What Is a Criminal Record?
In most instances, if you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, this information becomes part of your criminal record. This record contains a list of any criminal acts you have been arrested for, as well as legal charges and verdicts. Depending on the type of crime and other considerations, you may be eligible to seal the records through a petition for nondisclosure. This process prevents law agencies from releasing information about your crime.
Am I Eligible to Seek an Order of Nondisclosure?
Your eligibility to seal your records depends on what type of crime you were arrested for and your actions after discharge and dismissal. There are several offenses that disqualify you from seeking a nondisclosure order including:
- Indecency with a child
- 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 minor
- Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit aforementioned offenses
- Capital murder
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
- Abandoning or endangering a child
- Violation of protective order or magistrate's order
- Any other offense involving family violence
In addition, any otherwise eligible defendant who has been convicted or placed on probation of a secondary offense after discharge and dismissal is disqualified from seeking a nondisclosure agreement.
How Long Do I Have to Wait before Seeking an Order of Nondisclosure?
If you were charged with any type of felony, you must wait at least five years from the date of discharge and dismissal. For some misdemeanors, you can file immediately after your case ends. However, there are misdemeanors that require a two year waiting period, including but not limited to:
- Silent or abusive calls to 9-1-1 service
- Disrupting meeting or procession
- Unlawful restraint
- Interference with emergency telephone call
- Cruelty to animals
- Making a firearm accessible to a child
- Discharge of firearm
- Possession, manufacture, transport, repair or sale of switchblade knife or knuckles
- Terroristic threat
- Indecent exposure
- Destruction of flag
- Hoax bombs
- Deadly conduct
- Unlawful transfer of certain weapons
- Abuse of a corpse
- Unlawful possession of firearm
- Obstructing highway or other passageway
- Public lewdness
- False alarm or report
- Violation of protective order preventing offense
- Disorderly conduct
- Harboring runaway child
- Dog fighting
- Leaving a child in a vehicle
- Aiding suicide
- Unlawful carrying of handgun by license holder
Mr. Trumpler can review the details of your case to determine the appropriate filing date.
What Information Do I Need to File a Petition?
When filing a petition for nondisclosure of a misdemeanor charge, you need the original court and case number, date of the original plea of guilty or no contest, original offense, and the date of dismissal and discharge. This information is generally available from the District or County Clerk’s Office. There are more steps required for petitions involving a felony charge.
What Do I Need to Prove at My Hearing?
As a defendant, you are required to provide evidence to support that:
- You entered a plea of no contest or guilty to the offense
- The court placed you on deferred adjudication community supervision
- The proceedings were dismissed by the court and you were discharged from deferred adjudication community supervision
- You are not disqualified from filing a petition
- The petition was filed in a timely fashion
- Issuance of the order is in the best interest of justice
To help ensure you reach a favorable outcome, it is important to consult a criminal defense attorney who has helped clients achieve successful outcomes in a variety of misdemeanor and felony cases.
Having an advocate who can help you gather evidence and argue your case can improve your outcome when filing a petition for nondisclosure.
What Is the Effect of an Order of Nondisclosure?
If the court rules in your favor, the order will be sent to the Department of Public Safety. The department will then send the order to all affected agencies, including law enforcement and detention facilities. These entities are obliged to not disclose the records of your criminal history to anyone except yourself or other criminal justice agencies.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Having an advocate who can help you gather evidence and argue your case can improve your outcome when filing a petition for nondisclosure. Call The Law Offices of Jason Trumpler at (512) 457-5200 or contact us online to learn more about nondisclosure petitions and what our team can do for you.