What is an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?

It’s a fact of life – the consequences of a criminal conviction are far-reaching, especially as they refer to employment and career opportunities. Once a person has a criminal record, it can cause them to lose their job. It can cause them to be turned down when applying for jobs in the future. It can stop promotions dead in their tracks. A criminal record can also lead to the cancellation, revocation or denial of professional licenses.

For people in the Armed Forces, a criminal conviction can lead to a reduction in pay grade. A reduction in rank. A dishonorable discharge – it can essentially ruin a military career. The Texas criminal justice system is fully-aware of the impact a criminal record has on a person; therefore, state legislatures have taken steps to reduce the burden on offenders. The solution? Orders of nondisclosure.

What an Order of Nondisclosure Does

An order of nondisclosure is a type of court order. What it does is strictly prohibit certain public entities, such as courts and police departments from disclosing certain criminal record information. What’s more, an order of nondisclosure helps the offender by legally freeing him or her from the obligation to disclose their criminal record data (subject to the order of nondisclosure of course) when asked questions on job applications.

However, an order of nondisclosure is not all encompassing. An offender’s criminal record will still be available to criminal justice agencies for criminal prosecutions and to specific non-criminal organizations, such as the Texas Board of Law Examiners, the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Medical Board.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

For someone convicted of a criminal offense in Texas, it’s absolutely beneficial for him or her to apply for an order of nondisclosure if they qualify. By having their criminal records away for the most part from public view, it re-opens the door for their employment opportunities. And who benefits? Everyone.

The more an offender can be financially stable and successful, the better for the offender, their loved ones, and the economy because the offender isn’t relying on the state for assistance, plus they’re spending money, so this helps the local economy.

Eligibility requirements:

  • The offender must have been placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for him or her to qualify.
  • If an offender was convicted for the crime, he or she is NOT eligible to apply for an order of nondisclosure.
  • The offender had to successfully complete their deferred adjudication.

Offenses that make an offender ineligible:

  • Murder
  • Capital murder
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Family violence (domestic violence)
  • Abandoning or endangering a child
  • Violating a family violence protection order
  • Sex offenses requiring sex offender registration
  • Injury to a child, elderly individual or disabled individual

If any individual is eligible for an order of nondisclosure, he or she must wait a specific period of time after the court orders a dismissal and discharge. For misdemeanors, the individual must wait two years. For felonies, the wait is five years.

To learn more about orders of nondisclosure in Texas and how they can help future employment, contact our Plano criminal defense firm.

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