Monday, October 13, 2008

Other Expunction Laws

Over the last several weeks we've looked at the process of expunging felony and misdemeanor criminal arrest records under Article 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP). There are other laws providing the right to expunge records under more limited conditions.  Let's examine them. 

Article 45.051 CCP provides for deferred adjudication in Class "C" misdemeanor cases. This article applies to cases filed in justice and municipal courts.  Upon the successful completion of these deferred adjudications, the statute also provides for dismissing the complaint and expungement under Article 55.01 CCP.  Even charges that include the operation of a motor vehicle (like minor driving under the influence) can be deferred and upon successful completion can be expunged under Article 55.01.  See Article 45.0511 CCP. 

For alcohol-related offenses under the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code (ABC), the code contains a provision for the expunction of convictions.  Article 106.12 ABC states that a person convicted of not more than one (1) violation under the ABC, upon attaining the age of 21 years, may apply to the court in which he was convicted to have the conviction expunged.  Any such application must contain the person's sworn statement he was not convicted of any violation other than the one he seeks to expunge.  The person is then released from all disabilities resulting from the conviction and the conviction may not be shown or made known for any purpose. Common types of offenses expungable under this section are DUIs, MIPs, and MICs.

Finally, under certain circumstances Article 58.003 of the Texas Family Code (FC) provides for the sealing of juvenile records.  If the juvenile was not adjudicated the sealing can occur immediately.  If there was an adjudication, there is a two-year waiting period during which no intervening convictions for a criminal case may occur.  In addition, for juvenile felonies, the person must first reach the age of 21 years, must not have had the case transferred to criminal court, nor can the records have been used as evidence in the punishment phase of a criminal trial.  Also, the person must not have been convicted of a felony after reaching the age of 17 years.   The FC also says the sealed records can eventually be destroyed if the records did not relate to a violation of a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by jail, the person is now at least 21 years old, and the person has not been convicted of a felony after becoming 17 years old. 

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