If a court case against you was dismissed, it can be frustrating when it still shows up on your record and prevents you from moving on with your life. If you’re unable to get your case expunged completely, a worthy alternative is seeking an Order of Non-Disclosure. An Order of Non-Disclosure in the state of Texas prohibits certain criminal justice agencies from releasing records associated with your offense.
The records of your arrest cannot be viewed by the public, hence why non-disclosure is sometimes referred to as “sealing your record.” If granted non-disclosure, you would not have to acknowledge your arrest or court case when applying for employment or a lease, and the information would not show up on a background check. The records will be sealed but not physically destroyed. This is a good option for people who are not eligible for expunction, a process that effectively “erases” all or part of your criminal history. However, unlike expunction, the records may still be available to certain law enforcement and state licensing agencies that may hire individuals for safety-sensitive positions. For instance, your case may need to be disclosed if applying to work with children or the elderly.
Who is Eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure in Texas?
You are eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure if you have successfully completed deferred adjudication probation. Other requirements for eligibility include:
- You must have pled guilty or no contest, the judge deferred further proceedings against you and placed you on probation without a guilty verdict
- You have been successfully discharged from probation
- Your case has been dismissed
- You have made it through the statutory waiting period without being convicted of another offense
However, it’s important to note that certain offenses make you ineligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure. These offenses include aggravated kidnapping; murder; capital murder; family violence; stalking; crimes involving harm to a child, elderly person, or disabled individual; child abandonment or endangerment; or offenses that require registration as a sex offender.
How to Petition for Non-Disclosure
Once you have passed the waiting period (for misdemeanors, you may be able to begin the process immediately or after two years, depending on the nature of the offense; the waiting period for felonies is five years), the entire petitioning process usually takes anywhere from four to nine months, depending on the county. You will need to file a Petition for Non-Disclosure under the same criminal case number in the same court that heard the original case. If the court grants you the petition, the Order of Non-Disclosure is sent to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The Department of Public Safety then forwards the order to any public agencies and databases believed to have records of the offense.
Non-disclosure orders can be incredibly beneficial. They can make it easier for you to apply for a job, apartment, student loan, or housing assistance. If you are ineligible for expunction but are having trouble furthering yourself in life because of an old court case, it would be advantageous for you to look into seeking an Order of Non-Disclosure. To discuss how you can clear your record with the help of an experienced state and federal criminal offense attorney in Texas, call the law offices of Ramos and del Cueto in San Antonio at 210-212-9000.