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Non-Disclosure of Criminal Records

This website only contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Zariah A'londra Tax and Legal Services is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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What is an Order of Nondisclosure?

An order of nondisclosure is a court order prohibiting public entities such as courts and police departments from disclosing certain criminal records. If you have a criminal record, you may benefit from obtaining such an order. You are not required to disclose information related to an offense that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure. 


Non-disclosure of Criminal Records

Like expunctions, orders of non-disclosure can prevent the disclosure, from the general public, of the existence of a criminal record. Many entities, however, may still be able to access these records. There are two main differences between an expunction and an order of non-disclosure:


1. Like many things involving court proceedings, the granting or denial of a request for non-disclosure is within the judge’s discretion. This means that even if a person is eligible for non-disclosure, the court may choose to deny the request. While this may happen, it doesn’t happen often if the issues which may lead to denial are sufficiently addressed in advance.


2. While the order granting non-disclosure keeps the general public from seeing the record, many entities can still have access to those records. These entities include law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, schools, hospitals, and many state licensing agencies, including, but not limited to, the Texas Education Agency, Texas Board of Nursing, and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.


Please note that an order of nondisclosure applies to a particular criminal offense. The order does not apply to all offenses that may be on your criminal history record, but you may obtain multiple orders of nondisclosure for multiple offenses. 


As mentioned above, an order of nondisclosure prohibits entities holding information about a certain offense on your criminal history record from disclosing that information. This is a general rule. There are exceptions. Certain state agencies may still obtain information concerning an offense that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure. 

*Note. The information obtained below is for the State of Texas. Please call or submit a request below for information related to your specific situation in your state.


Here is an overview of nondisclosures in Texas. 

The law concerning Orders of Nondisclosure changed effective September 1, 2017.

Significant changes to the nondisclosure law went into effect on September 1, 2017. These changes altered the previous changes that went into effect on September 1, 2015, and expand eligibility for nondisclosure. The biggest change is that the rules now apply to all cases regardless of when the offense occurred (subject to one exception explained below). 


The rules related to nondisclosure for deferred adjudication cases essentially remained unchanged. There is one exception for misdemeanor deferred adjudication cases that were discharged and dismissed AFTER September 1, 2017. Furthermore, new sections were added allowing for nondisclosure of certain misdemeanor convictions, including Driving While Intoxicated convictions. 


You are ONLY eligible for an order of nondisclosure under Section 411.0735 of the Texas Government Code if:

  • You were convicted of a misdemeanor offense.
  • A conviction for a misdemeanor includes any sentence imposing conditions, imprisonment, fines, costs, or restitution.
  • The offense was not an operating while intoxicated offense or organized crime offense.
  • Information on nondisclosure for certain Driving While Intoxicated offenses can be found here.
  • The offense was not violent or sexual in nature. A conviction for simple assault is not considered violent for purposes of this requirement.
  • A conviction for simple assault under Section 22.01, Penal Code, IS eligible for nondisclosure
  • You complied with all terms of your sentence, including any term of confinement imposed and payment of all fines, costs and restitution.
  • You must have never been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense, other than a traffic offense punishable by fine only. 

Waiting Period - IMPORTANT!!

You are eligible to file a petition for an order of nondisclosure under Section 411.0735 accordingly:

  • On or after the date you completed your sentence if the offense was a misdemeanor punishable by fine only (Fine only misdemeanors are Class C misdemeanors), or;
  • On or after the second anniversary of the date you completed your sentence for all other misdemeanor convictions. 

Obtaining a nondisclosure under Section 411.0735 - Procedure

In order to obtain an order of nondisclosure if you are eligible, you must file a petition. The form and instructions for obtaining an order of the following Non-Disclosure Kits are available upon purchase:

  • Nondisclosure - Procedure for Conviction for Certain Misdemeanors - Under Section 411.0735
  • Nondisclosure - Procedure for Deferred Adjudication - for Felonies and Certain Misdemeanors - Under Section 411.0725
  • Nondisclosure - Procedure for Certain Victims of Trafficking of Persons - Under Section 411.0728
  • Nondisclosure - Procedure for Community Supervision Following Conviction for Certain Misdemeanors - Under section 411.073

Click here to purchase YOUR Non-Disclosure of Criminal Records Kit.

A nondisclosure petition is always filed into the court where your original case was heard.

  • You will have to pay the filing fee or submit a Statement of Inability to Afford Costs.  Call for more details if you cannot pay them.  
  • The filing fee must be paid at the time you file the petition.*
  • You do not have to pay the clerk to notify the prosecutor of your petition.
  • Under Section 411.0745(e), Government Code, the court must notify the prosecutor.
  • You will have to attend a hearing setting. The court will give you your hearing date or tell you how to obtain a hearing set with the court.
  • You may have to contact the court to request a hearing.

The prosecutor has the opportunity to respond to your petition with either an objection or non-objection. You MUST make arrangements to attend the hearing setting. 


Additionally, if the court issues an order of nondisclosure, you do not have to pay the clerk to notify law enforcement.

Under Section 411.075, Government Code, the clerk must notify the Crime Records Service Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety (hereinafter “DPS”) of the order of nondisclosure, and DPS must notify the law enforcement agencies and entities listed in the statute.


**Complete Instructions are available with the purchase of your Non-Disclosure of Criminal Records Kit.

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Eligibility

Under most circumstances, a person is eligible for non-disclosure only after successfully completing a period of deferred adjudication community supervision and the expiration of the appropriate waiting period (up to five years in some cases). However, some exceptions exist. A person is not eligible for non-disclosure if he or she has ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for an offense of kidnapping, murder, injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person, was a violation of a protective order, an offense involving family violence, or if the offense required registration as a sex offender.


Requesting a Non-disclosure

The process of requesting a non-disclosure is fairly simple. The first step is filing a petition in the same court with which the criminal charge was filed. You can obtain these documents in our Non-Disclosure of Criminal Records Kit. Click here to purchase

This includes a filing fee of around $250-300, which may vary from county to county. *Note our firm may be able to assist you with your filing fees. Please call or submit a request below for additional information.


Once the petition has been filed and the district attorney’s office has notice of the petition, you can set the matter for hearing. Generally, this hearing will take place within a few weeks of the petition being filed. At the hearing, you would need to show to the court that you are eligible for non-disclosure and that non-disclosure of your records would be “in the best interest of justice.”

Some factors that may influence the judge’s decision are:

  1. Whether the person successfully complied with all of the conditions of community supervision (which may include the payment of all fees and completion of community service hours or any court-ordered classes), 
  2. The amount of time that has elapsed since community supervision ended, 
  3. the overall criminal history,
  4. the facts in the underlying cause, and 
  5. any effect that not sealing the records might have on the person in the future. Having an attorney argue your case on your behalf can be a big advantage at this hearing.

If the judge finds that you are eligible and that non-disclosure would be in the best interest of justice, the judge will sign the order of non-disclosure. From the date the order is signed, it may take 3-5 weeks for the records to actually be sealed from the general public.


Contact Us for additional information.

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If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding this subject matter please seek the advice of an legal attorney. Our firm regularly works with attorneys so that we may offer you the best service possible. Please submit your concerns and someone will contact you shortly.


We look forward to working with you soon. Thank you for choosing Zariah A'londra Tax & Legal Services.


This website only contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Zariah A'londra Tax and Legal Services is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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