If you have successfully completed the process for a deferred adjudication in a misdemeanor or felony matter, you may be eligible for a Texas judicial Order of Nondisclosure. This process is normally quite faster than an expungement in Texas.
An Order of Nondisclosure is an order issued by the judge who authorized the deferred adjudication procedure in your case and prohibits the disclosure of certain information related to the offense. A judicial Order of Nondisclosure may be available to someone who does not have Texas expungement eligibility. It may also be an option when the Texas Department of Public Safety opposes an individual’s Texas expungement forms.
When is an Order of Nondisclosure available?
An Order of Nondisclosure does not apply to the following records:
- Posters, announcements or lists used for identifying or apprehending fugitives or wanted persons
- Public judicial, administrative or legislative proceeding records
- Published judicial opinions
- Court records of judicial proceedings
- Announcements of executive clemency
- Original records of entry, such as police blotters maintained by a criminal justice agency that are required by law or practice to be available to the public
What Do You Mean I Still Have to Clean My Record?
Deferred adjudication matters are those cases in which prosecutors offer the defendant a probationary period in which he or she must remain incident-free in exchange for a suspended prosecution. Normally, deferred adjudication is offered in exchange for a “no contest” plea in the matter. If you fail to remain incident-free during the probationary period, the suspended sentence will take effect and you will be punished as though you had pled guilty at the hearing.
A common misconception with a deferred adjudication procedure is that the matter is not part of your permanent record when you comply with the terms of the agreement and the charges are formally dismissed. Although that seems logical, the matter remains on your criminal record, available to the public. To remove the information from the public record, you must file to seal the information for each charge for which you accepted deferred adjudication.
Although your record does not show a criminal conviction in Texas following a deferred adjudication, the records of arrest and court action are still discoverable in a thorough public record background check. Unlike in a Texas expungement, these records continue to exist. Therefore, it is important to pursue an Order of Nondisclosure as soon as possible.
Charges that are Not Eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure
A majority of misdemeanor and felony charges are eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure. With most misdemeanors, there is no waiting period for filing a petition for the Order. For certain misdemeanors and most felonies, a certain waiting period applies.
Some charges are not eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure and may not be sealed under law. Such charges include, but are not limited to:
- Injury to a child or elderly or disabled person
- Abandoning or endangering a child
- Most sexual assault crimes
- Indecent acts with, or sexual performance by, a minor
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
- Unlawful restraint, kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping of a person under 17 years of age
- Crimes involving domestic violence
- Violation of a protective order
Call today to learn if you are eligible for filing for a Petition for Nondisclosure Order in Texas.
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The current legislative update (August 2012) is included in these forms.