A non-disclosure is a way for a person to seal their criminal history so that the general public is not able to view their record. The government, governmental agencies, and law enforcement will still have access to the records. After September 1, 2015 some individuals who were convicted of crimes are now eligible for non-disclosures.
In Texas, there are two types of probation. Straight Probation, which means that a person pleads guilty, and the court accepts their plea of guilt (meaning they are found guilty, and that goes on their record), and deferred adjudication, where the person pleads guilty, the but court withholds a finding of guilt (and they are never found guilty as long as they finish their probation successfully).
The law used to be that you were only eligible for a non-disclosure if you were given deferred adjudication, but that has changed.
Who Can Get a Non-Disclosure on a Straight Probation?
- People who were charged after 9/1/15
- It was not a DWI, any other type of intoxication offense, or engaging in organized crime
- The person could not have picked up another case after starting probation on the case they are trying to seal
- The person must have completed the probation successfully
- The person must have had a clean criminal record prior to the case they are trying to seal
Non-Disclosures on Misdemeanor Jail Sentences
The same as straight probation, until 9/1/15, it was impossible to get a non-disclosure if you were convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail. Even cases where the person never actually goes to jail (1 day jail sentences where the defendant is given time served as credit) were not eligible to non-disclose their cases.
What was happening was that many people were taking the easy way out. For example, let’s talk about someone who maybe was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, or trespassing. They might have been offered 1 year of deferred adjudication or the opportunity to get time served (1 day in jail with credit give, no actual jail time) and a fine of $200. A ton of people just pay the fine. I mean who wants to be on probation for 1 year when you can pay $200, and be free.
The problem is, many times their lawyers neglected to explain that if they paid the fine that the case would be a lifetime conviction, and that they could never take that off of their record. I cannot tell you how many people in this situation I have talked to over the years, it is sad, but it is just a reality of our criminal justice system.
Luckily, it is now possible for some people who were in this situation to apply for a non-disclosure.
Who can get a Non-Disclosure After a Jail Sentence?
- People arrested on or after September 1, 2015
- The case must have been a misdemeanor
- The case cannot be related to alcohol
- The case cannot have been engaging in organized crime
- Two years must have passed from the date the sentence was complete
- The person must never have been convicted of another case (other than Class C)
- The person must never have been given deferred adjudication on another case (other than Class C)
- The person must never have been convicted of another case (other than Class C), during the 2 year waiting period
- The person must never have been given deferred adjudication on another case (other than Class C), during the 2 year waiting period
- The person must never have been convicted of, or given deferred adjudication for
- Abandoning a Child
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Capital Murder
- Endangering a Child
- Family Violence Bond Violations
- Injury to a Child
- Injury to a Disabled Person
- Injury to Elderly
- Multiple Family Violence Cases
- Trafficking of Persons