviction from the person's criminal record. There are certain conditions one must meet to be eligible for expunction, including:


  • The person got arrested but wasn't charged with an offense.

  • The charges against the person were quashed or dismissed.

  • The person went to trial and was found not guilty of the criminal charge.

  • The person completed a deferred adjudication or pre-trial diversion program.


Filing for an Expunction


It's possible to file for an expunction with the Texas Department of Public Safety. This must be done 180 days or sooner after being convicted. Likewise, DPS sets the hearing date about 30 days after filing.


If the misdemeanor charge isn't dismissed during that time, the person will continue to have a Texas criminal record for at least seven months after the conviction.


Statute of Limitations and Class C Misdemeanors

It's impossible to expunge a dismissed charge if the statute of limitations is still in place. This is the amount of time the state's attorney has to prosecute that case.


For a class C misdemeanor, it is zero to 180 days.


Class A and Class B Misdemeanor

When there is a criminal conviction for a class A or B misdemeanor, the state of Texas has two years to prosecute the case.


How Long Will Expunction Take?


The timeline for expunction in Texas depends on many factors, such as:


  • Type of Court Case - Usually, misdemeanor and felony expungement cases are filed in the district court. However, class C misdemeanors are often filed in municipal or justice courts, which process things much faster.

  • The County - Different Texas counties have varying caseloads. Usually, the court system works on a first-in basis, though it can prioritize as necessary. Most lawyers handle cases that take roughly four weeks to six months to fully process.


Non-disclosure of Records for a Class C Misdemeanor


Along with expunction, a person can remove a criminal record through "non-disclosure." This is a court order prohibiting criminal justice agencies from providing public records relating to that misdemeanor offense.


The types of information relating to a person's criminal history that may be restricted by the non-disclosure order depends on a few things.


Is the Victim Eligible for Non-Disclosure?

To be eligible for a non-disclosure of records, the person must meet certain conditions, such as:


  • They must successfully complete the deferred adjudication probation for the misdemeanor offense.

  • They must not be convicted of other offenses (the exception is fine-only traffic violations).

  • Enough time must pass since the probation completion date (about two to five years).


If one is eligible for non-disclosure, they should file a non-disclosure petition with the court where the offense occurred. The court holds a hearing to either grant or deny the order.


Filing for Non-Disclosure


Filing for non-disclosure means putting in a petition with the court system in the county where that conviction happened. This is often accompanied by a sworn affidavit and the person's criminal history.


Here are the steps to take:


  1. Get a copy of the person's criminal history from the DPS (Department of Public Safety).

  2. Meet all eligibility requirements for the non-disclosure.

  3. Prepare a petition, and file it with the court system in the county where that conviction happened.

  4. Service a notice of the hearing to the required parties.

  5. Attend the hearing and present appropriate evidence to support the non-disclosure.

  6. Wait to hear the court's decision.


What the Non-disclosure Does


Non-disclosure orders mean that government agencies aren't allowed to give information about that person's offense to unauthorized companies.


Likewise, the person isn't required to disclose that information for job applications and elsewhere.


It's important to note the offense does stay on the person's record, and law enforcement can see it.


Why Work with a Criminal Defense Attorney

Why Work with a Criminal Defense Attorney


Having misdemeanor charges on a person's record can be worrisome. However, they might be eligible for non-disclosure or expunction.


It's crucial to work with an attorney, and the ones at Sparks Law Firm fully understand Texas criminal law and how it applies to specific situations. Please call to request a free consultation today.

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