What Is It?
Non-Disclosure (Criminal Records Sealed)
Some criminal records in Texas can be sealed by a court under an Order of Nondisclosure. Once a criminal history record is sealed, the general public will not be able to view it. Under Texas law, criminal justice agencies will have access to sealed information, and they may disclose it only to you, other criminal justice agencies, or the licensing and employment entities specified in the law. That means that if you are applying for a job at a school, for example, a Texas law enforcement agency would be required to share your sealed record with your potential employer if it requests the information. (Texas Government Code §§ 411.076, 411.0765 (2018).)
Do You Qualify?
Eligibility To Have Criminal Record Non-Disclosed (Sealed)
Your criminal record may be eligible for sealing under an order of nondisclosure if you pled guilty or no contest to a crime and were placed on deferred adjudication community supervision, meaning that:
The Judge Deferred Proceedings Without Finding You Guilty
The Judge Placed You Under Cout Supervision
At The End Of Your Period Of Supervision Dismissed The Proceedings Against You
There is a five-year waiting period for felonies and a two-year waiting period for serious misdemeanors. (Texas Government Code §§ 411.0715, 411.0725)
Additionally, most misdemeanor convictions are eligible for sealing. If your punishment consisted of a fine only, there is no waiting period. Otherwise, you must wait two years after you have successfully completed your sentence to apply to have your record sealed. (Texas Government Code §§ 411.073, 411.0735)
However, some crimes are never eligible for sealing under an order of disclosure, including:
(See Texas Government Code § 411.074 for the full list of disqualifying crimes.)
- Any Crime That Requires You To Register As A Sex Offender
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Human Trafficking
- Child Endangerment or Abandonment
- Any Family Violence Crime
What To Expect
How Long Does It Take?
There's no reason you wouldn't want a damaging arrest off your record as quickly as possible. But the legal process involved in expunction and non-disclosure does take a little time. Calculating your waiting period is a fairly technical process. Using our first time DWI example, again, that person would have to wait either two years or five years to request a seal on their record, depending on whether or not they did probation with a “deep lung breath test device” (“ignition interlock”) for at least six months. Calculating your date of eligibility can be tricky even for experienced expungement attorneys.
A hearing appointment will usually take at least 30 days after a request, generally longer. If your petition is granted, agencies can take up to 12 months to destroy the records, but are much quicker to seal them. However, if you need an expunction or seal faster, then let us know and we will expedite the process.
Typically, you should expect an expunction to take 60-90 days before your record begins to clear up in background checks. Non-disclosure can be almost immediate, but some private companies may not update their records without being specifically informed of the order.
Getting your criminal record or writing a non-disclosure order can be a complicated and confusing process. But you can provide the best opportunity to get the date of your hearing as soon as possible by working with us.
Some individuals require an expunction or order of nondisclosure in order to better search for employment, get married, or do a number of important tasks, or repair credit. The sooner the legal process begins, the better chance an individual will have with returning to or getting on with their lives.