A felony conviction has consequences besides time in prison. Federal and state law imposes many restrictions on people who have been convicted of a felony, regardless on how long ago the conviction took place.
What are some restrictions after a felony?
People who have been formerly convicted of a felony will face some restrictions throughout their life. Texas and federal laws may affect a person with a felony conviction’s ability to:
- possess a firearm
- obtain some professional licenses
- obtain certain types of employment
- apply for grants and financial aid
- apply for public assistance programs
- lawfully reside in the United States
- travel internationally
Because many employers and landlords run criminal background checks, it can be more difficult to find a job or rent an apartment.
A more comprehensive list of Texas restrictions can be found in our Restrictions After a Felony Conviction guide. A number of federal laws are listed in the Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction article by Smith & Kramer. Other restrictions may also apply.
Is it possible to clear my criminal record?
Expunction completely removes an offense from a person's criminal records. Most felony convictions do not qualify for an expunction. The exceptions are listed in Article 55.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. They include situations when the person was:
- found innocent;
- pardoned; or
- convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon before September 1, 2021.
Orders of nondisclosure, which seal the criminal record from the public, may be granted for felony offenses only if the person was never convicted. This generally applies if the person completed a deferred adjudication program and the required period of time has passed. Texas laws governing orders of nondisclosure can be found in Chapter 411, Subchapter E-1 of the Texas Government Code.
Felony convictions do not qualify for orders of nondisclosure.
See our Expunctions and Nondisclosure Orders guide to learn more.
Where can I find assistance?
Individuals finishing their sentence might benefit from our Re-Entry Resources for Ex-Offenders guide. It answers common questions and provides resources for community assistance and support during reintegration.
The law can be complex, so you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking legal action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.
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