Record Sealing: Non-Disclosures

You should not let your past mistakes get in the way of having a successful future.  A criminal background check can limit your future employment possibilities, obtaining a loan, a job, an apartment, etc.  The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC, can help you seal your records so you can proceed on with your life by helping put your past behind you. Our office is dedicated to resolving cases in a way that helps allows our clients to significantly minimize the damage caused by past criminal cases.  It is our goal in every Non-Disclosure case we handle to effectively "seal" the records from public view, thereby eliminating the avenue with which most agencies can obtain and view your past criminal record.  It basically "seals" the record from public view.

What is an Order of Non-Disclosure?

An Order of Non-Disclosure is an order from the court requiring that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) seal all criminal records related to a past criminal offense where Deferred Adjudication Probation was successfully completed.  An Order of Non-Disclosure is authorized pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 411.081. Following the granting of an Order of Non-Disclosure, the past criminal records can only be disclosed to you, or to a criminal justice agency (only government entities would have access).  This is most used in relation to when someone may get prosecuted again for another crime in the future.  The DA's Office would most likley be able to see how you successfully completed Deferred Adjudication Probation on criminal history when evaluating your background.

Non-Disclosure vs. Expunction

An Order of Non-Disclosure will effectively seal your records from being disclosed to the general public.  People most commonly seek this for employment reasons. The records regarding your offense are not destroyed entirely.  However, an Order of Non-Disclosure would prevent a private group selling background information from distributing that information to public.  Moreover, in most circumstances, this Order does allow you to deny the occurrence of the arrest and prosecution when directly asked (by an employer for example). Unlike an expunction, the records subject to the Non-Disclosure can be used against an individual in a future criminal proceedings. Our office always recommends obtaining an expunction if you are eligible under the law.  However, an Order of Non-Disclosure  provides protection to many of those who are not eligible for an expunction who still want their records sealed.  In most circumstances, it accomplishes the same thing needed for most individuals seeking to get their record sealed, and that is for job-related employer background searches.

Eligibility of an Order of Non-Disclosure

In order to be eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure you must have successfully completed Deferred Adjudication Probation for the offense charge.  This would ultimately amount to a dismissal of your case once the probationary period ends.  The majority of misdemeanor cases are eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure immediately upon successful completion of the Deferred Adjudication Probation. However, some misdemeanor cases require a waiting period after the dismissal has been issued.  Offenses requiring a waiting period include: unlawful restraint, public lewdness, indecent exposure, assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, disorderly conduct, harassment, unlawful carrying of a firearm, obstructing highway or other passageway, interference with emergency telephone call, stalking, and bigamy.  During the waiting period, the applicant must not be charged and convicted for anything other than a citation for a traffic offense.  Moreover, all felony cases require a waiting period of at least five years after the dismissal has been issued. Please contact The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC, to see if you are eligible.

Who is Not Eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure?

Not all individuals who successfully complete a Deferred Adjudication Probation are eligible to obtain an Order of Non-Disclosure. The following are situations for those who would not be eligible:

Someone convicted or placed on Deferred Adjudication for an offense requiring registration as a sex offender;

• Someone convicted or placed on Deferred Adjudication for an aggravated kidnapping;

• Someone convicted or placed on Deferred Adjudication for murder or capital murder;

• Someone convicted or placed on Deferred Adjudication for injury to a child/elderly/disabled individual

• Someone convicted or placed on Deferred Adjudication for stalking

• Someone convicted or placed on Deferred aAdjudication for abandoning or endangering a child;

• Someone convicted or placed on Deferred Adjudication for violations of a protective order or magistrate’s order, or any offense involving family violence.

What is the process to obtain an Order of Non-Disclosure?

The first step would be to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to review your records to determine if you are eligibile for an Order of Non-Disclosure.  Once our office determines your eligibility, we can then file a Petition for Non-Disclosure with the Court where your criminal offense was originally filed.  Once this Petition for Non-Disclosure is filed, a court date will be set and the District Attorney's Office will have a chance to review the filing and either approve or deny the petition.  If the District Attorney's Office objects to the Petition of Non-Disclosure they can only do so at a scheduled hearing.  Ultimately it is within the discretion of the Judge of the Court.  If the court grants the Order of Non-Disclosure, then any information subject to the Order is removed from public information databases and records. However, government agencies still will be able to access the information, including, and especially, all law enforcement agencies.  The process for obtaining and enforcing an Order of Non-Disclosure takes approximately 60 days to complete after it is approved.

What is the effect of an Order of Non-Disclosure?

The individual may deny the existence of the arrest and prosecution to which otherwise public information relates, unless it is being used against her/him in a subsequent prosecution. Texas Government Code, Section 552.142. What this basically means is that a person can deny the very occurrence of the case, unless they are testifying at a trial and then would have to admit they successfully completed deferred adjudication (and subsequently had their record sealed). While not an expunction technically, this still is a very effective technique for having records sealed.