How to Expunge or Seal a Juvenile Criminal Record in Texas

Mistakes made as a minor in Texas do not necessarily have to follow you the rest of your life. If you committed a crime as a juvenile, they are ways to expunge or seal your juvenile court record as if it never existed at all, but there are certain qualifications that must be met in order to do so.

In Texas, a juvenile criminal record can be sealed in two ways: (1) automatically restricted to everyone except criminal justice agencies; and (2) permanently sealed and concealed from all. The qualifications for each is as follows:

Automatic restriction

To qualify for automatic restriction, all of the following must be true:

  • You are at least 17 years old
  • You have not been classified as a violent or habitual offender
  • Your case was not transferred to an adult criminal court

Records related to criminal street gang activity or sex offenses do not qualify for automatic restriction. If you are convicted of a serious crime later, your record will be removed from automatic restriction.

Sealing a juvenile record

You can petition a court to permanently seal your juvenile record depending on the type of offense involved:

Misdemeanors — the court must seal your record if all the following are true:

  • At least two years have passed since your case was resolved
  • You have not been convicted of any other offenses
  • No charges are currently pending against you

Felonies — the court might seal your record if all the following are true:

  • You are at least 19 years old
  • Your case was not transferred to adult criminal court
  • Your record has not been used in the punishment phase of a criminal case
  • You have not committed another felony since you were 17

If you have completed a court-ordered drug program, the court may agree to seal your misdemeanor or felony record. If you were convicted of an offense related to the electronic transmission of material depicting a minor engaging sexual conduct and have completed a court-approved education program, your record may qualify for sealing.

Your record cannot be sealed if you have a sex offender registry record, have been classified as a habitual offender or your juvenile court sentence extended past the date you turned 18.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.

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