January 17, 2024

A felony is considered a serious criminal offense punishable by at least six months of confinement in state prison. The crime’s severity will also determine whether the death penalty is appropriate. 

Committing such crimes can result in up to a $10,000 fine too. That said, having a felony record may affect your rights to obtain a job or other services.

This concern prompts a crucial question: How to expunge a felony in Texas? Will the defendant still get a chance to file for a petition?

Fortunately, several conditions allow the expunction or clearance of a felony record in Texas. For example, you can request for felony expunction if you’ve been wrongly charged.

That way, the defendant can get back to living life normally and be able to restore basic privileges. 

Read on to learn about felony expunction in Texas, the eligibility criteria, and the process of felony expunction. 

Who Is Eligible for Felony Expunction in Texas?

Being granted an Order of Expunction will remove a felony offense from your criminal record like it never happened. Nonetheless, you must meet all requirements in the Code of Criminal Procedure Article 55.01.

Meanwhile, petitioning to expunge a felony record is a statutory right of every citizen. Here are some grounds that may qualify an individual for felony expunction in Texas:

  1. The person isn’t convicted of criminal charges
  2. If an individual is convicted but later on pardoned for actual innocence
  3. A conviction for crimes involving the Unlawful Carrying of Weapons or UCW before September 1, 2021
  4. If the defendant is found guilty at trial but subsequently acquitted by the court of criminal appeals
  5. The period for requesting a discretionary review has passed, and there’s no final conviction
  6. If the authorized government agency in charge of the case recommends the expunction
  7. If the statute of limitations has expired with no final conviction
  8. If the Texas governor or the President of the United States grants the person a pardon

The Process of Felony Expunction

Consulting a reputable attorney can be beneficial when filing for a felony expungement. Firstly, they can help you understand the eligibility requirements and assess whether your case meets the criteria. 

They can also guide you through the complex legal process and ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and on time. 

Meanwhile, here’s a chronology of the expunction process.

  1. Filing a Petition of Expunction

The first step is completing a Petition of Expunction and submitting it to the court. Depending on the offense, you may submit the petition to a municipal, county, or district court. 

The petition must be notarized and may include the following:

  • The petitioner’s personal identity information
  • Details about the offense or arrest
  • Date and time of the occurrence of the arrest
  • Agencies involved in the arrest
  • List of agencies or facilities with a record of the offense or arrest
  • A blank Notice of Hearing

On the other hand, a petition for a charged offense should include additional details like the cause number, name of the court, date, and manner of resolution of the charge. The petitioner should also file the petition in the same court where the offense was charged. 

  1. The Court Receives the Petition

Once the petition is received, the court will schedule a hearing and send the notice. The hearing will involve the petitioner and the respondents to contest the expunction. The respondents will include all applicable agencies and facilities. 

  1. The Court Grants or Rejects the Expunction

The court will grant the expunction once the petitioner meets all grounds for approval as stated in the Code of Criminal Procedure. At the same time, the petitioner should present an Order of Expunction to the court to receive the judge’s signature during the hearing. 

  1. The Criminal Record is Now Clear

All agencies or organizations with records of the expunged criminal offense shall receive a valid Order of Expunction. Therefore, all existing records related to the offense are permanently expunged or deleted. 

How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Felony in Texas?


Expunction of felonies is a painstaking process. Scheduling for a hearing may take up to one month, plus the entire expungement process may take as long as three years. 

After granting an expunction, it may take up to 180 days to completely clear records in several local, state, or federal agencies. 

What if the Expunction Petition Would Not Be Honored?

If the court doesn’t grant the expunction appeal, the individual may still apply for a Non-disclosure Order, which seals that person’s criminal record.

Qualifying for this order restricts public access to criminal records and may provide relief regarding employment and housing opportunities. The order also allows individuals to deny the existing offense unless it’s a criminal proceeding. 

However, there are some limitations to this order, such as:

  • The order only applies to a single offense and will not seal an entire record. 

That said, a person with multiple offenses will have to ask for non-disclosure for each. 

  • The record may be visible to professional licensing bodies.

Authorized professional licensing bodies under the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation may be able to access that person’s sealed record. 

Furthermore, there are certain factors in qualifying for this order. For example, committing offenses mentioned under the Texas Penal Code Sections 19 to 42, including murder, human trafficking, child injury, and more, will automatically deny an individual’s rights to a nondisclosure order. 

Implications of Having a Felony Record on One’s Rights

Depending on the level of felony committed, a citizen may be denied rights and other privileges. 

Apart from jail time, paying fines, and other costs, a felony record may be problematic, especially when exploring opportunities like job seeking. 

That said, having a history of felony arrest will result in collateral consequences and denial of privileges that can negatively impact a person’s career and all aspects of life. 

With that, here are some consequences of having a criminal record tarnished with felony offenses:

  1. Suspension of a Professional or Business License and Denial to Acquire One

High-paying professions, especially those in the legal, financial, medical, and allied health fields, will no longer be open to those convicted of felonies. 

  1. Denial of Government Programs and Other Benefits

Housing programs and other government assistance programs will no longer be accessible for those with criminal offenses under felony.

  1. Termination and Lack of Employment Opportunities

Running background checks on prospective recruits is a standard procedure for many businesses or sectors. Contrary to popular belief that a felony case falls off on record after seven years or more, it’s not the case unless after a successful felony expunction. 

While an existing criminal record limits a person’s chances for employment, some companies may hire you, given that it’s been 5-7 years since your release.

  1. Loan Ineligibility 

All kinds of loans, including educational loans, will no longer be available for those with existing felony offenses or records.

  1. Revocation or Ineligibility for Both a Driver’s and Commercial Driver’s License  

An individual isn’t entitled to reinstatement if they’re convicted of human trafficking and a felony related to manufacturing and distribution of controlled substances. 

  1. Losing the Right to Vote or Hold Public Office

In addition to losing the right to vote, a person convicted of a felony shall be kicked out of his position or no longer allowed to run for government positions. 

Aside from the list, there are other less common consequences like travel restrictions, child custody limitations, and losing the right to possess or purchase firearms. 

Conclusion

Expunging a felony case in Texas is a long process that can take up to three years. 

Petitioning for a felony expunction is a statutory right for everyone. However, only those who are acquitted of felony charges or granted pardon may be eligible for expunction.

Despite not qualifying for felony expunction, a person may still apply for a non-disclosure order. Hire an expunctions attorney to help you with your case.