Sealing Criminal Records, Nondisclosure

Sealing your Criminal Record

The proper way to seal your criminal records from the public is through a Motion of Nondisclosure. A Motion of Nondisclosure is a seperate Petition before a criminal court asking the Judge to seal an offender's record. A Motion of Nondisclosure effectively seals the offense from the general public, and is available only for successfully complete Deferred Adjudication cases. This means that if your case was dismissed, or resulted in a final conviction, you are not eligible for Sealing Criminal Records or Nondisclosure. If your case was dismissed, read about Expunctions.

Looking for information on Sealing DWI Convictions?

What are the Benefits of Nondisclosure?

A Motion of Nondisclosure will seal the offense from the public's view, meaning potential employers should not see the offense, since it was sealed through a Motion of Nondisclosure. This means you'll come up clean on background checks (see drawbacks below).

What can I expect with a Motion of Nondisclosure?

A Motion of Nondisclosure requires an attorney to author a Petition and Order to the Court, containing the required information, and then, a Hearing is set. The hearings, at least in Travis County and Austin, are typically set 45-60 days away, meaning that if you file a Motion of Nondisclosure January 1st, you can expect a hearing in late February or early March.

Once granted, notices of the granted Order of Nondisclosure are sent to agencies that possess your information and offense data. The agencies (police, courts, jail) then seal the record and send in a compliance notice to the Court.

You can expect to see results (in terms of a sealed criminal history of that offense) in about 4-6 months, although it could take up to one year to be properly sealed.

Nondisclosure Drawbacks & More Information

One drawback to a Motion of Nondisclosure is that certain agencies can still see the sealed offense. A Motion of Nondisclosure will not shield the offense from any agency listed within the statute as having the authority to view sealed records: mainly banks, education boards, licensing agencies, police, and prosecutors.

Internet Background Checks and Mugshots

Another drawback to a Motion of Nondisclosure is that we now live in a digital age where information is posted on websites, blogs, and online databases. Even after an offense is sealed, it is not a 100% guarantee that the offense will be hidden from the public. Still, it remains the best method by which to seal a criminial offense in Texas for those who have successfully complete Deferred Adjudication.

Eligibility Depends on Case

Another limitation to a Motion of Nondisclosure is that not all offenses are eligible -- even if the case was dismissed after a successful discharge of Deferred Adjudication. For instance, any Domestic family Assault case cannot be sealed through a Motion of Nondisclosure, depsite the case being dismissed and regardless of whether there was a finding of Family Violence.

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  • DWI Not Guilty at Trial
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  • DWI 2nd (Drugs): Dismissed
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  • Felony Theft of Stolen Property: Dismissed
  • Assault, Bodily Injury: Jury Trial: NOT GUILTY
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