The Texas Judicial Branch defines orders of nondisclosure as when the court grants a request to seal a particular offense, preventing public entities from sharing information regarding that part of an individual's criminal record. These orders can be highly beneficial to people who have previously committed an offense and want to move on with their lives without others knowing about their past.
Learn about the process of gaining an order of nondisclosure in Texas and find out how a Texas criminal defense attorney from Jason English Law can be of assistance by calling (512) 454-7548.
What Are Nondisclosure Rules in Texas?
In Texas, nondisclosure orders stop the following entities from revealing a portion of a person's criminal record:
- Courts and clerks of courts
- Police and other law enforcement agencies
- Jails and alternative detention institutions
When someone gains one of these orders, they do not need to disclose details about the offense related to the order, and they can choose not to mention the offense on a tenancy or job application. However, these orders only apply to a specific offense as opposed to a person's entire record. Additionally, it could be possible to obtain several orders of nondisclosure to cover all an individual's offenses, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
What Are the Different Types of Orders of Nondisclosure?
Section 411 of the Government Code stipulates the nondisclosure order types classified by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), summarized below:
- 072: These orders concern nonviolent misdemeanors where the convicted individual undergoes deferred adjudication community supervision (DACS). DACS refers to deferred convictions where the convicted individual completes community supervision; after which, the court grants the individual a dismissal and discharge so long as the person adheres to the probationary period's terms.
- 0725: This section relates to specific misdemeanors not covered in the previous section and felonies involving the completion of DACS.
- 0726: Under this section are nondisclosure orders related to driving while intoxicated (DWI) misdemeanors where the convicted person completes DACS.
- 0727: Nondisclosure orders granted after completing a veteran treatment court program fall in this section.
- 0728: Trafficked individuals or those compelled into prostitution may obtain nondisclosure orders under this section.
- 0729: This section covers nondisclosures for veterans who complete a re-employment program.
- 073: Such orders relate to specific misdemeanor convictions whereby the convicted individual finishes a period of community supervision.
- 0731: Orders regarding certain DWI offenses where the convicted person completes community supervision fall under this section.
- 0735: This section concerns certain misdemeanor convictions not covered elsewhere in S411.
- 0736: These orders relate to specific DWI convictions not covered by previous sections.
Why Apply for a Nondisclosure Order Instead of an Expunction Order?
Why would someone choose to apply for a nondisclosure order vs. an expunction order? Unlike nondisclosure orders, expunction orders clear an individual's criminal history. However, the criteria for obtaining the latter are stricter than for an order of nondisclosure. For instance, those who have completed a period of probation cannot obtain an expunction order, whereas they could still acquire a nondisclosure order. Understand more about an order of nondisclosure in Texas and explore how a Texas criminal defense attorney can help with your legal issues by setting up a consultation with Jason English Law.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?
Each offense has its own waiting period to complete before it is possible to apply for a nondisclosure order. If the offense is a misdemeanor, only involving the payment of a fine, individuals can apply as soon as they complete their sentence. For other misdemeanor and felony convictions, this period is 2-5 years after the sentence completion date.
After this waiting period, obtaining a nondisclosure order in Texas usually takes between four and nine months. However, the exact time it takes depends on the case's circumstances, if the prosecutor decides to challenge the petition, and whether the county is busy during the filing period.
How Do I File a Nondisclosure in Texas?
The following steps outline how to obtain a nondisclosure order in Texas:
- Acquire a nondisclosure order form.
- Complete the documentation and file it with the same court that first heard the case.
- Wait for the court to arrange the hearing date or share details about how the applicant can organize one.
- Attend the hearing, prepared to face a possible objection from the prosecutor.
- Receive the order, provided the court decides to grant it; after the judge signs the order, the clerk shares it within two weeks with the DPS, and, within 10 days, they pass on this information to other government bodies.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Nondisclosure Orders?
Individuals must fulfill specific requirements to obtain a nondisclosure order in Texas. These include:
- Receiving a deferred adjudication, which refers to a plea deal where the accused individual obtains probation by submitting a no contest or guilty plea, and then the court dismisses the charges following the completion of the sentence
- Not having other ineligible criminal convictions
- Meeting the necessary waiting period conditions, which vary between offenses, and avoiding additional arrests throughout this time
What Offenses Are Not Eligible for Nondisclosure in Texas?
In Texas, the following offenses are not eligible for orders of nondisclosure:
- Capital murder
- Human trafficking
- Offenses resulting in sex offender registration
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Family violence offenses
- Offenses leading to the injury of an elderly individual, disabled person, or child
- Child endangerment or abandonment
- Protective order violations concerning stalking, family violence, sexual assault, or abuse
- Additional DWI convictions
How Much Does It Cost to File a Nondisclosure in Texas?
The filing fee for a nondisclosure order in Texas varies between counties. Typically, this costs a few hundred dollars. Those unable to afford this may submit an inability to afford payment statement to the court clerk to attempt to have these fees waived.
Do You Need Assistance Filing for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?
Criminal records often cause issues for individuals who want to get a new job, obtain a loan, or secure housing, which is why many people may seek a nondisclosure order. Obtaining these orders requires the completion of several lengthy documents, and you may wish to consider contacting a seasoned Texas criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate this legal process.