June 14, 2023

Having a criminal record can have serious consequences on one’s life. They have trouble dealing with anything that requires a criminal background check. This includes jobs, mortgages, education, and housing.

However, we believe that a mistake or a moment of bad judgment shouldn’t hinder anyone from moving on with their life. They shouldn’t have trouble finding a job or a new house because of a past misdemeanor.

In this article, we’ll explain how to expunge a misdemeanor in Texas.

What’s a Misdemeanor in Texas?

According to Texas law, a misdemeanor is a criminal violation more serious than an infraction but less severe than a felony.

Misdemeanors in Texas are usually punished by fines, imprisonment in a county jail, or house arrest.

Texas misdemeanors are classified into three classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each has its punishments and penalties. 

1.Class A Misdemeanors

Class A is the most severe misdemeanor type; it involves offenses such as:

  • Perjury
  • Assault causing bodily injury
  • Evading arrest on foot
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Possession of Marijuana or controlled substance
  • Trespassing
  • Violation of Protective Order
  • Cruelty to Animals

Convictions for Class A misdemeanors can result in a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.

2. Class B Misdemeanors

Class B includes less severe criminal activities such as:

  • Criminal Trespassing
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Harassment 
  • Riot
  • Possession of 2 or fewer ounces of Marijuana
  • Prostitution

Penalties for Class B misdemeanors may include a fine of up to $2,000, 180 days in jail, or both.

3. Class C Misdemeanors

Class C misdemeanors include the least serious criminal activities, such as the following:

  • Traffic violations
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Gambling
  • Public intoxication
  • Using laser pointers
  • Assault by threat
  • Leaving a child in a vehicle

Since these misdemeanors are the least severe, they generally don’t result in jail time, but they can lead to fines of up to $500.

The Difference Between Expunction and Nondisclosure

To clean up a criminal record in Texas, there are two methods available: expunction and nondisclosure.

Both ways can provide relief from the negative impact of criminal records on one’s personal and professional life. But what’s the difference?

Expunction, or expungement, is the process of completely erasing the criminal past from public records. It’s as if a previous arrest or criminal charge never occurred. That means one can safely deny its occurrence during job interviews or mortgage applications.

On the other hand, nondisclosure is sealing the criminal record from the public view. However, the record remains available to licensing agencies, justice agencies, and government entities. 

Additionally, the criminal record won’t be accessible by private employers, landlords, and other non-governmental entities. 

How to Get a Criminal Record Expunged in Texas?

Now that you know the difference between expunction and nondisclosure, it’s time to understand how to expunge a criminal record.

The first step is to determine if an individual is eligible for expungement. Eligibility for expungement depends on the type of committed misdemeanors and the type of community supervision.

In Texas, there are two main types of community supervision: regular community supervision and deferred adjudication

If previous offenses ended in regular community supervision or conviction, then, unfortunately, they’re not eligible for expungement. In such cases, nondisclosure is the only option.

To determine eligibility for expungement, take a look at the following situations that may qualify for expunction:

  • Arrest without charge: if someone was arrested, but no formal charges were filed against them
  • Dismissed charges
  • If someone was charged but acquitted on an appeal
  • Certain juvenile offenses committed by minors are eligible for expunction
  • Identity theft 
  • Minors convicted of alcohol offenses
  • Receiving a pardon from the governor or the president

How Long Do I Have to Wait Before Expunction

Before you file for expunction or nondisclosure, you must know that you’re only eligible for expunction after certain waiting periods have passed. These periods vary depending on the type of criminal activity.

  • Class C misdemeanors: 180 days
  • Class A or B misdemeanors: 1 year
  • Felonies: 3 years

Note that it’s always better to wait for the statute of limitations to expire before you file your claim. Otherwise, the prosecutor may decide to keep your records on file. In certain circumstances the prosecutor may waive the waiting period. 

Expunging a Misdemeanor in Texas in 7 Simple Steps

After the waiting period ends, you should start filing for expungement. 

  1. The first thing you need to do is to obtain a copy of your fingerprint card from the L-1 Enrollment Services
  2. Get your criminal record from the Texas Department of Public Safety
  3. Retrieve the expunction forms from the district court, fill them out and then submit them to the court
  4. Make sure you give notice to the district attorney, arresting police authority, and the Texas Department of Public Safety about your petition
  5. If all the prerequisites are met, the DA will evaluate the proposed order and provide their approval
  6. To officially clear the conviction, your order must be presented to the district court judge
  7. If the judge approves your claim, all your criminal records held by the court, the prosecutor’s office, the arresting agency, and the Department of Public Safety will be destroyed

What Is the Cost of Getting a Record Expunged in Texas?

Generally speaking, expunging a misdemeanor in Texas would cost you around $1,000 or less. However, this is a rough estimate because each case is unique. 

Furthermore, Texas law doesn’t force you to work with an attorney to expunge your criminal record. Still, it’s always better to hire an attorney to help you navigate the complicated expungement laws and eligibility requirements.

Note that there are two main expenses when it comes to expunction in Texas: attorney fees and court fees. 

Court fees vary depending on the courthouse. Similarly, attorney fees vary depending on the complexity of your case and how much writing, research, and argument it demands.

Benefits of Misdemeanor Expungement

Going through the complex expungement laws can be daunting for many. It might take a lot of time and effort to finally get a clear criminal record. However, living without the burden of a criminal record is worth all the hassle.

1. Better Job Opportunities


A criminal record can be a barrier when applying for a job. No matter how much potential a person has or how well they fit the job, employers will run a criminal background check before hiring them.

Going through application forms and interviews is already challenging, and nobody wants to miss out on their dream job because of a minor mistake from the past. 

Fortunately, expunging the criminal record will give access to more job opportunities, as employers will see nothing but a clean criminal record. 

2. More Housing Opportunities

Similar to employers, landlords and rental agencies often run criminal background checks on their tenants. If a tenant doesn’t have a clean criminal record, his application will most likely be refused.

That said, expunging a person’s criminal record helps them avoid such situations and get better housing opportunities.

3. Emotional and Psychological Benefits

Peace of mind is perhaps the most important benefit of expunging a criminal record. Individuals no longer have to worry about legal issues or facing discrimination in the community because of their past.

To Sum Up

We hope you found this guide on how to expunge a misdemeanor in Texas helpful. We understand the process can be daunting at first, but it’s definitely worth it. 

Remember that expungement laws and requirements are quite complex. So it’s a good idea to hire a Conroe Expunctions Lawyer to guide you through the process and help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

If you need a prior criminal charge erased off your record in Houston, contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help. We also serve Harris County, Montgomery County, Houston County, Galveston County, Conroe County, and Fort Bend County.