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What Is a Nondisclosure Order and How Do I Get One?


 

What is a nondisclosure order?

A nondisclosure order seals part of your criminal record. The order stops public entities, including courts, clerks of the court, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutorial offices, from sharing information about the sealed offense. If you have a nondisclosure order for an offense, you do not have to enter the offense on most job applications. 

There are exceptions. Certain state agencies may still obtain information concerning an offense that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure.

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

 

The law concerning nondisclosure orders changed on September 1, 2019.

Significant changes to the nondisclosure law went into effect September 1, 2019.  Two types of nondisclosure orders were added. The first expands DWI nondisclosures to allow for situations where the DWI was dismissed after completing deferred adjudication. The second adds a nondisclosure order for those who completed a veterans reemployment program as part of their probation.   

Types of nondisclosure orders available

To get a nondisclosure order, you must file your petition or application with the clerk of the court that handled your case. The clerk will make sure the judge and the prosecutor get a copy of your petition.

Each type of nondisclosure order has its own requirements and form. You must be sure to use the one that fits your situation. 

The types of nondisclosure orders are:

  • 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 411.0726, Government Code (deferred adjudication community supervision; certain Driving While Intoxicated 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 411.0729, Nondisclosures for completing a veterans reemployment program;
     
  • 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).  

If you are unsure what type of nondisclosure applies to you, try using the Fresh Start app. The app may be able to tell you what type record sealing or clearing you are eligible for.

 

Documents that you may need so you can ask for a nondisclosure order

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: 

  1. A copy of the judgment in your case;
  2. A signed order or document showing that the judge reduced your period of "deferred adjudication community supervision" (also just called “deferred adjudication”), community supervision (also called “probation”), or confinement, or granted an early termination of the same;
  3. A signed order or document showing that you successfully completed your deferred adjudication or probation;
  4. A signed order or judgment showing that the judge dismissed the proceedings and discharged you;
  5. 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
  6. 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.

Shared basic eligibility requirements for all nondisclosure orders

Although the requirements of each section are different, in order to be eligible for a nondisclosure order 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).

Exception: a nondisclosure order for completing a veterans reemployment program under Section 411.0729 does not have the below restrictions. If you meet the Section 411.0729 requirements, you are eligible to apply for a nondisclosure order.

If you cannot satisfy the below requirements, you are not eligible for a nondisclosure order unless you completed a veterans reemployment program. If you are not eligible, there is no need for you to request a nondisclosure order from the court because the court does not have the legal authority to grant an order of nondisclosure to you. 

How do I figure out which type of nondisclosure order I need?

Click here for the Fresh Start app, which can help you figure out what type of nondisclosure or expunction you may be eligible for. 

 

You can also click here for an article that can help you select the right type of nondisclosure for you. 

What happens after the court grants me a nondisclosure order?

If the court grants the nondisclosure order, the clerk will send a copy of the order to DPS. This should take place within 15 business days after the judge signs the order.

Then, within 10 business days, the DPS will seal the offense within its records and send a copy of the order to the required federal agencies. 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 nondisclosure order to private companies that may have your record on file. This is a free service.  

Where can I get forms for a nondisclosure order?

Each type of nondisclosure order has its own form. Once you decide which type of nondisclosure order applies to you, you can download the correct form from the TexasLawHelp page for that nondisclosure section or from the Texas Judidical Branch website.

Where can I get help for a nondisclosure order?

Use Legal Help Finder to search for legal help in your area.