If you are seeking an expungement for a past arrest, you may be able to pursue less costly and complex avenues of relief which can yield the same result. For example, in many cases you may simply seek to have your records sealed. While sealing your records is not technically an expungement in Texas, it prevents public agencies from disclosing your records under most circumstances.
Full Texas expungement judicial procedures, also called expunction of criminal history information, may be opposed by the Texas Department of Public Safety. In such cases, sealing your records through an Order of Nondisclosure takes significantly less effort and is normally not resisted as forcefully by the State. Moreover, sealing your records does not require the full gambit of Texas expungement forms and is generally more expeditious than pursuing a full expungement.
In some cases, a person who is not eligible for an expungement in Texas might still be able to pursue an Order of Nondisclosure. An Order of Nondisclosure is a legal document signed by a judge ordering all public agencies to no longer release information about the deferred adjudication punishment you successfully completed. In effect, you are rewarded for complying with the terms of your suspended punishment.
An Order of Nondisclosure offers several significant advantages as described below.
How a Texas Order of Nondisclosure Works
Under Texas Government Code Section 411.081, a person who has completed deferred adjudication community supervision may petition the same court which put that person on probation for an Order of Nondisclosure.
There are some important technical differences between an Order of Nondisclosure and a Texas expungement. While the deferred adjudication technically still exists on record, a fully enforceable court order prohibits all criminal justice entities from disclosing to members of the public offense-related criminal record history material.
An Order of Nondisclosure is not considered a full expungement because the records are not physically destroyed and certain disclosures are legally permissible. Under a full Texas expungment, the related records would not merely be prohibited from disclosure, they would no longer exist and therefore could not be disclosed.
Advantages of an Order of Nondisclosure
It is critically important to determine if an Order of Nondisclosure is the right process for your situation and set of circumstances. Information covered by such a legal order is generally accepted from required disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act. However, it is not a complete bar from disclosure of information; criminal justice organizations may release information covered by an Order of Nondisclosure to other criminal justice entities. They may also disclose this information to certain noncriminal justice agencies and to the person who the criminal history information concerns.
At Recordhelp.com, our legal department is available to answer any questions you may have about what organizations constitute the noncriminal justice agencies that may pertain to your case.
The Order of Nondisclosure procedure allows you to avoid the full procedure and costs of a Texas expungement. It can also provide an option when a full expungement is not permitted.
Get started in sealing your criminal records by filing for a Petition for Nondisclosure in Texas today.
The most current legislative update is included in our forms - August 2012.