You may have a hard time finding a job, accessing housing, qualifying for loans, or face other “collateral consequences” of a criminal conviction in Texas.
Fortunately, you may be eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure if you were convicted of a qualifying crime and meet other requirements. If you want to determine if you are eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas, consult with a Waco criminal attorney.
What is an Order of Nondisclosure?
When people hear the term “an Order of Nondisclosure,” many of them think that it is the same as a “Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA).” However, these two terms have nothing in common other than the word “nondisclosure” in their names.
An Order of Nondisclosure is an order issued by the court that prohibits public entities, including law enforcement agencies, from disclosing certain criminal records. Essentially, the Order seals part of your criminal record.
When a court issues an Order of Nondisclosure, the following public entities are prohibited from disclosing or sharing sealed criminal records:
Law enforcement agencies
Jails and other detention facilities
Courts, including clerks of the court
Once your criminal records are sealed through an Order of Nondisclosure, public entities cannot disclose or share any information related to the sealed records.
In addition, you do not have to disclose criminal offenses sealed under the Order when applying for jobs. However, even though your criminal records are sealed, they may still be accessible to certain agencies.
An Order of Nondisclosure covers a particular criminal offense, not all of the offenses on your record. For this reason, if you wish to seal more than one offense, you will have to petition the court for multiple Orders of Nondisclosure.
What Are the Different Types of Orders of Nondisclosure in Texas?
In order to obtain an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas, you must submit a petition for the Order to the clerk of the court in which you were convicted. There are different types of Orders of Nondisclosure in Texas, and each of them comes with its own requirements. An experienced criminal attorney will ensure that you are using the right type of Order of Nondisclosure for your specific situation.
Let’s review the different types of Orders:
Deferred adjudication community supervision (DACS) for non-violent misdemeanors
DACS for felonies and misdemeanors
DACS for driving while intoxicated (DWI) misdemeanors
Community supervision after a conviction of misdemeanors
Community supervision after a conviction of DWI
Victims of trafficking of persons or compelling prostitution
A conviction of certain misdemeanors
A conviction of certain DWIs
Completion of Veteran’s Treatment Court Program
Non Disclosure for completing a Veteran’s Reemployment Program
Why You May NOT Be Eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas
You are not eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas if you have been (a) placed on deferred adjudication or (b) convicted of any of the following crimes:
Sexual assault and any other offenses that require registration as a sex offender
Human trafficking (trafficking and continuing trafficking of persons)
Offenses involving family violence
Violations of court orders issued for family violence, stalking, abuse, trafficking, or sexual assault
Abandoning or endangering a child
Causing injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person
In addition, you are not eligible to seal your criminal records through an Order of Nondisclosure if you are convicted or charged with any criminal offense during the waiting period required to file a petition for the Order.
What is the Waiting Period to Petition for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?
Texas law imposes a mandatory waiting period when petitioning the court to seal qualifying criminal offenses on your record through an Order of Nondisclosure.
Pursuant to Texas Government Code § 411.0726, you must wait two years after the dismissal and discharge of the criminal offense to file the petition for an Order of Nondisclosure. Let your attorney check if the mandatory waiting period has been met to proceed with filing the petition for an Order of Nondisclosure.
What Documents Do I Need to File a Petition for an Order of Nondisclosure?
When filing a petition for an Order of Nondisclosure, you must be able to produce the following documents:
Documentation related to the judgment in your criminal case;
Proof that your case was reduced to deferred adjudication period, confinement, or probation;
Proof of completion of deferred adjudication, confinement, or probation;
Proof that the criminal proceedings were dismissed and you were discharged; and
Proof showing that the judge set aside the verdict or the dismissal of a complaint, accusation, or indictment against you.
Your attorney will help you gather all the necessary documents to file a petition for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas.
What Happens After the Court Issues an Order of Nondisclosure?
Many people who are eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure do not understand what to expect after the court grants the Order.
Once the judge signs the Order, the clerk of the court will send a copy of the Order to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The copy will be forwarded to the DPS within 15 business days after the date the Order was issued.
When the DPS receives the copy of the Order of Nondisclosure, the department has ten business days to:
Seal the criminal offense that is subject to the Order; and
Send a copy of the Order to all public entities and agencies (both federal and state) listed in Texas Government Code § 411.075.
Contact a Waco Criminal Attorney to Get a Free Consultation
If you wish to seal parts of your criminal history and believe that you are eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas, contact an experienced attorney to assist you.At The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, our Waco criminal attorneys are committed to helping our clients get records of criminal convictions and arrests sealed. Call 254-501-4040 or contact us online for a free consultation.