Nondisclosure Orders in Fort Bend County, Texas

Being arrested, charged or convicted for a crime in Texas can have life-changing consequences. Depending on the type of crime involved, you may find it more difficult to find employment, get into the college of your choice or secure scholarships, loans and grant funding. In some cases, your criminal record can be erased through expunction.

Obtaining an expunction can be difficult and this type of order is typically granted under very specific circumstances. As an alternative to expunction, you may be able to obtain a nondisclosure order. An experienced Fort Bend County Nondisclosure Attorney can assist you in protecting your prior record.

What Does a Nondisclosure Order Do?

A nondisclosure order removes your criminal history from the public record and limits access to the files. Enforcing a nondisclosure order is also referred to as “sealing” your record. While your criminal history is not erased entirely, a nondisclosure order prevents your record from being accessed by future employers, creditors and other members of the public. The order does not, however, prevent these files from being viewed by certain state or federal government agencies.

Who Is Eligible to Have Their Records Sealed in Texas?

Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code specifies which individuals are eligible to file a nondisclosure order. Under Texas law, any person who has successfully completed a deferred adjudication may be eligible to have their records sealed. A deferred adjudication is a type of plea agreement that allows you to complete a specified period of supervision in lieu of a criminal conviction.

You may qualify for a Nondisclosure Order if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You pleaded not guilty or no contest
  • You were granted a deferred adjudication and subjected to community supervision
  • You have successfully completed the supervision period
  • The case against you has been dismissed

You must also meet have completed the appropriate waiting period prior to requesting a nondisclosure order. Under Texas law, the waiting period depends on the type of crime involved. The waiting periods are as follows:

  • No waiting period for most misdemeanors
  • Two years for certain misdemeanors, including, assisting suicide, animal cruelty, discharging a firearm, dog fighting, harassment, indecent exposure, public lewdness, terroristic threats, unlawful weapon possession and violation of a protective order
  • Five years for all felonies

Who is NOT Eligible for a Nondisclosure Order in Texas?

Texas law clearly defines those individuals who may not seek an order of nondisclosure. You cannot have your records sealed if you were charged or convicted of:

  • Indecency with a child
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Prohibited sexual conduct (incest)
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit any of the above offenses
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography
  • Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping of a person younger than 17 years of age
  • Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses
  • Capital murder
  • Murder
  • Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
  • Abandoning or endangering a child
  • Violation of protective order or magistrate's order
  • Stalking
  • Any domestic violence offense which involves bodily harm, assault or sexual assault

It’s important to note that if you are arrested or convicted of another charge prior to requesting a nondisclosure order, your criminal record cannot be sealed.

How Do I Request a Nondisclosure Order in Fort Bend County?

In order to secure a nondisclosure order, you must file a petition for nondisclosure with the court that originally handled your case. The state of Texas uses different forms for individuals seeking nondisclosure orders for felonies and misdemeanors. Your Fort Bend County nondisclosure attorneycan guide you in drafting the appropriate paperwork.

Your petition must include certain information, including:

  • The original court and cause number in which the deferred adjudication was imposed.
  • The date of the original plea of guilty or no contest.
  • The offense for which the defendant was placed on deferred adjudication.
  • The date upon which the court dismissed the proceedings and discharged the defendant from deferred adjudication community supervision.

Once you submit your completed petition, the court will schedule a hearing, typically within 14 days of your original filing. At the hearing, your attorney will need to provide proof that you meet the requirements for granting a nondisclosure order. Your attorney may also be asked to specify how the issuance of the order is in the interest justice.

If the court finds you eligible for a nondisclosure order, your petition will be granted and a copy of the order forwarded to the Department of Public Safety. The DPS is then responsible for forwarding the order to all law enforcement agencies, jails, detention facilities, magistrates, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities and federal agencies that maintain criminal records.

Are Juvenile Records Covered Under Nondisclosure Orders?

Under Texas Family Code Section 58.203, juvenile records are automatically placed under restricted access once the individual reaches age 21. The automatic restriction only applies if the juvenile has not been convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or a felony since their 17th birthday. The restriction is also not enforced if the juvenile has completed a deferred adjudication for a misdemeanor or felony offense. If access to a juvenile’s record is restricted, this restriction can be lifted if the individual commits another crime.

How Can I Get Help With Filing a Nondisclosure Order in Fort Bend County?

If you believe you qualify for a nondisclosure order, you need to seek the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Attorney at law Lee D. Cox specializes in helping juveniles and adults in the Fort Bend County area protect their personal information through nondisclosure orders.

Call Lee today at 281-762-7345 to find out how he can help you restore your good name. Your initial case evaluation is free and flexible payment plans are available. Don’t let a criminal conviction ruin your life. Contact the law office of Lee D. Cox today to get the experienced legal representation you need to seal your criminal record.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney's office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

free consultation