Petition for Non-Disclosure

The most common way to seal your criminal record is by filing a Petition for Non-Disclosure. This petition is typically filed after a successful completion of deferred adjudication. Due to the fact that the process can be confusing and technical, it’s important to hire a lawyer to help guide you. Not only will hiring someone help expedite the process, it will also help you understand the law and how it applies to your case. The most important thing to understand is that taking a straight conviction on your record will exclude you from the group of people who are eligible to seal a record from the general public.

Non-Disclosure Eligibility

Under Section 411.081(d) Government Code, a court can prohibit criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to certain offenses for which the offender was placed on deferred adjudication. This process will result in a completely sealing your record.

After a lawyer files the non-disclosure, a hearing will be set in the same court of the crime charged 14 days from filing. The judge will hear the petition and will either sign the order granting the petition or deny it. If the order is signed, it will be sent to the Department of Public Safety that will then send the order to all:

  • Law enforcement agencies,
  • Jails or other detention facilities,
  • Magistrates,
  • Courts,
  • Prosecuting attorneys,
  • Correctional facilities,
  • Central state depositories of criminal records,
  • Other officials, agencies or entities of this state or of any political subdivision of this state, and to
  • Central federal depositories of criminal records that there is reason to believe have criminal history record information that is the subject of the order.

Those entities are obliged not to disclose the deferred adjudication record information to anyone other than:

  • Other criminal justice agencies;
  • For criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes;
  • An agency or entity listed in Section 411.081(i); and
  • The person who is the subject of the order.

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Your eligibility for a non-disclosure is solely based on the type of case you had and if you successfully completed deferred adjudication.

Deferred adjudication is a form of plea deal, where an individual pleads “guilty” or “No Contest” to criminal charges. In exchange for this plea, an individual must meet certain requirements within a particular time period set out by the court. Upon completion of the requirements, a formal conviction is avoided and the case gets dismissed. However, being placed on a deferred adjudication for certain crimes will not qualify you for a non-disclosure. Under Section 411.081(e)(1)-(4) Government Code, anyone who has ever committed any of the following offenses is not entitled to seek an order of nondisclosure:

  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Prohibited sexual conduct (incest)
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit any of the above offenses
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography
  • Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping of a person younger than 17 years of age
  • Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses
  • Capital murder
  • Murder
  • Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
  • Abandoning or endangering a child
  • Violation of protective order or magistrate’s order
  • Stalking
  • Any other offense involving family violence

A knowledgeable attorney should also inform you that there is a five year waiting period for all eligible felony cases, and a two year waiting period for many misdemeanor cases.

The most important advantage of sealing or erasing your record is that a signed order by the judge will secure your ability to withhold disclosure of a crime committed or being arrested for that crime.

For more information on Expunctions and Non-Disclosure call Gary Tabakman at 713-526-6300 or email at Gary@GTlawfirm.com.