Expunction and Non-Disclosure
In some cases, the defendant is eligible to have all information about arrest and charges "expunged" or removed from public records. The circumstances that allow expunction are:
- The defendant is found not guilty at trial;
- A grand jury no bills (dismisses) a felony case;
- The prosecution drops charges before going to trial;
- The judge dismisses the case before going to trial;
- A conviction was overturned on appeal; or
- The case was dismissed after successfully completing a pretrial diversion program.
Expunction requires the defendant filing a petition in a civil lawsuit, giving notice to the prosecution, law enforcement agencies and the Texas Department of Public Safety. If there is no opposition to the petition, the civil court signs an order requiring that the public records be destroyed or, alternatively, delivered to the defendant for destruction.
For some types of cases, a defendant who successfully completes deferred adjudication can, after a waiting period, file a motion with the court requesting that all case information be sealed from public disclosure. With a nondisclosure order, the defendant is allowed to state, for job application and all other purposes, the arrest and charges never occurred. The nondisclosure order also prohibits law enforcement agencies from disclosing to the public any information related to the deferred adjudication case. A law enforcement agency may only disclose the information to other law enforcement agencies, for limited purposes.