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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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2996 views   |   28   |   Last updated on Nov 17, 2023    Criminal Law

Arrest records and other criminal records may sometimes be removed from the person’s criminal history or sealed from public view.


A complete removal of records related to a criminal offense is called an expunction. Applying for an expunction may be possible if:

  • the charges were never filed
  • the charges were dismissed
  • the defendant was found not guilty
  • the defendant was pardoned
  • the defendant was convicted of a juvenile offense
  • the defendant was convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon before September 1, 2021

This is not a complete list. Texas laws related to eligibility and the expunction process are in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

Orders of Nondisclosure

Orders of nondisclosure do not completely clear the records related to a criminal offense. Instead, they seal the offense from public view—though some agencies, including law enforcement, will still have access to these records.

An order of nondisclosure can mean that the person no longer has to disclose information about a sealed offense on job and housing applications. Nondisclosure orders may be granted in certain situations when:

  • the defendant completed a deferred adjudication program; or
  • the defendant completed a community supervision program after being convicted of a qualifying misdemeanor or a driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) offense.   

A certain amount of time must pass before a person can apply for orders of nondisclosure. Depending on the offense, this can be up to five years.

Texas laws related to eligibility and nondisclosure process can be found in Chapter 411, Subchapter E-1 of the Texas Government Code.

Where can I find more information?

See our Expunctions and Nondisclosure Orders guide for articles and additional resources on the topic.

Some legal aid organizations offer free assistance to qualifying individuals who seek help with clearing or sealing their records.

Where can I find expunction or nondisclosure forms?

Our Expunction and Nondisclosure Forms page provides links to sample forms from several organizations.

The law can be complex, so you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.

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