If an individual wants to have all records of an arrest or conviction destroyed, that individual must apply for an Order of Expunction. However, in Texas, obtaining an Order of Expunction is not always possible. Orders of expunction are only allowed for certain crimes. In addition, the nature of the applicant’s criminal record may inhibit the applicant’s ability to apply for an order of expunction. Fortunately, there is an alternative available called an Order of Nondisclosure. Because specific procedures and guidelines must be followed when seeking an Order of Nondisclosure, it is best to hire an attorney experienced in these matters.
What is an Order of Nondisclosure?
An Order of Nondisclosure is issued by a judge. It prevents certain public agencies, like police departments and courts, from releasing criminal records. An Order of Nondisclosure only applies to one charge—it does not wipe all charges from someone’s criminal record. However, it may be possible to obtain several Orders of Nondisclosure for multiple charges.
Many job applications require applicants to disclose their criminal history. With an Order of Nondisclosure in place, an applicant may be able to avoid disclosing certain charges.
Who is eligible to apply for an Order of Nondisclosure?
Orders of Nondisclosure may only be sought in certain situations. Specifically, if the crime occurred before September 1, 2015, six conditions must be met:
- The individual must have been placed on deferred adjudication for the crime.
- The individual must have completed deferred adjudication.
- The offense must not be one of the following:
- Those that require registering as a sex offender;
- Those that involve family violence; and
- Homicide; aggravated kidnapping; assaulting a child, elderly person, or disabled person; abandoning or endangering a child; or stalking.
- In addition, the individual must not have been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any of these crimes.
- For specific crimes, such as felonies, the applicant must wait a certain period of time before seeking an Order of Nondisclosure. An attorney will be familiar with the waiting periods involved in these cases. For example, if the crime is a felony, the applicant must wait at least 5 years after the dismissal and discharge of that felony.
- Finally, the applicant must not have been convicted of any crimes during a specified period of time. Again, an attorney will be familiar with the requisite time period.
If all of these conditions are met, the individual may apply for an Order of Nondisclosure.
If the crime occurred after September 1, 2015, the applicant’s offense must fit into 5 specific categories of nondisclosure. These include deferred adjudication for nonviolent misdemeanors, deferred adjudication for misdemeanors and specific felonies, victims of trafficking, community supervision following conviction, and conviction and confinement.
How do I obtain an Order of Nondisclosure?
To obtain an Order of Nondisclosure, an individual must file a Petition for an Order of Nondisclosure. This Petition must contain certain pieces of information about the individual seeking the order and the offense. If a petition is not completed properly, the process of obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure may be delayed. To avoid delays, it is best to hire an attorney to help with this process.
A hearing will be scheduled. The State of Texas will be able to challenge a decision to grant an Order of Nondisclosure.
Do you need an Order of Nondisclosure?
At the Hampton Eppes Law Group, we are experienced in orders of nondisclosure. Brian Eppes is a former Texas prosecutor skilled in drafting and arguing petitions for an order of nondisclosure. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.