If Charges Are Dismissed Do You Have a Criminal Record?

Eric Torberson Law Office

Yes, an arrest is reported by the jail to the Texas Department of Public Safety records. Obviously charges have to be filed in order to be dismissed, which would happen at a later time after an arrest. Arrests, regardless of whether the case is filed, are a criminal record that can be searched for and found by a background check. Many people are under the impression that an expunction happens automatically. This is not the case.

Once My Case is Dismissed How Do I Get it Off My Record?

Article 55.01 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows for a person arrested for a misdemeanor or felony to have all the records and files relating to the arrest expunged if the person is acquitted in trial, pardoned, or the person is released and the charge, if any, has not resulted in a final conviction and is no longer pending and there was no court-ordered community supervision under Article 42.12 for the offense, unless the offense is a Class C misdemeanor.

Is There a Waiting Period Before Getting Arrest Expunged? What is the Texas Expunction Timeline?

Depending on the level of the charge the waiting period to be able to get an expunction can vary.

  • For a Class C misdemeanor, 180 days must elapse from the date of arrest for which the expunction is sought and no felony charge arises out of the arrest.
  • For a Class B or A misdemeanor, 1 year must elapse from the date of arrest and no felony charge arises out of the arrest
  • For a Felony charge, 3 years must elapse from the date of arrest.
  • The attorney for the state needs to certify that the applicable arrest records and files are not needed for use in any criminal investigation or prosecution including another person.
  • Or the charge was dismissed or quashed and the court finds the person completed a pretrial intervention program authorized by the Government Code 76.011 because the presentment had been made because of mistake, false information or similar reason indicating absence of probable cause at the time of the dismissal to believe the person committed the offense, or because the indictment or information was void.
  • Or the statute of limitations has expired.

How to Get My Criminal Record in Texas

You can check the Texas DPS website to order your criminal record online.

Can I Expunge a Deceased Relatives Criminal Record?

Yes, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 55.011 allows the Right of Close Relative to Seek Expunction on Behalf of Deceased Person. A close relative is is a grandparent, parent, spouse, or adult brother, sister, or child of a deceased person. A close relative of a deceased person is qualified if they would qualify is still alive.

What is the Process For an Expunction?

The defendant must provide notice to the state so that the trial court, if it is a district court, or the district court of the county may grant the order of expunction.

To file an expunction petition a person must file in the district court:

  • the petitioner was arrested
  • the offense alleged to have occurred
  • petition must be verified and include full name
  • sex
  • race
  • date of birth
  • driver’s license number
  • social security number
  • address at the time of the arrest
  • the offense charged
  • the date of the offense
  • the date of arrest
  • the county of arrest and municipality if the arrest occurred in municipality
  • the agency of arrest
  • case number and court of offense
  • and with the physical or email addresses of all:
  • law enforcement agencies, jail, magistrate, courts, prosecuting attorney, criminal records, other officials or agencies.
  • central federal depositories of criminal records that the petitioner has reason to believe have records or files that are subject to expunction; and
  • private entities that compile and disseminate for compensation criminal history record information that the petitioner has reason to believe have information related to records or files that are subject to expunction.

Text of subsection effective on January 01, 2019
(b) The order of expunction entered by the court shall have attached and incorporate by reference a copy of the judgment of acquittal and shall include:(1) the following information on the person who is the subject of the expunction order:

(A) full name;

(B) sex;

(C) race;

(D) date of birth;

(E) driver’s license number; and

(F) social security number;

(2) the offense charged against the person who is the subject of the expunction order;

(3) the date the person who is the subject of the expunction order was arrested;

(4) the case number and court of offense; and

(5) the tracking incident number (TRN) assigned to the individual incident of arrest under Article 66.251

(b)(1) by the Department of Public Safety.

(c) When the order of expunction is final, the clerk of the court shall send a certified copy of the order to the Crime Records Service of the Department of Public Safety and to each official or agency or other governmental entity of this state or of any political subdivision of this state named in the order. The certified copy of the order must be sent by secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission or otherwise by certified mail, return receipt requested. In sending the order to a governmental entity named in the order, the clerk may elect to substitute hand delivery for certified mail under this subsection, but the clerk must receive a receipt for that hand-delivered order.(c-1)

The Department of Public Safety shall notify any central federal depository of criminal records by any means, including secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission, of the order with an explanation of the effect of the order and a request that the depository, as appropriate, either:

(1) destroy or return to the court the records in possession of the depository that are subject to the order, including any information with respect to the order; or

(2) comply with Section 5(f) pertaining to information contained in records and files of a person entitled to expunction under Article 55.01(d).

What Happens When Someone Violates an Expunction Order?


Sec. 1. A person who acquires knowledge of an arrest while an officer or employee of the state or of any agency or other entity of the state or any political subdivision of the state and who knows of an order expunging the records and files relating to that arrest commits an offense if he knowingly releases, disseminates, or otherwise uses the records or files.

Sec. 2. A person who knowingly fails to return or to obliterate identifying portions of a record or file ordered expunged under this chapter commits an offense.

Sec. 3. An offense under this article is a Class B misdemeanor.

Texas Expungement Attorney

Call me to ask more questions. 512-340-7300 or visit this website https://www.erictorberson.com. I have many clients who I have had the privilege to do an expunction. I handled their case in such a way that they qualified to erase the arrest from their record forever and move on with life with a fresh start.

Author: Eric Torberson

Eric Torberson is a licensed attorney in Texas as well as licensed in the federal courts of the southern and western districts of Texas.