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Order of Nondisclosure

 

sealing your criminal history information throughout the state of texas

Many people who receive deferred adjudication probation believe that their criminal record is cleared, once their probation has been completed.  Unfortunately, this criminal history information is discoverable by anyone, including potential employers.  Though your case may have been dismissed when you completed probation, your arrest, the offense with which you were charged, and the fact that your were placed on deferred adjudication probation are all a matter of public record.  That is, unless you obtain an order of nondisclosure.

An order of nondisclosure is a legal remedy available to people who successfully complete deferred adjudication probation, in which a Texas court orders that your criminal history on a particular case be sealed from public view.  Once an order of nondisclosure is granted, your arrest record, and any other files associated with your case are destroyed, all computer records of the case are deleted, and you are no longer required to admit that you were arrested or charge with this offense when filling out job applications, looking for housing, etc.  By law, this criminal history information cannot be used against you once it is sealed.

Once an order of nondisclosure is granted by a Texas court, your criminal history arrest record information is sealed.  This criminal history information is removed from your criminal record, and no longer appears on government computers, once an order of nondisclosure is granted.  

At Berlof & Newton, P.C., we handle orders of nondisclosure throughout the State of Texas.  Not only do we represent order of nondisclosure clients in Dallas County, Collin County, Tarrant County, Denton County, Ellis County, Kaufman County, and Rockwall County, we also handle orders of nondisclosure in ALL TEXAS COUNTIES.  Why wait?  Call us now @ 214.827.2800, or use the contact form on this website, to find out if we can seal your Texas criminal case with an order of nondisclosure.

MISDEMEANORS- in some cases, you can petition the court for an order of nondisclosure immediately upon successful completion of your deferred adjudication probation. For certain crimes, a two year waiting period applies. These include:

Unlawful restraint or transport;
Public lewdness or indecent exposure;
Assaultive offenses (assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat);
Offenses against the family (e.g. harboring a runaway, bigamy);
Riot, obstructing a highway, cruelty to animals;
Weapons offenses (e.g. unlawfully carrying a weapon)

FELONIES- in most cases, you must wait five years after successful completion of your deferred adjudication probation before you can petition the court for an order of nondisclosure. Certain offenses cannot be sealed with an order of nondisclosure:

Any offense requiring sex offender registration;
Aggravated kidnapping;
Murder;
Capital murder;
Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual;
Abandoning or endangering a child;
Violation of a protective order;
Stalking; and
Other family violence offenses (family violence is violence or the threat of violence against a relative or a current or former housemate)

Even if your case has been dismissed by means of deferred adjudication probation, ANYONE who checks your criminal history will see that you have been charged with a crime, and that you entered either a "guilty" or "no contest" plea! Potential employers can easily access this information, unless an order of nondisclosure has been granted by the court.  Don't miss out on getting a job due to your criminal history information.  You may be able to seal your record with an order of nondisclosure, and get a fresh start.  Call now to find out if we can seal your Texas criminal history arrest record with an order of nondisclosure.  When you are arrested, various city, state, and federal agencies maintain this information, even if you successfully complete deferred adjudication probation and your case is dismissed. These agencies may include City Attorneys, District Attorneys, Police Departments, Sheriff's Offices, Bond Desks, County Jails, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the FBI.  In addition, the internet allows anyone with a computer to easily access your criminal record.  Many private companies make this information available for a nominal fee, and a number of counties provide this information online, at no cost.  For example, it is possible to view Dallas County case information simply by visiting their website and filling in the name of the person for whom you wish to search. 

If you'd like to search it yourself, click here.

 

statutory law

In Texas, orders of nondisclosure are governed, in part, by Section 411.081 of the Texas Government, which reads as follows.  Please know that this statute is included for reference purposes only. Other statutes and/or case law will, in all probability, apply to your situation.  You are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who handles orders of nondisclosure, rather than relying on your own interpretation of this statute.  Berlof & Newton, P.C. can help.  Call us today!  214.827.2800.

Texas Government Code, Sec. 411.081.  APPLICATION OF SUBCHAPTER. (a) This subchapter does not apply to criminal history record information that is contained in:

(1)  posters, announcements, or lists for identifying or apprehending fugitives or wanted persons;

(2)  original records of entry, including police blotters maintained by a criminal justice agency that are compiled chronologically and required by law or long-standing practice to be available to the public;

(3)  public judicial, administrative, or legislative proceedings;

(4)  court records of public judicial proceedings;

(5)  published judicial or administrative opinions; or

(6)  announcements of executive clemency.

(b)  This subchapter does not prohibit a criminal justice agency from disclosing to the public criminal history record information that is related to the offense for which a person is involved in the criminal justice system.

(c)  This subchapter does not prohibit a criminal justice agency from confirming previous criminal history record information to any person on specific inquiry about whether a named person was arrested, detained, indicted, or formally charged on a specified date, if the information disclosed is based on data excluded by Subsection (b).

(d)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, if a person is placed on deferred adjudication community supervision under Section 5, Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, subsequently receives a discharge and dismissal under Section 5(c), Article 42.12, and satisfies the requirements of Subsection (e), the person may petition the court that placed the defendant on deferred adjudication for an order of nondisclosure under this subsection.  Except as provided by Subsection (e), a person may petition the court under this subsection regardless of whether the person has been previously placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense.  After notice to the state and a hearing on whether the person is entitled to file the petition and issuance of the order is in the best interest of justice, the court shall issue an order prohibiting criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to the offense giving rise to the deferred adjudication.  A criminal justice agency may disclose criminal history record information that is the subject of the order only to other criminal justice agencies, for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes, an agency or entity listed in Subsection (i), or the person who is the subject of the order.  A person may petition the court that placed the person on deferred adjudication for an order of nondisclosure on payment of a $28 fee to the clerk of the court in addition to any other fee that generally applies to the filing of a civil petition.  The payment may be made only on or after:

(1)  the discharge and dismissal, if the offense for which the person was placed on deferred adjudication was a misdemeanor other than a misdemeanor described by Subdivision (2);

(2)  the second anniversary of the discharge and dismissal, if the offense for which the person was placed on deferred adjudication was a misdemeanor under Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, or 46, Penal Code; or

(3)  the fifth anniversary of the discharge and dismissal, if the offense for which the person was placed on deferred adjudication was a felony.

(e)  A person is entitled to petition the court under Subsection (d) only if during the period of the deferred adjudication community supervision for which the order of nondisclosure is requested and during the applicable period described by Subsection (d)(1), (2), or (3), as appropriate, the person is not convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision under Section 5, Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, for any offense other than an offense under the Transportation Code punishable by fine only.  A person is not entitled to petition the court under Subsection (d) if the person was placed on the deferred adjudication community supervision for or has been previously convicted or placed on any other deferred adjudication for:

(1)  an offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;

(2)  an offense under Section 20.04, Penal Code, regardless of whether the offense is a reportable conviction or adjudication for purposes of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;

(3)  an offense under Section 19.02, 19.03, 22.04, 22.041, 25.07, or 42.072, Penal Code; or

(4)  any other offense involving family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code.

(f)  For purposes of Subsection (d), a person is considered to have been placed on deferred adjudication community supervision if, regardless of the statutory authorization:

(1)  the person entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere;

(2)  the judge deferred further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and placed the person under the supervision of the court or an officer under the supervision of the court; and

(3)  at the end of the period of supervision the judge dismissed the proceedings and discharged the person.

(f-1)  In this subsection, "child" has the meaning assigned by Section 51.02, Family Code.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, on conviction of a child for a misdemeanor offense punishable by fine only that does not constitute conduct indicating a need for supervision under Section 51.03, Family Code, the convicting court shall immediately issue an order prohibiting criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to the offense.  A criminal justice agency may disclose criminal history record information that is the subject of the order only to other criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes, to an agency or entity listed in Subsection (j), or to the person who is the subject of the order.

(g)  Not later than the 15th business day after the date an order of nondisclosure is issued under this section, the clerk of the court shall send all relevant criminal history record information contained in the order or a copy of the order by certified mail, return receipt requested, or secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission to the Crime Records Service of the Department of Public Safety.

(1) Expired.

(2) Expired.

(3) Expired.

(g-1)  Not later than 10 business days after receipt of relevant criminal history record information contained in an order or a copy of an order under Subsection (g), the Department of Public Safety shall seal any criminal history record information maintained by the department that is the subject of the order.  The department shall also send all relevant criminal history record information contained in the order or a copy of the order by certified mail, return receipt requested, or secure electronic mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission to all:

(1)  law enforcement agencies, jails or other detention facilities, magistrates, courts, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities, central state depositories of criminal records, and other officials or agencies or other entities of this state or of any political subdivision of this state;

(2)  central federal depositories of criminal records that there is reason to believe have criminal history record information that is the subject of the order; and

(3)  private entities that purchase criminal history record information from the department or that otherwise are likely to have criminal history record information that is subject to the order.

(g-1a)  The director shall adopt rules regarding minimum standards for the security of secure electronic mail, electronic transmissions, and facsimile transmissions under Subsections (g) and (g-1).  In adopting rules under this subsection, the director shall consult with the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System.

(g-1b)  Not later than 30 business days after receipt of relevant criminal history record information contained in an order or a copy of an order from the Department of Public Safety under Subsection (g-1), an individual or entity described by Subsection (g-1)(1) shall seal any criminal history record information maintained by the individual or entity that is the subject of the order.

(g-1c)  The department may charge to a private entity that purchases criminal history record information from the department a fee in an amount sufficient to recover costs incurred by the department in providing relevant criminal history record information contained in an order or a copy of an order under Subsection (g-1)(3) to the entity.

(g-2)  A person whose criminal history record information has been sealed under this section is not required in any application for employment, information, or licensing to state that the person has been the subject of any criminal proceeding related to the information that is the subject of an order issued under this section.

(h)  The clerk of a court that collects a fee under Subsection (d) shall remit the fee to the comptroller not later than the last day of the month following the end of the calendar quarter in which the fee is collected, and the comptroller shall deposit the fee in the general revenue fund.  The Department of Public Safety shall submit a report to the legislature not later than December 1 of each even-numbered year that includes information on:

(1)  the number of petitions for nondisclosure and orders of nondisclosure received by the department in each of the previous two years;

(2)  the actions taken by the department with respect to the petitions and orders received;

(3)  the costs incurred by the department in taking those actions; and

(4)  the number of persons who are the subject of an order of nondisclosure and who became the subject of criminal charges for an offense committed after the order was issued.

If you need a Dallas County nondisclosure., call the Dallas County nondisclosure lawyers at Berlof & Newton, P.C.  Our Dallas nondisclosure attorneys can assist you with your order of nondisclosure not only in Dallas County, but also in Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Ellis, Rockwall, and Kaufman Counties, and all other counties throughout the State of Texas.  Call us now @ 214.827.2800 or use the contact form on this website.