Criminal Record Expunctions for Texans

Don’t Let an Arrest Remain on Your Record

The law firm of Chappell, Lanehart & Stangl, P.C. is 100% dedicated to representing Texans charged with a crime, before, during and after trial. Unfortunately, even if all charges are dismissed, or you are acquitted at trial, an arrest will still remain on your record. Having an arrest record can feel like a conviction and follow you around forever. However, by getting an expunction, you can take a step towards clearing your name and criminal history.

Expunction Process in Texas

A successful expunction orders all records of an arrest to be DESTROYED or RETURNED for DESTRUCTION. This process is called expunction in Texas, but can be known as expungement in other states. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines the legal process for every county in Texas. Criminal history is managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), which sells this information to a variety of state agencies and private companies.

After expunction, an arrest cannot exist in State records, and it should not show on any background check performed by a private entity that bought its records from DPS. Additionally, you can then LEGALLY DENY THE ARREST OR THE EXISTENCE OF THE CHARGES, which can be tremendously helpful regarding job applications and other matters.


Not everyone is eligible for an expunction. Federal crimes or charges that occurred in federal court are not eligible. Below are some circumstances that could make you eligible for expunction of an arrest in Texas:

  1. Formal charges were never filed, and the matter is closed.
  2. Formal charges were filed, but later dismissed.
  3. You were arrested for certain violations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Code.
  4. You were acquitted at trial.
  5. You were convicted of the offense and later pardoned.

Records Expunged in Texas by Type

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines state arrests that are eligible, but talking to a licensed attorney is recommended. For this reason, our firm offers a free consultation to determine if your arrest is eligible for expunction.

Expunctions can become complicated due to a period of time that must lapse after an arrest. Working with an attorney can lead to an agreement from the State in waiving this waiting period. Another complication is multiple arrests. It is possible to expunge multiple arrests with the same expunction proceeding, if each arrest is independently eligible and happened in the same county. The benefit to one expunction is avoiding additional court costs and fees, saving your family money and delivering “more bang for your buck.”

Expunction vs. Order of NonDisclosure

As stated above, expunctions are only for certain arrests. If you were placed on and successfully completed “deferred adjudication” probation, or if you have been convicted of certain misdemeanors (including DWI), you may be eligible to ask for an Order of Nondisclosure. An Order of Nondisclosure does not result in all records being destroyed, so it is different from an expunction. However, the end result is that the records of the arrest and any resulting charges are sealed by DPS, and you do not have to disclose those matters on any job application. While an Order of Nondisclosure is not as beneficial as an expunction, it is still a remedy that can clean your record as much as possible under the law. Our firm is equally experienced and qualified to pursue Orders of Nondisclosure for our eligible clients.

Get an Expunction With our Law Firm

At Chappell, Lanehart & Stangl, P.C., we are dedicated to removing as much criminal history as possible for our clients from official records. We are happy to provide a free consultation to determine if your records can be expunged.  Please schedule an appointment at your convenience. If you are seeking expunction for a child or family member,  Chuck and Fred can discuss options with immediate family.

It is important to note that, in this digital age, arrest information may still be available online, even after an expunction is granted. For instance, some websites obtain arrest information from public sources, such as county jail websites, which often provide real-time arrest information.  That information is then gathered and later published on the website for public view.  Since these websites did not purchase their information from DPS, they are not bound by an expunction order.  However, they will often take down arrest information that has been expunged, upon request.  We will also help as much as we can in those circumstances.

An expunction is the only remedy available under the law, when it comes to removing an arrest from your record.  Chappell, Lanehart and Stangl would appreciate the opportunity to advise on options and eligibility.

Areas of Practice

Five Things to Know About Clearing a Record

The Marshall Project’s article on expungement, reveals the complicated procedure of clearing a criminal record, how it can affect immigration status, the job search and more.

Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment

A comprehensive report by the The National Employment Law Project looks at the difficulty in applying for a job with an arrest and criminal conviction. Personal stories of those with expunged records and actual ads from major employers reveal improper questions in the hiring process.