The impact of a criminal conviction can last long after the trial process. You could have issues gaining employment or pursuing educational opportunities because of your criminal record. Government and licensing agencies are also prone to conducting background checks. In addition, the stress of a criminal conviction could affect your personal relationships. You’ve may have gone through the process, but the effects of your case are still lingering. Thankfully, you can move on from this by sealing your record. You can hire an attorney who can file a petition for non-disclosure. If you qualify for non-disclosure, then a judge will be able to seal your records completely from the general public. Take charge of your life today. If you or someone you know is wishing to file an order of non-disclosure, it’s important you gain trusted legal representation.
Attorney for Sealing Your Record in Houston, Texas
Sealing your criminal record can save you from a world of stress. The majority of employers won’t be able to access your charges when performing background checks. Landlords and other housing agencies will also be unable to pull up your record if you’re signing a lease. To find out if you’re eligible contact the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. today. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. is a group of skilled attorneys who are passionate about criminal defense. They have handled multiple non-disclosure cases in Texas for years. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. can evaluate your case to see if you’re eligible for non-disclosure. Don’t suffer with the effects of your conviction a second longer. Call us now at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case consultation. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Bellaire, West University Place and Tomball. Overview of Non-Disclosure Orders in Texas
- Difference Between Erasing and Sealing Your Record
- How to Qualify for Non-Disclosure
- How Do I Get Non-Disclosure in Texas
- Additional Resources
Difference Between Erasing and Sealing Your Record
Sealing and erasing your criminal charges are not interchangeable terms. Erasing your criminal record is done through a process known as expunction. It’s incredibly rare to have your charges expunged because eligibility is strict. Only people who have had their charges pardoned, acquitted, or was never convicted without community supervision can have their record erased. Erasing your criminal charges means no one has access to it. You’re able to legally deny the existence of the charges on a job interview. All licensing agencies will be unable to pull up your record and see you’ve been criminally charged. Sealing your record is done through a petition of non-disclosure. When your record is sealed it means most public and private entities cannot view your charges. They may instead just see an arrest on your record. However, some licensing agencies will be able to access your record such as the State Board of Education Certification (SBEC) and the Texas Medical Board. Unlike expunction, you can erase your record if you entered a plea. If you were put on deferred adjudication, then you could be eligible for non-disclosure. Sealing your record may not completely eradicate its existence like expunction, but it’s still the best option. Having a criminal record can limit your educational, professional and personal goals.
How to Qualify for Non-Disclosure
Sealing your criminal charges will mean you must fill out a petition of non-disclosure. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for non-disclosure. Texas law states you can seal your criminal record if you were:
- Placed on deferred adjudication;
- Completed your deferred adjudication;
- Waited the appropriate period to seek an order of non-disclosure; and
- You weren’t convicted of a crime between the time of your deferred adjudication and when you filed a petition of non-disclosure.
You cannot file for non-disclosure immediately after your deferred adjudication. The court requires you to wait a certain amount of time before filing. These wait times include:
- 5 years for a felony;
- 2 years for the following:
- Misdemeanors don’t require a waiting period
Some criminal charges are ineligible for non-disclosure, these include:
- Indecent exposure;
- Sexual performance by a child;
- Violating a protective order;
- Injury to a child or elderly person;
- Online solicitation of a minor;
- Indecency with a child;
- Aggravated kidnapping with intent to commit sexual abuse;
- Burglary with intent to commit sexual abuse;
- Compelling prostitution;
- Possession or promotion of child pornography;
- Abandoning or endangering a child;
- Repeat violations of bond conditions for a domestic violence case;
- Any domestic violence offense;
- Sexual assault;
- Unlawful restraint, kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping of a person under 17 years old;
- Incest; or
- An offense where you’re required to register as a sex offender
DWI and Nondisclosure in Texas
In 2017, the passage of House Bill 3016 allowed first-time DWI offenders to obtain nondisclosure. Even if they were never granted deferred adjudication. The legislation doesn’t allow repeat DWI offenders to receive nondisclosure or DWI cases with a BAC of .15 or higher. People charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI) or flying while intoxicated (FWI) are ineligible for nondisclosure. DWI offenders must meet the following requirements before requesting an order for nondisclosure:
- It was a first-time DWI offense;
- The DWI didn’t result in an accident with another person;
- Must have no prior criminal history;
- Successfully paid all associated court fees;
- Paid all possible restitution costs;
- Cannot have been placed on deferred adjudication for certain violent crimes or offenses requiring the defendant to register as a sex offender; and
- If the judge believes granting nondisclosure is in the best interest of justice
To obtain an order of nondisclosure the offender must finish the appropriate waiting period first. People sentenced to probation with an ignition interlock device (IID) will have a waiting period of two years. Offenders who don’t have an IID installed as a condition of probation will have a waiting period of five years.
How Do I Get a Non-Disclosure in Texas?
Your first step will be filing out a petition for non-disclosure, which you can find here. The petition must be filed with the clerk that handled your initial charges. You will be required to pay a filing fee of approximately $280. If you’re unable to pay the fee, you can file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs form. The court will schedule a hearing to discuss your order of non-disclosure. The prosecuting attorney and law enforcement will also be notified of your hearing within 45 days of the request. They can choose to attend the hearing and contest your non-disclosure if they don’t agree with the order. A judge will issue an order of nondisclosure if:
- You’ve completed all the terms of your deferred adjudication;
- You meet the eligibility requirements for non-disclosure; and
- Granting non-disclosure is in the best interest of justice
If the judge believe you meet the requirements listed above, then your order of non-disclosure will be granted. Your records will be sealed from the general public and most employers.
How to Fill Out A Petition for Non-Disclosure – Visit the official website of the Texas courts to learn more about non-disclosure. Access the court document to learn non-disclosure eligibility, access the non-disclosure form, and learn who can see your charges if you’re granted non-disclosure. Texas Laws for Non-Disclosure – Visit the official website of Texas Government Code to learn more about orders of non-disclosure. Access the site to learn what is non-disclosure, how to get non-disclosure, and the relative cost of non-disclosure.
Lawyer for Non-Disclosure in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know is seeking non-disclosure, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Hiring an attorney can significantly increase your chances of having your charges reduced or dismissed. Do what’s best for you and contact Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. today. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. excels in criminal defense and has handled numerous non-disclosure cases. We can assist you with your petition to ensure its completed and filed correctly. With our strong work ethic and experience, Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. could be the answer for you. Call (713) 224-5529 to set up a case consultation today. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area including Uptown, River Oaks, and Pasadena.
This article was last updated on March 11th, 2019.