Arrest records on an individual’s criminal history are not automatically removed or sealed when a case is dismissed; even if, they have successfully completed deferred adjudication probation. An arrest remains a matter of public record until you get an order granting an expunction OR an order granting non-disclosure from the court.
A person who has successfully completed deferred adjudication probation may (depending on the offense committed) be able to ask the judge to sign an “order of nondisclosure” sealing their case.
However, even though a record is sealed from public disclosure, some state and federal agencies may still have access to it. With that being said, it is always better to seal your case, than not seal your record, even if there are some agencies that still may have access to it.
Furthermore, in some instances you can apply to have your offense pardoned if more than 10 years has passed since you completed deferred probation, you have no other convictions, and not more than one other arrest. If the governor grants your pardon, then you can get your offense expunged which erases it completely. For more information, click here for our pardon services or click here to check out our new comprehensive guide that contains everything you need to apply for a Texas Pardon.
What is an Order of Nondisclosure?
Under Section 411.081(d) of the Texas Government Code, a court can issue an Order of Nondisclosure; which “seals” or prohibits criminal justice agencies from turning over information regarding the criminal offense to the general public, private employment screening comapanies, background search companies, credit reporting agencies, employers, landlords, and private investigators.
You can even deny the existence of the record. The only exception would be if one of the agencies that had still had access to the record was doing the background check, then you would have to disclose it.
Who is eligible for Texas Non Disclosure?
- You entered a plea of guilty or no contest; AND
- The Judge deferred further proceedings against you and placed you on deferred adjudication probation (probation without a finding of guilt); AND
- You have successfully completed your deferred probation; AND
- You meet any applicable waiting period after completing your probation.
Offenses that are Not Eligible to be Non-Disclosed:
There are some offenses that cannot be sealed by an order of nondisclosure, even if you have complete deferred probation and satisfied the applicable waiting period. These offenses include:
- 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;
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual;
- Abandoning or endangering a child;
- Stalking; and
- Violation of protective order or magistrate’s order.
Agencies that will still have access to your records:
Certain government agencies or entities will still have access to the information being “sealed” under the order of nondisclosure. These entities include the following:
- The State Board for Educator Certification;
- A school district, charter school, private school, regional education service center, commercial transportation company, or education shared service arrangement;
- The Texas Medical Board;
- The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
- The Board of Law Examiners;
- The State Bar of Texas;
- A district court regarding a petition for name change under Subchapter B, Chapter 45, Family Code;
- The Texas School for the Deaf;
- The Department of Family and Protective Services;
- The Texas Youth Commission;
- The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;
- The Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local mental retardation authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or retardation;
- The Texas Private Security Board;
- A municipal or volunteer fire department;
- The Texas Board of Nursing;
- A safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations;
- A public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district;
- The Texas Juvenile Probation Commission;
- The securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and mortgage lending commissioner, the consumer credit commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;
- The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;
- The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
- The Health and Human Services Commission;
- The Department of Aging and Disability Services;
- The Texas Education Agency;
- The Guardianship Certification Board;
- A county clerk’s office in relation to a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian under Chapter XIII, Texas Probate Code;
- The Department of Information Resources, but only regarding an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer who provides network security services under Chapter 2059 to the Department of Information Resources;
- The Department of Information Resources;
- A contractor or subcontractor of the Department of Information Resources;
- The Court Reporters Certification Board;
- The Texas Department of Insurance; and
- The Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
However, even though they have access to your criminal offense information, these government agencies or entities will no longer will able to legally release the information contained in your order of nondisclosure to members of the general public or to non-exempted employers who are trying to perform a background check on you.
Nondisclosure is not an automatic or simple process. You have to meet all the qualifications, present a Petition for Non-Disclosure to the Court, and a judge still has to approve the non-disclosure. The decision to grant the request is discretionary with the judge—meaning the Judge may not support your petition if it is not “in the best interest of justice”. The law in this area is complicated, so it is best to hire an attorney who has experience in this area to represent you to ensure your petition is granted.
Our team of experienced Texas Expungement and Non-Disclosure Attorneys have more than 30 years combined experience – we know the system. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you. At Hopping Law Group, PC, our attorneys can help you clear your Texas criminal record. We handle cases throughout the state of Texas. If you have any questions concerning whether you are eligible to have your Texas criminal record sealed, you free free to contact us or call us toll-free at (855) 773-4669 and speak with one of our Texas Non-Disclosure Attorneys for a FREE eligibility consultation.
John Hopping, Esq.