Have you been arrested or convicted of a crime? Is the stigma of a criminal record making it hard for you to obtain employment or secure a residence? If so, under Texas law, you may eligible to have your criminal record sealed through an Order of Non-Disclosure or to have your arrest record Expunged.
Order of Non-Disclosure
An Order of Non-Disclosure is available to individuals that successfully complete a deferred adjudication.
Deferred Adjudication: is a type of community supervision where you plead guilty, but you are not found guilty upon successful completion of the deferred adjudication. Conditions of a deferred adjudication may include: community service, drug and educational classes, regular visits with a probation officer, etc.
If you successfully complete a deferred adjudication for a criminal offense classified as a Class B misdemeanor or above, you may be eligible for a Non-Disclosure. I specifically say that you may be eligible, because Orders of Non-Disclosure are not available to those receiving deferred adjudication for offenses such as:
2) sex crimes;
3) abandonment or endangerment of a child;
4) injury to a child, the elderly or disabled;
5) a violation of a protective order; and
6) stalking or crimes involving family violence.
Once an Order of Nondisclosure is granted, the Order prevents law enforcement agencies, jails, courts and other public information agencies from releasing your arrest information to private third parties. The Order does not prevent law enforcement agencies or courts from sharing the information with one another.
The only way to completely remove an arrest from your record is through an expunction. Expunctions apply to the arrest itself and are filed in civil court opposed to Orders for Non-Disclosure which are filed in criminal court. Expunctions are only available to individuals that have been arrested and their case has subsequently been dismissed. Unlike Non-Disclosures, you are not eligible for an expunction if you were punished by jail time or community supervision; your case must have been dismissed or pardoned to be eligible to have your arrest record expunged.
Please consult with an attorney before pursuing an expunction or non-disclosure to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the law and that your rights are being protected.