Just because a person has completed all legal proceedings around a criminal issue doesn’t mean the issues have disappeared. Law enforcement will still have records of the case and could disclose them if requested. This could damage an individual’s chances on many fronts, including securing housing or a job. An order of nondisclosure can make sure that information remains private. To obtain an order of nondisclosure, enlist the top Texas defense firm of Vinas and Graham.
What Precisely Is An Order Of Nondisclosure?
A nondisclosure could also be called sealing your criminal record. The records will still exist, but they will not appear in third party searches—like background checks. Per Texas law, it does not shield the records from law enforcement agencies and select employers. However, if an employer merely uses a standard background check, the records should not appear.
An order of nondisclosure is different from having your records expunged. That process destroys your records completely, and it is as if the charges never existed. Nothing will populate on background searches or to law enforcement agencies. A person with an expungement can technically tell employers and landlords that they have never been arrested.
Are There Any Instances That Do Not Qualify For An Order Of Nondisclosure?
There is a list of offenses that do not qualify for an order of nondisclosure. If your offense falls under one of these, a judge will not approve the order.
- Stalking charges
- Injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person
- Murder or capital murder charges
- Abandonment of or endangerment of a child
- Offenses that involved violence towards the family
- Offenses that have required the individual to register as a sex offender
- If an individual violated their bond or court orders on a case involving any of the following: child abuse, family violence, stalking, child neglect, human trafficking, sexual assault, and/or abuse.
Also, note that if you have a criminal record that already includes a charge(s) for any of these offenses, you will not be able to secure an order of nondisclosure for your current offense because of your past history. Additionally, an order of nondisclosure only covers the instance that you filed for, not your entire criminal history. This procedure would have to be repeated for each instance on your record.
What Are The Steps Required To Obtain An Order Of Nondisclosure?
To get an order of nondisclosure, there are a few steps you must take.
- You must be placed on deferred adjudication at your hearing. Deferred adjudication is a type of supervised probation. To receive this outcome, you must plead guilty at your proceeding, and your lawyer must ask the judge for this sentence.
- You must complete your period of adjudication successfully, and the judge must dismiss all charges and other issues attached to your case.
- Your case must not fall under any of the categories listed above.
- You must wait the required amount of time before filing your paperwork with the court. This could be anywhere from 2-5 years, depending upon the infraction.
- You must not receive any additional infractions during the time your paperwork is under consideration. This means that from the time you file until the judge approves it, you may not be charged with anything other than a “fine only” offense, like a traffic ticket.
Once you fulfill all these steps, a judge will consider your order for approval.
How To Petition The Court For An Order Of Nondisclosure
Once you have met all the filing requirements, you and your attorney can complete all necessary paperwork and send it to the county that your charges were in. A judge in that county will be the one to ensure that you meet all the qualifications and complete the order. Keep in mind a copy of this request goes to the State of Texas and the local district attorney’s office.
They have the right to challenge your order request. If the State or DA challenges your request order, you will have to appear at a hearing in that county. If there is no challenge from the State, a judge could still opt for a hearing on their own. But if neither of those things occurs, you won’t have to travel for your order to be approved.
Let Vinas & Graham Present Your Petition For An Order Of Nondisclosure
Matters of laws are constantly evolving. Trust your order of nondisclosure to Vinas & Graham. Our firm has the years of experience needed to navigate the process and bring you a positive outcome. Contact us today for your consultation and follow us on Facebook for updates on the latest legal news.