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Texas Order of Non-Disclosure FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Texas Order of Non-Disclosure service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.



If I have a case with deferred adjudication, is the record available to the public?

Yes, the record will show as a deferred case and the charges will be viewable unless you apply for an order of non-disclosure.

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What is non-disclosure?

The court issues an order prohibiting criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public any criminal history record information related to the offense giving rise to the deferred adjudication. Therefore, the records are sealed and the public can’t view them.

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Will my record still show up on my background check after I obtain an order of non-disclosure (record sealing) in Texas.

No. The expungement law prohibits the release, maintenance, dissemination, or use of the expunged records and files to the public.

No. The expungement prohibits the release, maintenance, dissemination, or use of the expunged records and files for any purpose. Government records are typically cleared within 60 days of the court agreeing to expunge the case.

However, commercial background check companies may take up to one year to update their records to reflect the sealing of the criminal record. We can expedite the updating of commercial background checks companies and reduce the time it takes from about one year to less than 14 days. See our Expedited Record Clearance Update for information on this important step.

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Are there any instances when criminal justice agencies can still disclose my criminal history records?

A criminal justice agency may disclose the records to other criminal justice agencies for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes or to the following non-criminal justice agencies:

*  State Board for Educator Certification

* School district, charter school, private school, commercial transportation company,                                                   or education shared service arrangement

* Texas State Board of Medical Examiners

* Texas School of the Blind and Visually Impaired

* Board of Law Examiners

* State Bar of Texas

* District Court regarding a petition for name change

* Texas School for the Deaf

* Department of Family and Protective Services

* Texas Youth Commission

* Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services

* Department of State Health Services

* Texas Private Security Board

* Municipal of Volunteer Fire Department

* Board of Nurse Examiners

* Safe house providing shelter to children

* Public or Nonprofit Hospital

* Texas Juvenile Probation Commission

* Securities Commissioner, banking commissioner, savings and loan commissioner, or    the credit union commissioner

* Texas State Board of Public Accountancy

* Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

* Health and Human Services Commission; and

* Department of Aging and Disability Services

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Do I have to disclose the arrest or court case?

A person whose criminal history has been sealed with an Order of Nondisclosure is not required to disclose their arrest or court case in any application for employment, information, or licensing to the state that the person has been the subject of any criminal proceeding that was sealed. Therefore, the person can deny the arrest or court case.

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Can I become a schoolteacher, nurse, or other occupation after getting my record sealed.

You are able to deny the arrest and court case after it has been sealed with an order of nondisclosure; however, certain non-criminal justice agencies can still view the record. For instance, some school districts can still view the records. Although the record may still be viewable by certain agencies, the agency will also see that a judge granted an order of nondisclosure, which displays your reform and looks better than just having the record of deferred adjudication.

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What if I want to work in a bank?

Section 19 of the FDIA (Federal Deposit Insurance Act) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.

"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission.

Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.

If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the FDIC. It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.

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Can my sealed Texas record still be used against me?

Since the case records are still viewable by criminal justice agencies, the records can be used in subsequent prosecution for another crime.

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Does it matter if I was previously placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense?

No, as long as the previous offense was not an offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, aggravated kidnapping, murder, capital murder, offense involving injury to a child elderly individual, disabled person, abandoning or endangering a child, violation of protective order or magistrate’s order, stalking, or an offense involving family violence. Additionally, if you are convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense while you are on deferred adjudication for this case or if you are convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense during the waiting period then you are not eligible for an order of nondisclosure on this case.

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What is the difference between expungement and nondisclosure?

Non-disclosure, often called record sealing in Texas, requires the Department of Public Safety to send a copy of the order to all law enforcement agencies, jails, etc. who are then ordered to seal the records, but not destroy them. So, they cannot disclose the offense, but the records are not destroyed. Also, the prior criminal record could be used against the person in a subsequent prosecution.

Expungement results in the destruction of all references and records of the case from public records. The Department of Public Safety also requests any federal depository to return and destroy them. The court record for expungement is destroyed 60 days - 1 year after order is issued.

A case is only eligible for one service and what the eligible service is depends on the sentence for that case.

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After the order of nondisclosure is issued, can I petition for expungement?

No. If you are eligible for an order of nondisclosure then you are not eligible for expungement of this case.

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Do I need to hire an attorney or can I proceed with the obtaining an order of non-disclosure on my own?

You have an attorney to (1) make sure the process is done right the first time so your case does not get rejected or cost you months of delay, (2) handle objections from the district attorney, (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be, and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will soon have the case off of your record.

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Do I have to go to court?

Although a licensed attorney will appear in court for you, in Texas cases, the judge will frequently require your presence. If you live out of state or if attending the hearing would be a hardship for you, we can ask the court to excuse your presence, but this is not guaranteed.

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How does the attorney know my case details?

Once you sign up we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks questions that influence the outcome of the case. The questionnaire also allows us to argue the case before a judge. Although some of the questions may seem simple, the more information and detail that you provide in your answers the better we are able to argue the case in your favor.

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How long does the process take?

Typically, the entire process takes anywhere from four to nine months, depending on the county.

We base our estimates of how long a case will take on how long the average is for that service in that state. However, some cases can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the DA is agreeing or objecting, the age of the case, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and DA in anything they need to get your case heard.

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Can the process be done faster?

The courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner your case is heard and decided. If helpful, we will gladly write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of petitioning the court for an order of nondisclosure.

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How do I know what is going on with my case?

We have an online tracking system that is just for your case(s). You will have a user name and password for the account, which will have the information specific to the case. Whenever anything happens in your case, we post the information in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that is made. If there is no post on your online account, then that means that there is no update in the case. For example, once we update your online account to reflect that we have filed the motion with the court we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or District Attorney. Depending on the court, a case can take several weeks to months to hear from the court or District Attorney whether there is an objection, hearing, or anything else. If something is taking longer than usual for the court, we will call to obtain status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information in the case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.

Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print the necessary content.

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Does my disposition of guilty or no contest matter?

No. The main factor that makes a case eligible is if the person completed deferred adjudication successfully.

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What are the details of the guarantee?

If we are unable to succeed on your case we will give you your money back, minus the fees paid to the court (normally $200 to $450). There is a partial refund if the client does anything to become ineligible after beginning the process or has multiple convictions.

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Do you have payment plans?

We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Please view the pricing section or details regarding the payment plans.

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What if I don’t know exactly what is on my record?

We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done. We charge a researching fee and we apply that to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.

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What if I have multiple cases?

If you are convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense while you are on deferred adjudication for this case or if you are convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense during the waiting period then you are not eligible for an order of nondisclosure on this case.

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What is deferred adjudication in Texas?

Deferred adjudication is a sentence that the judge gives you. Typically, you are placed on probation as part of the sentence. Upon completing the sentence, the judge dismisses the case and “defers” the guilty plea. Under Texas law this is not considered a conviction.

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What is the waiting period for the case?

Felony cases have a five year waiting period. The following misdemeanors require a two-year waiting period: abuse of corpse; advertising for placement of child; aiding suicide; assault; bigamy; cruelty to animals; deadly conduct; destruction of flag; discharge of firearm; disorderly conduct; disrupting meeting of procession; dog fighting; false alarm; harassment; harboring runaway child; hoax bombs; indecent exposure; interference with emergency telephone call; leaving child in a vehicle; making a firearm accessible to a child; possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale of switchblade knife or knuckles; public lewdness; riot; silent or abusive calls to 9-1-1 service; terrorist threat; unlawful carrying of handgun by license holder; unlawful carrying weapons; unlawful possession of firearm; unlawful restraint; unlawful transfer of certain weapons; violation of protective order preventing offense caused by bias or prejudice. If your case was not for one of these offenses then there is no waiting period and you can file with the court once your deferred adjudication is complete.

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When does the waiting period begin?

The waiting period begins the date you complete your deferred adjudication.

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What offenses are not eligible for an order of nondisclosure (criminal record sealing) in Texas?

The following offenses are not eligible: an offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, aggravated kidnapping, murder, capital murder, offense involving injury to a child elderly individual, disabled person, abandoning or endangering a child, violation of protective order or magistrate’s order, stalking, or an offense involving family violence.

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What offenses are under Chapter 62?

A conviction OR juvenile adjudication of any of the following: - Penal Code 21.02 (continuous sexual abuse of young child/children) - Penal Code 21.11 (indecency with a child) - Penal Code 22.011 (sexual assault) - Penal Code 22.021 (aggravated sexual assault) - Penal Code 25.02 (prohibited sexual conduct) - Penal Code 43.05 (compelling prostitution) - Penal Code 43.25 (sexual performance by a child) - Penal Code 43.26 (possession or promotion of child pornography) - Penal Code 20.04(a)(4)(aggravated kidnapping) IF the actor committed the offense or engaged in the conduct w/INTENT TO VIOLATE OR ABUSE THE VICTIM SEXUALLY - Penal Code 30.02 (burglary), IF the offense is punishable under subsection (d) of that section AND actor had intent to commit a felony in paragraph (A) or (C) of that section. - Penal Code 20.02 (unlawful restraint), 20.03 (kidnapping), or 20.04 (aggravated kidnapping) IF: o Judgment contained an affirmative finding under section 42.015….OR… o The hearing order or papers in the case contain an affirmative finding that the victim/intended victim was under 17. - Penal Code 33.021 (online solicitation of a minor) - Penal Code 21.08 (indecent exposure)…IF a second violation AND did not result in deferred adjudication An attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation of any of the above, except the last one (indecent exposure) Violation of another state or jurisdiction’s laws for offense containing elements substantially similar to the elements of any of those offenses….unless the out-of-state offense ended in deferred adjudication.

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What happens after the judge signs the order of nondisclosure?

You will receive a court order of nondisclosure. The order will update the court and state records.

However, commercial background check companies may take up to one year to update their records to reflect the expungement. We can expedite the updating of commercial background checks companies and reduce the time it takes from about one year to less than 14 days. See our [Expedited Record Clearance Update] (http://www.recordgone.com/expedited-record-clearance-update.htm) for information on this important step.

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How do the agencies know the order was granted?

Once the judge signs the granted order of nondisclosure, the court sends the order to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety then sends the order to all the agencies with records of the arrest or case.

However, commercial background check companies may take up to one year to update their records to reflect the expungement. We can expedite the updating of commercial background checks companies and reduce the time it takes from about one year to less than 14 days. See our [Expedited Record Clearance Update] (http://www.recordgone.com/expedited-record-clearance-update.htm) for information on this important step.

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How long do records take to be updated?

The court updates the court records within 48 hours and the Texas Department of Public Safety and agencies typically take 30 to 60 days to update their records.

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What is the main reason that a request for an order of non-disclosure is denied?

Requests are denied for the following reasons: (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) the court does not believe that granting you an order of non-disclosure will be in the interest of society or (4) not paying fines.

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Can I appeal if my non-disclosure request is denied?

A legal doctrine called "res judicata" prevents a party from relitigating claims that have already been decided by a court. (Barr v. Resolution Trust Corp., 837 S.W.2d 627 (Tex. 1992)). In Texas, res judicata applies to a petition for an order of nondisclosure. (Ex Parte Myers, 68 S.W.3d 229 (2002); see Ramsey v. State, 249 S.W.3d 568 (Tex. App. Waco 2008); Bergin v. State, 2006 Tex. App. LEXIS 7571 (2006)). Typically, once the judge makes a decision to deny a petition for an order of nondisclosure, that decision is final (unless successfully appealed) and the case cannot be refiled at a later time. However, in some cases, if the facts have changed or new facts have occurred since the petition was denied, such as new educational or career opportunities, volunteer work, or completion of treatment programs, a petition may be refiled without being barred by res judicata. Because of the risk of being prevented from refilling and the difficulty of complying with the requirements of the law, hiring an attorney experienced in Texas law to properly file the petition is extremely important.

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Will an order of non-disclosure relieve me of the requirement to register as a sex offender?

No. If you are required to register, then your offense is not eligible for an order of non-disclosure.

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Will an order of non-disclosure clean up my driving record?

No. Driving records are not affected by the order of nondisclosure. However, driving records fall off your records after a certain period of time unlike your criminal records, which are for life unless you have them cleared.

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Will my record prohibit me from visiting Canada?

If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you may be prohibited from entrance into Canada and further action will be required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States, so the Canadian government will have whatever information the United States has on file. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of setting aside will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and no longer considered a conviction and improve the odds of not being denied entry to Canada or being stuck at the border for lengthy interrogation.

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Can I get a Sentri pass?

The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So, the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; investing in record clearing before applying for a pass would be advantageous. A modest investment in getting a set aside could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. The set aside will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.

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Can I vote after the non-disclosure?

Voting rights are restored to felons convicted in Texas once a person is fully discharged from the felony sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completes a period of probation ordered by any court.

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Will an order of non-disclosure help with immigration?

Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, getting a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts is imperative. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case, contacting a qualified immigration attorney is vital. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.

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Can I clear my federal conviction?

You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.

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Will an order of non-disclosure restore my right to own a firearm?

Since cases where deferred adjudication is successfully completed are not considered convictions, you are able to own or possess a firearm already. However, there is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States government (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by federal law. The federal definition is narrower than Texas' definition, so your domestic violence conviction in Texas might not trigger the federal law. Nondisclosure in Texas does not lift the federal prohibition.

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Who may serve on a jury in Texas?

In Texas, you may serve on a jury if you: 1) are a resident of the United States and a resident of the county by which you are summoned, 2) are at least eighteen years of age, 3) are able to read and write, 4) are of sound mind.

You may not serve on a jury if you: 1) have been convicted of a felony for any type of theft, unless your rights have been restored to you, 2) are currently on probation or deferred adjudication for any type of theft on a felony level, 3) are currently under indictment for a felony or are currently charged with any type of theft.

http://www.arlingtontx.gov/municipalcourt/juryservice.html

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The first step towards a better life begins with finding out if you are eligible for Texas Order of Non-Disclosure.



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