HOW TO GET AN ORDER OF NON DISCLOSURE IN TEXAS
It is an ongoing mistaken belief in Texas criminal law that upon successful completion of deferred adjudication, the criminal records of the "dismissed" criminal offense simply get sealed in Texas. Unfortunately, that is not true. There is actually a legal remedy provided by the law to "seal" offenses that have been "dismissed" after a deferred adjudication— it is all an order of non-disclosure, it is similar to expungement in Texas. You can take our online eligibility test too see if you are eligible for an order of non-disclosure.
WHAT IS AN ORDER OF NON DISCLOSURE IN TEXAS
An Order of Nondisclosure is the limited "sealing" in the Texas Government Code particularly Government Code ch. 411 subchapter E-1. http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.411.htm#E-1 It is the legal remedy to "seal" the records in Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Record Database for "dismissed" offenses after completing a deferred adjudication. The order is issued by a judge. The court then sends the order to all of the agencies listed on the order.
IS PETITION FOR EXPUNCTION THE SAME WITH THE ORDER OF NON DISCLOSURE
INo, they are two different legal remedies under Texas Criminal Law. For one, The Petition for Expunction can be found under Chapter 55 of the Texas Criminal Law. http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CR/htm/CR.55.htm
On the other, the Order of Non Disclosure is provided for under Government Code ch. 411 subchapter E-1. http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.411.htm#E-1. A Petition for Expunction "erases" or "destroys" a criminal record while An Order of Non Disclosure "seals" the records of an alleged offense from the general public while still allowing criminal justice agencies to retain their records and furnish these records to certain statutorily exempt entities. The two remedies are applicable in different scenarios. It would be most excellent to consult a lawyer to know what the best option for your case is.
Unlike expunction, which requires all criminal records related to the case to be physically destroyed by government agencies, an order of non-disclosure requires the government agency to not make the criminal records public; so the general public, private screening and background search companies, credit reporting agencies, employers, landlords, and private investigators, should no longer have access to those records— or even know they exist. But the information can still be seen by enforcement, state licensing and regulatory agencies, schools, hospitals and state, county and municipal hiring authorities.
You can deny under oath that an arrest occurred, and you can even deny the expunction itself. This is not always true for non-disclosure orders, where you have to disclose the existence of the records when testifying under oath.
DO I HAVE TO APPEAR IN COURT TO HAVE MY RECORD SEALED WITH AN ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE
Each court determines its rules or preferences about whether or not to require a petitioner to appear in court when requesting an order of non-disclosure. You can call the court and ask prior to filing. You can also hire an attorney, in which chase, the attorney can attend on your behalf. Even, if you choose to be represented by a lawyer in petition for an Order of Non Disclosure, there are some very instances that the Court will ask for you to appear.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF AN ORDER OF NON DISCLOSURE
The Texas Government Code provides that the proper Court can prohibit criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record related to offenses for which the individual was placed on deferred adjudication by issuing an order of nondisclosure. However, there are exceptions for which a lawyer with a commendable track record handling Non Disclosure Cases would be of great help. Offenses that involve family violence such as sex offender, murder, aggravated kidnapping, injury to a child, stalking are not covered for an Order of Non Disclosure. Furthermore, an individual may also be ineligible if he/she is convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any additional offense during the deferral period or any applicable waiting period save some exceptions provided by law.