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How to Ask for a Nondisclosure Order - Seal Your Criminal Record

Adult Criminal Records

Make your Texas criminal record private with a nondisclosure order.
Overview

Guide Overview

This guide helps you seal your criminal record in Texas. To learn the difference between clearing and sealing, see Expunctions vs. Nondisclosures in Texas

There are many different types of nondisclosure orders, and each must be requested under its own specific statute. Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide for help deciding which type you may qualify for.

If your offense was in Harris County, see Clear Your Record Harris County from The Beacon.

Research Tips

Read about nondisclosures vs. expunctions in Texas. Expunctions offer stronger protection against people viewing your criminal history, but it is harder to qualify.

Learn about the different types of nondisclosure orders.

Common questions about Adult Criminal Records

A nondisclosure order hides your criminal record from public view. Those holding your criminal records, such as the court, are not allowed to show it to anyone not authorized to view it by law.

Under most circumstances, a nondisclosure order also allows you to deny the offense or arrest took place. This includes when you apply for jobs, housing, loans, school, licenses, etc.

Be aware, though, that law enforcement, the federal government, and most professional licensing entities can still view your sealed record. You must also disclose the offense if asked in any future criminal proceeding.

No. A nondisclosure order applies to a single offense only. To seal more than one offense, request a nondisclosure order for each.

There are many types of nondisclosure orders. Each type of nondisclosure order has its own requirements. Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to learn what type of nondisclosure order may apply to your situation.

Law enforcement and the federal government can view your sealed record. Many professional licensing organizations can view your record as well, including:

While some entities can view sealed records, nondisclosure orders still provide significant protections. For example, they keep your sealed information private from landlords, schools, lenders, and non-listed employers.

In most cases, yes. You can deny the offense except in future criminal proceedings. However, be aware that law enforcement, the federal government, and many professional licensing entities can still view your sealed records. You can always choose to admit that an offense took place if you think it is appropriate.

Expunction completely removes your offense from your record That makes it unviewable in almost all cases. This is different from a nondisclosure order. A nondisclosure order only seals your record from unauthorized viewers. 

Expunction options are more limited. See the Expunction Guide for more information.

Many types of nondisclosure orders require you to complete community supervision. There are two types of community supervision.

  • Community Supervision: This is commonly referred to as probation. The court convicts you and makes you meet certain conditions as part of your punishment. You may have to meet with a probation officer, pass drug tests, perform community service, avoid legal trouble for a set amount of time, etc. This differs from deferred adjudication community supervision in that it takes place after a conviction.
  • Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision: This term is commonly shortened to just "deferred adjudication." It resembles regular community supervision except it takes place instead of a conviction. If you meet all conditions, your case is dismissed and you never receive a conviction.

The Department of Public Safety will send a copy of your nondisclosure order to a number of agencies so that they know to keep your records sealed. However, DPS may fail to send a copy to every agency that has your information. Agencies that do not get a copy of the order will not know to seal your records.

This means you need to list every agency that you interacted during your case. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Community Justice Assistance Division
  • Office of Court Administration - E-File Division
  • The law enforcement office that arrested you
  • The sheriff's office of any county where you were in jail
  • Prosecuting Agency - (County Attorney, District Attorney, contract prosecutors as applicable)
  • Clerk of any court involved in your case, other than the one where you file your petition
  • Magistrate that oversaw your arraignment
  • Any agency or individual who issued a warrant, such as a constable if a bond was forfeited
  • Personal Services Office if the case involved a personal bond
  • City or County Counseling Services
  • Treasurer of the county or municipality where your case was heard
  • School administration, if your offense involved campus police
  • Probation offices
  • Community service coordinators
  • Tobacco Alcoholic Beverage Commission if an ID or alcohol-related crime
  • State Office of Administrative Hearings for DWIs
  • The information technology or record-keeping departments for any of these agencies
  • Any private data-trading companies you know have your info

The list of agencies you need to list can vary greatly depending on the nature and location of your offense. If you fail to list an agency, you may need to get another nondisclosure order that includes it.

Nondisclosure orders have no impact on news media. You may try asking them to remove references to your offense, but they do not have to do so.

Sealing or clearing a criminal record can be complicated. It is a good idea to have an attorney help you if possible. Limited scope representation is one way to help make hiring an attorney more affordable.

Instructions & Forms

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.072 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

Once your case is discharged and dismissed, you can file for a nondisclosure order 180 days after you were placed on deferred adjudication. (That is 180 days after you started deferred adjudication, not when you completed it.)

If your case was not dismissed until after the 180 days, you can seal your record at the time of dismissal.

You must give the court evidence to show that you are eligible under 411.072. You can do this by filling out the form letter. If possible, also attach your order of deferred adjudication along with your dismissal and discharge documents.

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the letter and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that dismissed your case after you completed deferred adjudication. There is a $28.00 fee. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing. Not all judges require one.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The judge will review your criminal history and decide if you qualify to seal the offense under section 411.072. If the judge decides you qualify, they must issue a nondisclosure order.

The nondisclosure order then goes to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

Forms Required

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0725 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

Felony offenses

If the offense is a felony, you must wait five years after your dismissal and discharge to file.

Misdemeanor offenses

You must wait two years after your dismissal and discharge for the following misdemeanor offenses:

For all other misdemeanors, there is no waiting period. You may file as soon as the court dismisses and discharges your case.

Complete the petition. If possible, attach the following:

  • a copy of your discharge and dismissal
  • a list of all your convictions and deferred adjudications, with dates for each.

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that placed you on deferred adjudication. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the filing fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0725. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

Forms Required

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0726 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

You must wait two years after your case is discharged and dismissed for file.

Complete the petition. "Proof" can mean different things in different courts, but in general you must attach certified copies of the following:

  • Your judgment order (order of deferred adjudication)
  • Your dismissal and discharge order
  • Department of Public Safety criminal history from Identogo
  • Your indictment or "information" document (formal criminal charge document)

The court that charged you can give you a certified copy of your information. The court that gave you deferred adjudication can give you a certified copy of your judgment order. The court that finalized your case can give you a certified copy of your dismissal and discharge order. These may or may not all be the same court.

You can get a certified copy of your criminal history from the Department of Public Safety.

There will likely be a fee for each certified document.

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms:

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that placed you on deferred adjudication. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0726. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

Forms Required

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0727 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

You must wait two years after completing the veterans treatment court program to file.

Complete the petition. If possible, attach proof that you completed the veterans court treatment program.

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that placed you in the veterans treatment program. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0727. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0728 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

You must wait one year to file after either:

  • the date your case was dismissed and discharged, if you completed deferred adjudication
  • the date you completed your sentence, including payment of all fines and restitution, if you were convicted

Complete the petition. If possible, attach proof of your conviction or deferred adjudication.

You will also need to fill out the order of nondisclosure form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that placed you on community supervision, whether deferred adjudication or probation. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the filing fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0728. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

Forms Required

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0729 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

Complete the petition. If possible, attach proof that you completed the veterans reemployment program.

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

There is no waiting period for a nondisclosure order under 411.0729. However, you must have completed your veterans training program and your community supervision, whether deferred adjudication or probation.

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that heard your case. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0729. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

Forms Required

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.073 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

You can file your petition as soon as your community supervision (probation) ends unless your misdemeanor was one of the following:

If your misdemeanor was one of these listed, you must wait two years after your probation ends.

Complete the petition. If possible, also attach both the order that placed you on probation and the order that shows you completed your sentence.

You will also need to fill out the order of nondisclosure form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that placed you on probation. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the filing fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.073. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

Forms Required

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0731 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

Breathalyzer for six months: If you had interlock ignition device (breathalyzer) on your vehicle for at least six months, you must wait two years after completing community supervision (probation) to file.

No breathalyzer: If you did not have a breathalyzer on your vehicle for at least six months, you must wait five years after completing probation to file.

Complete the petition and order. "Proof" can mean different things in different courts, but in general you must attach certified copies of the following:

  • Your judgment order (order of deferred adjudication)
  • Your dismissal and discharge order
  • Department of Public Safety criminal history from Identogo
  • Your indictment or "information" document (formal criminal charge document)

The court that charged you can give you a certified copy of your information. The court that gave you deferred adjudication can give you a certified copy of your judgment order. The court that finalized your case can give you a certified copy of your dismissal and discharge order. These may or may not all be the same court.

You can get a certified copy of your criminal history from the Department of Public Safety.

There will likely be a fee for each certified document.

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that placed you on probation. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0731. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

Forms Required

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0735 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

If your conviction was for a class C misdemeanor, you can file as soon as you complete your sentence.

If the offense was not a class C misdemeanor, you must wait two years after you complete your sentence.

Complete the petition. If possible, attach the following:

  • a copy of your judgment order
  • evidence that you completed your sentence

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that convicted you. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0735. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

These instructions are for getting a nondisclosure order under section 411.0736 only. See the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide and the Expunction Guide for more options.

Checklist Steps

Use the Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide to see if you qualify.

Breathalyzer for six months: If you had interlock ignition device (breathalyzer) on your vehicle for at least six months, you must wait three years after completing community supervision (probation) to file.

No breathalyzer: If you did not have a breathalyzer on your vehicle for at least six months, you must wait five years after completing probation to file.

Complete the petition. You must prove your eligibility. "Proof" can mean different things in different courts, but in general you must attach certified copies of the following:

  • Your judgment order (order of deferred adjudication)
  • Your dismissal and discharge order
  • Department of Public Safety criminal history from Identogo
  • Your indictment or "information" document (formal criminal charge document)

The court that charged you can give you a certified copy of your information. The court that gave you deferred adjudication can give you a certified copy of your judgment order. The court that finalized your case can give you a certified copy of your dismissal and discharge order. These may or may not all be the same court.

You can get a certified copy of your criminal history from the Department of Public Safety.

There will likely be a fee for each certified document.

You will also need to fill out the order form. The order is what the judge will sign to seal your record.

Forms:

Guided forms (recommended)

PDF forms

File the petition and unsigned order with the clerk of the court that convicted you. Ask the clerk if you need to set a hearing.

If you are low income, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (fee waiver). This will ask the court to waive the fee. File the fee waiver and the letter at the same time.

The court clerk will send the prosecutor a copy of your petition. The prosecutor will decide if they want to challenge it.

If there is a hearing, you must attend. The judge will decide whether to seal the offense under section 411.0736. 

If granted, the clerk should send the nondisclosure order to the Department of Public Safety and any agencies you listed in your request. You should follow up to make sure this happens. Note that if you omit an agency that has a copy of your criminal record, you may need to get another order of nondisclosure that includes the agency.

You may want to tell private background-check companies that have your information to remove your record from their database. Contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice for help and tips on doing this.

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