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Nondisclosure Order Prep Guide

Adult Criminal Records

Determine what type of nondisclosure order you may qualify for and gather the documents you will need.
Overview

Guide Overview

A nondisclosure order seals your criminal history so that unauthorize people and organizations cannot view it. You must meet all requirements to get a nondisclosure order. Your situation will determine which type of nondisclosure order you qualify for, if any.

This guide goes over:

  • Basic requirements for all nondisclosure orders
  • When you can use each type of nondisclosure order
  • What documents you may need to help you fill out your nondisclosure order forms

Research Tips

You can also use the Fresh Start app to help you decide what type of nondisclosure order you need.

Or if your criminal case was in Harris County, you can go to Clear Your Record Harris County. Clear You Record Harris County is a free tool that automatically looks up and reviews your Harris County criminal history to see if you qualify for a nondisclosure order.

Instructions & Forms

Checklist Steps

To seal your record, you must first meet the basic eligibility requirements that apply to all types of nondisclosure orders (Government Code, Section 411.074).

If you meet the basic eligibility requirements, then see if you meet the requirements for a specific type of nondisclosure order.

In addition to using this checklist, you may also click here to use the new Fresh Start app. Answer some questions, and it can tell you what types of nondisclosure order you may be eligible for.

If you do not meet the below requirements, you are not eligible for a nondisclosure order. You must meet the requirements for a court to be able to grant you a nondisclosure order.

You are not eligible for a nondisclosure order if you have ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any of the following:  

· 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); or 
  • any other offense involving family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code. 

Remember that these restrictions apply to your entire criminal history, including the offense you want to seal.  You are never eligible to receive an order of nondisclosure for any offense if you have ever been convicted of or put on deferred adjudication for one of the above crimes. 

  • More Information
    • If you are unsure if you have a disqualifying criminal history, you may wish to check your criminal history record. You can obtain a copy of your criminal history record from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Procedures for obtaining your criminal history record can be found online at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us.
    • You should also review your case file, if possible. Your criminal history record alone may not contain all the information you need to apply for a nondisclosure order. For example, your criminal history record will not show whether you were required to register as a sex offender or whether any of your offenses involved family violence. You should be able to get a copy of your case file from the court that handled your case.
    • If you are sure that you know your criminal history, you do not need to obtain your criminal history record or case file. You are not required to attach your criminal history record to your petition. You may, however, attach your criminal history record to your petition if you so desire.

You are not eligible for a nondisclosure order if the court found that the offense you want to seal involved family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code.

Some types of nondisclosure orders make you wait a certain amount of time after you finish your case before before you can apply. These waiting periods range from 180 days to five years.

You are not eligible for a nondisclosure order if you were convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another crime (other than a fine-only traffic ticket) during the waiting period.

A nondisclosure order for completing a veterans reemployment program under Section 411.0729 does not have the above restrictions. So long as you meet the Section 411.0729 requirements, you are eligible to apply for a nondisclosure order.

Checklist Steps

This page will lead you through a series of questions and steps to help you figure out if you qualify for nondisclosure and if so what forms to use. Different Government Code sections apply to different types of nondisclosure orders. You have to apply for the type of nondisclosure order that matches your situation.

Be sure to start at Question 1 and work your way through the checklist based on the instructions.

Many find the law surrounding non disclosure confusing. This checklist may not include every element that might impact your eligibility. If you need additional help deciding which nondisclosure may be right for you, see our Fresh Start app or contact an attorney.

If your case was in Harris County, you can also use Clear Your Record Harris County. Clear Your Record Harris County automatically looks up and reviews your Harris County criminal history to see if you qualify for a nondisclosure order. 

This page only applies to adult Texas criminal records. It does not apply to federal crimes or arrests, charges, or convictions you received as a juvenile. Different rules apply to juvenile records.

You will need your criminal history report to answer the questions below. You may also need the case file from the court that handled your case.

Note that every type of nondisclosure order requires you to meet certain basic requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Please read “Basic Requirements for All Orders of Nondisclosure” to see if you meet these basic requirements. Do not go through the steps below before making sure you meet all of the basic requirements that apply to all nondisclosure orders.

Also note that nondisclosure orders in Texas can be very complicated. There may be uncommon exceptions or bars to nondisclosure orders that TexasLawHelp does not address. If possible, always get an attorney to look over your case before applying for a nondisclosure order.

Before you get started, here is a list of the different types of nondisclosure orders:

Section 411.072: “Automatic” nondisclosure for deferred adjudication: certain nonviolent misdemeanors.

-This section only applies to a person who receives a discharge and dismissal on or after September 1, 2017.

Section 411.0725: Nondisclosures for deferred adjudication: felonies and misdemeanors that do not qualify under Section 411.072.

Section 411.0726: Nondisclosures for DWI (driving or boating while intoxicated) misdemeanors with deferred adjudiction (no conviction) -- new as of Sept. 1, 2019.

Section 411.0727: Nondisclosures for successful completion of Veterans Treatment Court Program

Section 411.0728: Nondisclosures for Certain Victims of Trafficking of Persons

Section 411.0729: Nondisclosures for completing a veterans reemployment program -- new as of Sept. 1, 2019

Section 411.073: Nondisclosures for probation (community supervision) following misdemeanor conviction. 

Section 411.0731: Nondisclosures for probation (community supervision) following DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction

Section 411.0735: Nondisclosures for misdemeanor conviction.

Section 411.0736: Nondisclosures for DWI (driving while intoxicated) convictions.

The following questions will help you determine which section applies to you, and which set of forms to use in preparing your nondisclosure petition and order.

If your answer to Question 1 is no, proceed to Question 2.

If your answer to Question 1 is yes: Have you ever been previously convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for anything other than a fine-only traffic ticket (not including the offense you want to seal)?

  • If your answer is yes, follow the procedure for Section 411.0725.
  • If your answer is no: Do you want to seal a misdemeanor offense discharged and dismissed on or after September 1, 2017?
  • If your answer is yes: Does your criminal history report or case file say say that the judge found it it would not be in the best interests of justice for you to get an automatic nondisclosure order?
  • If your answer is no: Do you want to seal charges for one of the following misdemeanors? 
    • Kidnapping, unlawful restraint, or smuggling of persons (Penal Code Chapter 20)
    • Sexual offenses (Penal Code Chapter 21)
    • Assaultive offenses (Penal Code Chapter 22)
    • Offenses against the family (Penal Code Chapter 25)
    • Disorderly conduct or related offenses (Penal Code Chapter 42)
    • Public indeceny offenses (Penal Code Chapter 43)
    • Weapons offenses (Penal Code Chapter 46)
    • Organized crime (Penal Code Chapter 71)
  • If your answer is yes, follow the procedure for Section 411.0725.
  • If your answer is no, follow the procedure for Section 411.072.

If your answer to Question 2 is no, proceed to Question 3.

If your answer to Question 2 is yes: Have you ever been previously convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for anything other than a fine-only traffic ticket (not including the offense you want to seal)?

  • If your answer is yes, proceed to Question 7.  
  • If your answer is no, follow the procedure for Section 411.0726.
  • If your answer to Question 3 is no, proceed to Question 4
  • If your answer is yes: Did you complete deferred adjudication for the felony?
    • If your answer is yes, that you were placed on deferred adjudication, follow the procedure for Section 411.0725.
    • If your answer is no, proceed to Question 6.

If your answer to Question 4 is yes, besides the offense you want to seal, have you ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any other offense (other than a fine-only traffic ticket)?

  • If your answer is yes, proceed to Question 6.
  • If your answer is no: Do you want to seal a DWI (driving while intoxicated) offense?
    • If your answer is yes, that you do want to seal a DWI, proceed to Question 5
  • If your answer is no: Do you want to seal any of the following convictions?:
    • Boating while intoxicated (Penal Code 49.06)
    • Flying while intoxicated (Alcohol Beverage Code Section 49.05)
    • Assembling or operating an amusement ride while intoxicated (Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 49.065)
    • Organized Crime (Penal Code Chapter 71)?
  • If your answer is yes, proceed to Question 6. 
  • If your answer is no: Were you placed on probation (also known as community supervision) for the offense you want to seal? (If you were placed on probation, answer "yes" even if you also had to go to jail or live under house arrest.)

If your answer to Question 5 is yes, besides the offense you want to seal, have you ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any other offense (other than a fine-only traffic ticket)?

  • If your answer is yes, proceed to question 7.
  • If your answer is no: Was your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) 0.15 or more?
    • If your answer is yes, proceed to Question 7.  
  • If your answer is no: Did your DWI offense involve an accident involving any other person, including a passenger in your own vehicle?
    • If your answer is yes, proceed to Question 7.
  • If your answer is no: Were you placed on probation (also known as community supervision) for the DWI offense? (If you were placed on probation, answer "yes" even if you also had to go to jail or live under house arrest.)
  • If your answer is no, proceed to Question 7.
  • If your answer is yes: Do you want to seal any of the following?
    • Marijuana possession (Penal Code 481.121)
    • Delivery of marijuana (Penal Code 481.120)
    • Theft under $500 (Penal Code 31.03)
    • Prostitution (Penal Code 43.02)
  • If your answer is no, proceed to Question 7.
  • If your answer is yes: Did you help with a criminal investigation?
  • If your answer is no: Did law enforcement ask you to help with a criminal investigation but you did not because you were 1) too young, or 2) too damaged (mentally of physically) from your human trafficking experience?
    • If your answer is no, proceed to Question 7.
    • If your answer is yes, follow the procedure for Section 411.0728
  • If your answer is yes, follow the procedure for Section 411.0727
  • If your answer to Question 7 is no, proceed to Question 8.
  • If your answer is yes, follow the procedure for Section 411.0729.
  • If your answer is no to Question 8 and you answered all other applicable questions above, you do not qualify 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 and to apply for an order of nondisclosure:

Checklist Steps

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.