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Nondisclosure Orders in Texas
Having a criminal record follows you for the rest of your life. Even misdemeanor crimes can affect whether you are offered a job, approved to rent a home, or accepted into a college program. Fortunately, Texas law provides for an order of nondisclosure for certain crimes, sealing any aspect of the crime from the public’s eyes, with some exceptions.
An order of nondisclosure doesn’t erase a conviction from your criminal record, but it can seal the details of an eligible crime.
Difference Between Expunction and Nondisclosure
An expunction order removes the record of your arrest as if it never happened. You can legally say you were never arrested for that crime if it has been expunged. Under oath, you need only say that the matter was expunged.
Generally, a record can only be expunged if one of the following occurs:
- The charge was dismissed without action or dropped.
- You were acquitted at a trial.
- You were convicted but later found innocent.
- You were pardoned.
A nondisclosure order does not erase the arrest and crime from your record. Instead, the record is sealed and generally not shared with the public.
A nondisclosure order will keep the arrest and conviction from the following:
- Credit reporting agencies
- Private screening and background check companies
- Private investigators
- Most Employers
Attorney David Sloane can file petitions for expunctions and nondisclosures. Call (817) 349-7118 to see if you might be eligible.
Offenses that Qualify for Record Sealing
A crime may qualify for nondisclosure if you pled guilty or no contest to an offense and then successfully completed deferred adjudication community supervision (probation). A waiting period of up to five years may apply, depending on the crime.
Not all crimes are eligible for nondisclosure in Texas. Any offense that requires you to register as a sex offender is not eligible. Other ineligible crimes include domestic violence, aggravated kidnapping, murder, stalking, endangering a child, and trafficking of persons. In addition, if you have ever been convicted of one of these crimes, you will not be eligible to have nondisclosure awarded for another offense.
You also won’t qualify for nondisclosure of one crime if you are convicted of another (except a traffic ticket resulting in a fine only) during any required waiting period.
Permitless Carry Law Expands Expunction, Nondisclosure
Effective Sept. 1, 2021, Texas no longer requires its residents to obtain a license to open or conceal carry handguns as long as they are at least 21 years old and meet other legal requirements. House Bill 1927 specifically included a provision that allows for the possibility of expungement for those convicted of the offense before the new law went into effect. The Texas District & County Attorneys Association estimates about 130,000 Texans may be eligible.
Those not eligible to have their weapons charge expunged may qualify for an order of nondisclosure. If you want to erase or seal an unlawful carry conviction on your criminal record, call the Law Offices of David Sloane.
Steps to Obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure
Texas has two methods of obtaining a nondisclosure: automatic and petition.
- Automatic Nondisclosure: This method applies to first-time misdemeanors occurring after Sept. 1, 2015, that resulted in discharge or dismissal after completing deferred adjudication. There is no waiting period, and you don’t have to file a petition.
- Nondisclosure by Petition: A petition must be filed for any eligible offenses that don’t qualify for an automatic order.
For orders that require a petition, hiring an attorney to complete the filing may be critical to whether it is granted. Judges have discretion on whether they issue the order. They must believe that justice will be served by granting nondisclosure. Attorney David Sloane has the experience needed to present a strong argument in the petition.
After the petition is filed with the court that was involved with the original offense, a hearing may be scheduled. The state has 45 days from the time the petition is filed to schedule a hearing. You must attend the hearing. There are circumstances where no hearing is scheduled. The judge may choose to not hold a hearing if they determine you are eligible and that the order is in the best interest of justice.
Sealed Crimes Remain Visible to Specific Entities
Law enforcement, state licensing and regulatory agencies, schools, hospitals, and state, county, and municipal hiring authorities will still see crimes associated with the nondisclosure order. You can see a full listing of agencies that can receive information about a crime that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure at Sec. 411.0765 of the Government Code.
Outside of the entities that still have access to your sealed records, you may deny the existence of the arrest and prosecution. If you are under oath, you cannot deny the sealed crimes.
Rely on Experience to File Your Nondisclosure Petition
Unlike expunction cases where a judge has strict criteria to follow, judges have more latitude in deciding whether to award an order of nondisclosure. Even if the person and crime are potentially eligible, the judge must also be convinced that issuing the order serves the best interests of justice.
Call on Attorney Sloane to file your petition. His experience can help explain the specifics of your case and why the judge should find that the best interest of justice would be fulfilled with a nondisclosure order.
Schedule your free initial consultation by calling (817) 349-7118 or submitting our online form. We proudly serve clients throughout the state of Texas.
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