Overview of Orders of Nondisclosure
An order of nondisclosure is a court order prohibiting public entities, including courts, clerks of the court, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutorial offices, from disclosing certain criminal records.
If you have a criminal record, you may benefit from obtaining an order of nondisclosure.
An order of nondisclosure legally frees you from disclosing information about your criminal history in response to questions on job applications. You are not required to disclose information related to an offense that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure.
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.
Significant changes to the nondisclosure law went into effect September 1, 2017. These changes altered the previous changes that went into effect 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.
- Section 411.072, Government Code (deferred adjudication community supervision; certain nonviolent misdemeanors);
- This section only applies to misdemeanor deferred adjudication cases where the defendant received a discharge and dismissal AFTER September 1, 2017. If your misdemeanor deferred adjudication case was dismissed BEFORE September 1, 2017, the case would fall under the following section, Section 411.0725.
- Section 411.0725, Government Code (deferred adjudication community supervision; felonies and certain misdemeanors);
- Section 411.0727, Government Code (successful completion of Veteran’s Treatment Court Program);
- Section 411.0728, Government Code (victims of trafficking of persons);
- Section 411.073, Government Code (community supervision following conviction; certain misdemeanors); and
- Section 411.0731, Government Code (community supervision following conviction; certain Driving While Intoxicated convictions);
- Section 411.0735, Government Code (conviction ; certain misdemeanors).
- Section 411.0736, Government Code (conviction; certain Driving While Intoxicated convictions).
Each of the sections listed above provides specific procedures and requirements that you must meet in order to obtain an order of nondisclosure under that particular section. The procedures and requirements for each section are different. You must determine which section is the correct section for you to use in requesting your order of nondisclosure.
WHEN A PETITION IS REQUIRED, YOU MUST FILE IT WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT (HEREINAFTER “CLERK”) THAT PLACED YOU ON DEFERRED ADJUDICATION COMMUNITY SUPERVISION OR COMMUNITY SUPERVISION, OR ENTERED YOUR CONVICTION AND IMPOSED YOUR SENTENCE. THE CLERK WILL SEND THE PETITION TO THE JUDGE, AND EITHER THE JUDGE OR THE CLERK WILL SEND A COPY OF THE PETITION TO THE PROSECUTOR.
You may need one or more of the following documents, depending on your case, to help determine if you are eligible for an order of nondisclosure:
- A copy of the judgment in your case;
- A signed order or document showing that the judge reduced your period of deferred adjudication community supervision (hereinafter “deferred adjudication”), community supervision (hereinafter “probation”), or confinement or granted an early termination of the same
- A signed order or document showing that you successfully completed your deferred adjudication or probation;
- A signed order or judgment showing that the judge dismissed the proceedings and discharged you;
- A signed order showing that the judge set aside the verdict in your case or permitted you to withdraw your plea and dismissed the accusation, complaint, information, or indictment against you in accordance with Section 20(a), Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure; and
- A signed order or judgment reflecting any affirmative findings made by the judge, including any finding that it is not in the best interest of justice for you to receive an automatic order of nondisclosure, any finding having to do with family violence, and any finding that requires you to register as a sex offender.
Although the requirements of each section are different, in order to be eligible for an order of nondisclosure under any of them, you MUST first satisfy the basic requirements of Section 411.074, Government Code. There are three basic requirements under Section 411.074 (see bulleted information below).
IF YOU CANNOT SATISFY THESE REQUIREMENTS, YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR AN ORDER OF NONDISCLOSURE, and there is no need for you to request an order of nondisclosure from the court because the court does not have the legal authority to grant an order of nondisclosure to you.
- You are not eligible for an order of nondisclosure if the offense for which you are requesting an order of nondisclosure or any other offense you have ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for was one of the following offenses:
- An offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;
- An offense under Texas Penal Code Section 20.04 (aggravated kidnapping);
- An offense under any of the following Texas Penal Code Sections
- 19.02 (murder);
- 19.03 (capital murder);
- 20A.02 (trafficking of persons);
- 20A.03 (continuous trafficking of persons);
- 22.04 (injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual);
- 22.041 (abandoning or endangering a child);
- 25.07 (violation of court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case);
- 25.072 (repeated violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case); or
- 42.072 (stalking);
- Any other offense involving family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code.
- You are not eligible for an order of nondisclosure if the court makes an affirmative finding that the offense for which you are requesting an order of nondisclosure involved family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code.
- You are not eligible for an order of nondisclosure if, during the period after you were convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for the offense for which you are requesting an order of nondisclosure, and during any required waiting period after completion of the sentence or deferred adjudication (see Note below), you were convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense other than an offense under the Transportation Code punishable by fine only.
- Note: There are waiting periods prior to being eligible for some of the orders of nondisclosure. After determining which nondisclosure law applies to you, confirm that you have not been convicted of any other offense other than an offense under the Transportation Code punishable by fine only during the waiting period.
If the court grants the order of nondisclosure, not later than 15 business days after the date the order of nondisclosure issues, the clerk will send all relevant criminal history record information contained in the order or a copy of the order to DPS. Then, not later than 10 business days after the date DPS receives the relevant criminal history record information or the copy of the order, DPS will seal any criminal history record information maintained by DPS that is the subject of the order and send the relevant criminal history record information or a copy of the order to all state and federal agencies listed in 411.075(b), Government Code. See Section 411.075(b) for a complete list of agencies and entities that DPS must notify.
You can also contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice at www.continuingjustice.org and ask them to send copies of the Order to private companies that may have your record on file. This is a free service.