NEW TEXAS NONDISCLOSURE LAW
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony in Austin, Travis County, or elsewhere in Texas after September 1, 2015, a law passed by the Texas Legislature last year may help you to seal your criminal record from public access.
Previously, Texas law required a person to have successfully completed deferred adjudication community supervision to be eligible to apply for an order of nondisclosure, which seals the criminal history information from the general public. The new law expands the eligibility for nondisclosure to people who have been convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses.
ARRESTS AFTER SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
If your offense date was after September 1, 2015, you are eligible to apply for nondisclosure in the following circumstances:
DEFERRED ADJUDICATION – Government Code Sec. 411.0725
You are eligible immediately upon completing deferred adjudication probation if:
- The offense was not under Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, 43, 46 or 71, Penal Code (described below)
- You have no convictions or deferred adjudication other than a traffic violation during term of probation.
You are eligible two years from the date you completed probation if the offense was a misdemeanor under any of the following Chapters:
- Chapter 20 – Kidnapping / Unlawful Restraint
- Chapter 21 – Sexual Offenses
- Chapter 22 – Assault
- Chapter 25 – Offenses Against the Family
- Chapter 42 – Disorderly Conduct
- Chapter 43 – Public Indecency
- Chapter 46 -Weapons Offenses
- Chapter 71 – Organized Crime
You are eligible five years from the date you completed deferred adjudication probation if you were on probation for a felony.
CONVICTIONS – Government Code Sec. 411.073, 411.0735
Under the new law, you can also apply for an order of nondisclosure even if you were convicted of certain misdemeanors. To be eligible for this, you cannot have ever been previously convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense besides a traffic violation. For most misdemeanors, you can apply as soon as your sentence was completed or you completed probation. However, there is a waiting period of 2 years from the date your sentence was completed if the offense was under any of the Chapters in the previous section.
ARRESTS BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 – Government Code Sec. 411.081.
If you were arrested for an offense before September 1, 2015, the previous version of the nondisclosure law still applies.
Under this law, you may apply for an order of nondisclosure if you have successfully completed deferred adjudication probation for a felony or a misdemeanor. After the completing deferred adjudication, there is a waiting period of two years for misdemeanors on the list above, and five years for felonies. During the waiting period, you must not have been be convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any other offense other than a traffic offense to be eligible for nondisclosure. You also must not have any offenses in your background as described in the disqualifiers below.
This is the only kind of nondisclosure available for offenses before September 1, 2015.
DISQUALIFIERS FOR NONDISCLOSURE
There are certain circumstances in which a person is never eligible to apply for an order of nondisclosure, no matter when the offense occurred. These circumstances include if a person has ever been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for:
- Any offense requiring registration as a sex offender
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Murder, Injury to a Child, Abandoning or Endangering a Child, VOPO, Stalking, Trafficking of Persons or
- An offense involving family violence
You will also not be eligible for an order of nondisclosure if you were convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for an offense during the term of probation or during any applicable waiting period.
I know this area of the law can be confusing, so please contact me if you have any questions.