If you have been convicted of a crime in Texas, you are feeling the stress of the situation and the consequences of such a conviction. There are, however, instances in which you may be able to conceal said conviction from potential employers and others who might conduct background checks. The mechanism involved is known as a nondisclosure order, and it – in effect – stops court officials from providing your criminal record to anyone performing a background check.
A nondisclosure order has obvious benefits for anyone convicted of a crime, including:
- It may allow you to obtain a job that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
- It may help you rent an apartment or house that you otherwise would not be able to rent (landlords can run background checks on potential renters).
- It can help preserve your reputation because you will not be required to reveal negative information about yourself.
Eligibility for Nondisclosure Orders
There are several requirements you must meet in order to reach the eligibility requirements of a nondisclosure order. Naturally, not all defendants meet these eligibility requirements, and some crimes are automatically out of the running for nondisclosure. In general, however, an order of nondisclosure requires a sentence of deferred adjudication probation and an agreement from the court.
Deferred Adjudication Probation
Deferred adjudication probation refers to when the court allows the defendant in question to demonstrate that he or she has learned from his or her mistakes (the crime in question). For example, the judge may order the sentence to be deferred or otherwise postponed until the defendant has had the opportunity to serve under court supervision. This often includes:
- Reporting to the supervision officer appointed to the case
- Attending required classes
- Performing community service for a specific number of hours
- Submitting to required drug tests
If the defendant is able to successfully accomplish the requirements put forth by the court, he or she may receive an order of nondisclosure – but, of course, the court must ultimately agree to the order. Even with such an order, however, there are instances in which your record can be accessed. For instance, school systems, government agencies, and financial institutions may be privy to the information within.
Nondisclosure Order vs. Expungement
Expungement is a court order that is similar to a nondisclosure order, but that has one critical distinction. The nondisclosure order serves to seal your criminal record, but an expungement will actually erase the charge from your record. While an expunged record is undiscoverable by anyone performing a background check, in certain situations, the charges sealed in a nondisclosure order can be accessed.