A felony conviction has consequences besides time in prison. Federal and state law imposes many restrictions on people who have been convicted of a felony, regardless on how long ago the conviction took place.
People who have been formerly convicted of a felony will face some restrictions throughout their life. Texas and federal laws may affect a person with a felony conviction’s ability to:
Because many employers and landlords run criminal background checks, it can be more difficult to find a job or rent an apartment.
A more comprehensive list of Texas restrictions can be found in our Restrictions After a Felony Conviction guide. A number of federal laws are listed in the Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction article by Smith & Kramer. Other restrictions may also apply.
Expunction completely removes an offense from a person's criminal records. Most felony convictions do not qualify for an expunction. The exceptions are listed in Article 55.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. They include situations when the person was:
Orders of nondisclosure, which seal the criminal record from the public, may be granted for felony offenses only if the person was never convicted. This might happen if the person completed deferred adjudication or if the charges were dropped. Felony convictions do not qualify for orders of nondisclosure. Texas laws governing orders of nondisclosure can be found in Chapter 411, Subchapter E-1 of the Texas Government Code.
See our Expunctions and Nondisclosure Orders guide to learn more.
Individuals finishing their sentence might benefit from our Re-Entry Resources for Ex-Offenders guide. It answers common questions and provides resources for community assistance and support during reintegration.
The law can be complex, so you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking legal action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.