Order of Nondisclosure
Have you successfully completed "deferred adjudication probation" in Texas? If you think no one can find out about your criminal case - think again. Your case is a matter of public record, even if it was dismissed when you completed your probation.
As of September 1, 2003, an "Order of Nondisclosure" is a legal procedure through which, under certain circumstances, a court order can be obtained which prohibits governmental agencies from disclosing the existence of your case. This remedy is available for both misdemeanors and felonies.
MISDEMEANORS in most cases, you can petition the court for an order of nondisclosure IMMEDIATELY upon successful completion of your deferred adjudication probation. For certain crimes, a five year waiting period applies. These include:
Unlawful restraint or transport
Public lewdness or indecent exposure
Assaultive offenses (assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat)
Offenses against the family (e.g., harboring a runaway, bigamy)
Riot, obstructing a highway, cruelty to animals
Weapons offenses (e.g., unlawfully carrying a weapon)
FELONIES in most cases, you must wait ten years after successful completion of your deferred adjudication probation before you can petition the court for an order of nondisclosure. Certain offenses cannot be sealed with an order of nondisclosure:
Any offense requiring sex offender registration
Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
Abandoning or endangering a child
Violation of a protective order
Other family violence offenses (family violence is violence or the threat of violence against a relative or a current or former housemate)
WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW...
Even if your case has been dismissed by means of deferred adjudication probation, ANYONE who checks your criminal history will see that you have been charged with a crime, and that you entered either a "guilty" or "no contest" plea. Potential employers can easily access this information.
When you are arrested, numerous city, state, and federal agencies retain this information, regardless of the outcome of your case. If you are arrested in Travis County, these agencies may include the Travis County District Attorney's Office, City of Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff's Office, Travis County Personal Bonds, Travis County Jail, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the FBI.
Interested in obtaining an order of nondisclosure? Call 1-888-DISMISS (347-6477).
Each petition for an order of nondisclosure must be judged on its own merit. The judge will consider a number of factors when determining whether to grant any such request. Under Texas law, an order of nondisclosure cannot be obtained on an offense for which you have been convicted.