Orders of Nondisclosure in Texas | Seal your Criminal Record

Record Clearing

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In Texas, an Order of Nondisclosure is a court order that seals from the public all records related to a Texas criminal arrest and prosecution. Getting your record nondisclosed won’t make the records go away entirely, as law enforcement and certain public and quasi-public agencies will still have access to the records. But obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure may help you get jobs, qualify for apartments, and live more happily.

The Texas Nondisclosure law was updated in 2015, 2017, and 2019. Among other changes, these amendments expanded nondisclosure eligibility. The changes applied retroactively to older cases. Also, some offenses now are “automatically” (but actually not automatically) nondisclosed.

Under the law that was in effect until 2015, the only time you could get an offense nondisclosed was when you had received (and successfully completed) deferred adjudication probation. However, beginning in 2015, the law provided nondisclosure eligibility provisions even if you had not received deferred probation. Originally, the 2015 expansion applied only to offenses that had occurred after 2015.

Beginning in 2017, the offense date does not matter for the purposes of nondisclosure eligibility. Additionally, under the amendments made in 2017, some DWI convictions are eligible for nondisclosure under certain circumstances. The 2019 changes primarily addressed nondisclosure laws for victims of trafficking offenses.

Do you need to seal your Texas criminal record with an Order of Nondisclosure? Book a consultation to discuss nondisclosures with attorneys Paul Saputo and Nicholas Toufexis today.

Am I eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure?

There are ten categories of nondisclosure eligibility circumstances under the current Nondisclosure law. The categories are as follows:

The Section 411.074 Limitation

Under the law provided in Gov. Code §411.074, you are not eligible for a nondisclosure if you were convicted of or placed on deferred probation for any offense (other than a traffic ticket) while you were on probation, after the court pronounced sentence or during any applicable waiting period. In addition, this provision disqualifies you from receiving an order of nondisclosure if you have even been convicted of or placed on deferred probation for: (1) a registrable sex offense; (2) any Aggravated Kidnapping offense; (3) Murder, Capital Murder, Trafficking of Persons, Continuous Trafficking of Persons, Injury to a Child, Abandoning or Endangering a Child, Violation of Certain Court Orders or Conditions of Bond in a Family Violence, Sexual Assault or Abuse, Stalking, or Trafficking Case, Repeated Violation of Certain Court Orders or Conditions of Bond in Family Violence, Sexual Assault or Abuse Stalking, or Trafficking Case or Stalking; or (4) any other offense involving family violence. Also, §411.074 gives the judge considering your petition for nondisclosure the authority to deny your petition by making a finding that the offense involved family violence, even if there was no such finding at the time you entered the plea or were convicted.

Just because you are eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure does not mean you are guaranteed an Order of Nondisclosure. Most of the eligibility categories still require a judge to find that the Nondisclosure is in the best interest of justice.

Eligibility Categories

“Automatic” Nondisclosure for Certain Misdemeanor Deferred Dismissals

Created in 2015, the requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that you (1) received deferred adjudication probation for a misdemeanor, (2) the misdemeanor was not a prohibited misdemeanor (a misdemeanor under Penal Code chapters 20 (including Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint and Smuggling of Persons), 22 (“assaultive offenses”), 21 (sexual offenses), 25, 42, 43, 46, or 71, or a misdemeanor in which there was an affirmative finding that it would not be in best interest of justice for you to receive a nondisclosure), and (3) you have never been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense other than a traffic offense that is punishable by fine only.[1]

One important note about these types of nondisclosures, the “automatic” nondisclosure doesn’t automatically happen. It is important to note that the law says that you must present “any evidence necessary to establish” that you are eligible for an automatic nondisclosure.[2] In addition, you have to meet the requirements of Section 411.074.[3]

If a judge did find that it would not be in best interest of justice for you to receive a nondisclosure when you plead, you can still apply for a nondisclosure under the standard nondisclosure for dismissals as described below.[4]

Standard Nondisclosure for Deferred Dismissals

The requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that you (1) received deferred adjudication probation (for either a misdemeanor or a felony), (2) you are not eligible for a nondisclosure under 411.072, (3) you have obtained a discharge and dismissal, and (3) you meet the requirements of Section 411.074.[5]

Nondisclosure after Deferred Dismissals for Certain DWI and BWI cases

The requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that (1) you received deferred adjudication for a PC §49.04 or 49.06 offense, (2) there was no affirmative finding under Article 42A.105(f) filed, (3) you received a discharge and dismissal, (4) you meet the requirements of Section 411.074 and (5) you have never been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for another offense, other than a traffic offense that is punishable by fine only.[6] Additionally, the court may not issue an order of nondisclosure under this provision if the state’s attorney can present evidence that shows the court that the offense resulted in a motor vehicle collision involving another person.[7] You are only eligible to file for a nondisclosure under this provision two years after the date of dismissal.[8]

Nondisclosure after Veterans Treatment Court

The requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that you (1) successfully completed a veterans treatment court program, (2) meet the 411.074 requirements, (3) have never been previously convicted of an offense listed in Code of Criminal Procedure Article 42A.054(a) or a sexually violent offense, and (4) have not been convicted of any felony offense between the date on which the person successfully completed the program and the second anniversary of that date.[9] You are only eligible to file for a nondisclosure under this provision two years after the date that you successfully completed the program.[10] Furthermore, you are not entitled to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information under this section if your entry into the veterans treatment court program arose as the result of a conviction of an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.[11]

Sex Trafficking Victim Nondisclosures after Judicial Clemency

The requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that you (1) were convicted of Prostitution, (2) were placed on probation and (3) the conviction was set aside through judicial clemency.[12] In addition to meeting the 411.074 requirement, the law says that the petition must be “on the grounds that the person committed the offense solely as a victim of trafficking of persons.”[13]

Nondisclosures for Vetarans after Reemployment Program

The requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that you successfully completed a veterans reemployment program and all other conditions of the community supervision.[14] The 411.074 requirement still applies as well.

Nondisclosure after Straight Probation for Certain Misdemeanors

The requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that (1) you were convicted and placed on probation for a misdemeanor, (2) the misdemeanor was not a prohibited misdemeanor (a misdemeanor under Section 106.041, Alcoholic Beverage Code, Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065, Penal Code, or Chapter 71, Penal Code), (3) you completed the period of community supervision and it was not revoked, (4) you have never been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense other than an offense under the Transportation Code that is punishable by fine only, and (5) you meet the requirements of Section 411.074.[15]

Nondisclosure after DWI Probation

In 2017, the legislature created a new category of nondisclosure eligibility for DWI probation cases. Prior to this, there was no way to nondisclose any DWI convictions.

The rules for this new category of nondisclosure eligibility are somewhat complex. First of all, the DWI conviction had to be a DWI 1st without the enhancement for alcohol concentration levels of 0.15 or more.[16] You must have spent at least some time on community supervision (there is a separate category of nondisclosures available for DWI convictions resulting in jail time only – see below).[17] Your community supervision must not have been revoked, and it must be entirely completed, including payment of all fines and court costs.[18] All of the requirements imposed by 411.074 (discussed above) must be met,[19] and you must never have been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense (other than a traffic ticket).[20] Finally, the state can prevent you from obtaining the nondisclosure if the DWI resulted in a motor vehicle accident involving another person, including a passenger in a motor vehicle operated by the person seeking the order of nondisclosure.[21] So, if there was an accident you can still qualify so long as you didn’t hit another vehicle (with a person inside of it) and you didn’t have a passenger.

Along with these eligibility requirements, there is a waiting period of either two years or five years after discharge from probation. Learn about the applicable waiting period below

Nondisclosure after Confinement for Certain Misdemeanors

The requirements for this category of nondisclosure eligibility are that (1) you were convicted, ineligible for nondisclosure under 411.073, and released from confinement (under the 2017 update in HB 3016, there is no requirement that you were sentenced to confinement but all fines, costs, and restitution imposed must have been paid[22]), (2) the misdemeanor was not a prohibited misdemeanor (a misdemeanor under Section 106.041, Alcoholic Beverage Code, Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065, Penal Code, or Chapter 71, Penal Code), (3) you are not eligible under 411.073, (4) you have never been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense other than a traffic offense that is punishable by fine only (under the 2017 update in HB 3016, the exception applies only to traffic ticket instead of all Transportation Code offenses[23]), and (5) you meet the requirements of Section 411.074.[24]

Under the 2017 update in HB 3016, a court may not issue an order of nondisclosure if the court determines that the offense for which the order is sought, other than an offense under Section 22.01, Penal Code, was violent or sexual in nature.[25] This does not prevent you from applying, but if a judge makes this determination after you have petitioned the court, the court can deny the nondisclosure to you.

Nondisclosure after DWI Jail Sentences

The legislature also created a new category of nondisclosure eligibility for DWI jail cases in 2017. Prior to this, there was no way to nondisclose any DWI convictions.

In order to qualify under this eligibility category, the DWI conviction had to be a DWI 1st (not a DWI 2nd or 3rd or more).[26] You must not be eligible under 411.0731 (described above – it’s the DWI probation eligibility section).[27] Your sentence must be entirely completed, including payment of all fines and court costs.[28] All of the requirements imposed by §411.074 must be met and you must never have been previously convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for another offense (other than a traffic ticket).[29] Finally, the state can prevent you from obtaining the nondisclosure if the DWI resulted in a motor vehicle accident involving another person, including a passenger in a motor vehicle operated by the person seeking the order of nondisclosure.[30] So, if there was an accident you can still qualify so long as you didn’t hit another vehicle (with a person inside of it) and you didn’t have a passenger.

Along with these eligibility requirements, there is a waiting period of either three years or five years after the completion of your sentence.

How do I get an Order of Nondisclosure?

Under most circumstances, you have to file a Petition for and Order of Nondisclosure and pay a fee. However, for 411.072 nondisclosures, you only have to provide evidence and make a request for a nondisclosure. Do not try to do the petition for a nondisclosure on your own. Certain forms found on the internet or provided by courts have language that may not cover your particular situation, and in many cases there are important pieces missing that might leave portions of your record unsealed.

Also under most circumstances, you have to provide notice to the state, set a hearing date, convince the judge that you are entitled to file the petition and that issuance of the order is in the best interest of justice. Not all judges make this easy. If you are unable to do this, the clerk may not refund your filing fee, and you may be unable to petition the court again for some time.

Who can still see my record?

The court may disclose information contained in the court records that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information only to: (1) criminal justice agencies for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes; (2) an agency or entity listed in Section 411.0765; or (3) the person who is the subject of the order.[31] Under Section 411.0765, law enforcement entities may disclose criminal history record information that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure to other criminal justice agencies and the noncriminal justice agencies listed in subsection (b) of Section 411.0765.

Furthermore, since 2017, law enforcement entities may disclose criminal history record information that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure for the purpose of complying with a requirement under federal law or if federal law requires the disclosure as a condition of receiving federal highway funds.[32]

Can a judge deny my petition for Nondisclosure?

Except for “Automatic” nondisclosures, you have to convince the court that it is in the best interest of justice to grant your petition for Nondisclosure. Each category of nondisclosure requires the court to find that issuance of the order is in the best interest of justice. So yes, a judge may deny your petition if the court finds that issuance of the order is not in the best interest of justice.

In addition, if you have not provided the correct information or you have relied on the wrong category of eligibility or you have drafted the petition and order incorrectly, a court may not grant your petition. And of course, the court will not grant your petition if you are not eligible.

Is there a waiting period to petition the court for Nondisclosure?

There are waiting periods required before filing a petition for an order of nondisclosure under many circumstances. The applicable waiting period depends on the particular category of eligibility in addition to the type of offense.

For “automatic” nondisclosures under Section 411.072: there is a 180-day waiting period from the date of the beginning of community supervision.[33]

For standard nondisclosures under Section 411.0725 (offense date on or after September 1, 2015): there is a five-year waiting period (after discharge and dismissal) for felonies, and (2) there is a two-year waiting period for misdemeanors under Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, 43 or 46, Penal Code; there are no waiting periods on other misdemeanors.[34] Note that Chapter 43 is included here, but not in the two-year waiting period under the old law.

For sex trafficking victim nondisclosures under Section 411.0728: there is no waiting period, but the conviction must have already been set aside.[35]

For nondisclosures after straight probation under Section 411.073: there is a two-year waiting period for misdemeanors under Chapter 20, 21, 22, 25, 42, 43 or 46, Penal Code; there are no waiting periods on other misdemeanors.[36]

For nondisclosures after DWI Probation under Section 411.0731: there is a waiting period of either two years or five years after the date of discharge from community supervision. If an interlock ignition device (aka a deep lung device) was required as a condition of probation for six months or more, then the waiting period is only two years.[37] If not, the waiting period is five years.[38]

For nondisclosures after confinement under Section 411.0735: there is a two-year waiting period after release from confinement under the 2015 law.[39] However, in the 2017 update in HB 3016, you can petition for nondisclosure immediately after you completed your sentence if the offense was a misdemeanor punishable by fine only.[40] Otherwise, the two year waiting period is still applicable.[41]

For nondisclosures after DWI Jail Sentences under Section 411.0736: there is a waiting period of either three years or five years after the date of completion of the sentence. If an interlock ignition device (aka a deep lung device) was required as a condition of the sentence for six months or more, then the waiting period is only three years.[42] If not, the waiting period is five years.[43]

How much does it cost to petition the court for an Order of Nondisclosure?

County clerks are required to charge the “fee that generally applies to the filing of a civil case.”[44] However, for “automatic” nondisclosures, clerks are authorized to charge only $28 before processing the order.[45]

Lawyers will also usually charge a fee to draft the documents.

What changed in the 2015 law?

The 2015 law added several additional categories of eligibility for orders of nondisclosure. The old law made it crystal clear that you would only be eligible for an order of nondisclosure if you had received deferred adjudication probation. You also needed to have successfully completed the deferred probation, obtained a discharge and dismissal and waited for the required amount of time after you completed the probation.

The 2015 law created several additional categories of eligibility scenarios. The categories created under the 2015 law were as follows:

The new categories of eligibility were initially only applicable to offenses occurring on or after September 1, 2015.[46] However, this limitation was repealed 2017.[47]

The 2015 law also excluded any offense where the court made an affirmative finding that the offense involved family violence.[48] Additionally, the 2015 law added two new types of employers to the list of noncriminal justice agencies who are eligible to receive records that are otherwise sealed by an order of nondisclosure: certain banks (designated at Section 411.0765(b)(30)) and certain businesses dealing with hazardous, explosive, combustible, or flammable materials (designated at Section 411.0765(b)(31)).

What changed in the 2017 law?

In 2017, the legislature amended the Texas nondisclosure law to allow some people who have been convicted of DWI to petition for an order of nondisclosure. These changes took effect September 1, 2017.[49] There are separate eligibility rules for people who have successfully completed DWI probation and for people who were sentenced to jail or otherwise did not successfully complete the probation.

A very important change in the new law is that the almost of the eligibility rules, including the new rules created in 2015, are now applicable retroactively, meaning that even people with older cases can get their records nondisclosed so long as they meet any of the eligibility standards.[50]

Law enforcement may also share otherwise sealed information with federal agencies for the purpose of complying with a requirement under federal law or if federal law requires the disclosure as a condition of receiving federal highway funds.

Some of the rules related to nondisclosure after confinement situations have been updated as well. Judges can make a finding that a misdemeanor was violent or sexual in nature and prevent you from obtaining a nondisclosure under Section 411.0735. But you are now also immediately eligible for nondisclosure under this this section after completion of the sentence if the offense was punishable by fine only.

The legislature also amended Section 411.074 in 2017 as follows:[51]

(1) the person requests the order of nondisclosure was convicted or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for, or the person has been previously convicted of or placed on any other deferred adjudication community supervision for:

(A) an offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;

(B) an offense under Section 20.04, Penal Code, regardless of whether the offense is a reportable conviction or adjudication for purposes of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;

(C) an offense under Section 19.02, 19.03, 20A.02, 20A.03, 22.04, 22.041, 25.07, 25.072, or 42.072, Penal Code; or

(D) any other offense involving family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code; or

(2) the court makes an affirmative finding that the offense for which the order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information is requested involved family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code.


^1. Gov. Code §411.072(a)(1)&(2), as amended by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 2^2. Gov. Code §411.072(c)^3. Gov. Code §411.072(b)^4. Gov. Code §411.072(d), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 2^5. Gov. Code §411.0725(a)&(b)^6. Gov. Code §411.0726(a)&(b)^7. Gov. Code §411.0726(e)^8. Gov. Code §411.0726(f)^9. Gov. Code §411.0727(a) & (b)^10. Gov. Code §411.0727(d)^11. Gov. Code §411.0727(e)^12 Gov. Code §411.0728(a)&(d)^13. Gov. Code §411.0728(b)^14. Gov. Code §411.0729(b)^15. Gov. Code §411.0723(a) & (b)^16. Gov. Code §411.0731(a), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^17. Gov. Code §411.0731(a)(1), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^18. Gov. Code §411.0731(b), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^19. Gov. Code §411.0731(b)(1), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^20. Gov. Code §411.0731(b)(2), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^21. Gov. Code §411.0731(d), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^22. Gov. Code §411.0735, as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 5^23. Gov. Code §411.0735(b)(2), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 5^24. Gov. Code §411.0735(a)&(b)^25. Gov. Code §411.0735(c-1), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 5^26. Gov. Code §411.0736(a)(1), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 6^27. Gov. Code §411.0736(a)(2), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 6^28. Gov. Code §411.0736(b), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 6^29. Gov. Code §411.0736(b)(1) & (b)(2), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 6^30. Gov. Code §411.0736(e), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 6^31. Gov. Code §411.076^32. Gov. Code §411.0765(a)(5), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 8^33. Gov. Code §411.072(b)(1)-(2)^34. Gov. Code §411.0725(b)(1)-(3)^35. Gov. Code §411.0728(d)^36. Gov. Code §411.073(d)(1)-(2)^37. Gov. Code §411.0731(f)(1), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^38. Gov. Code §411.0731(f)(2), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 4^39. Gov. Code §411.0735(d)^40. Gov. Code §411.0735(d)(1), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 5^41. Gov. Code §411.0735(d)(2), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 5^42. Gov. Code §411.0736(f)(1), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 6^43. Gov. Code §411.0736(f)(2), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 6^44. Gov. Code §411.0745(b); also see Gov. Code §411.081(f-1)^45. Gov. Code §411.072(c)^46. SB 1902, 84th Legislature, Section 32^47. Gov. Code §411.0716, as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 1 §411.0716(b) limits the §411.072 “automatic nondisclosure” to probation discharges that occur after the effective date of the law. This effective date limitation does not apply to any of the other new conviction eligibility scenarios.

HB 3016 repealed the requirement that the eligibility categories created in 2015 only apply to offenses committed on or after September 1, 2015. So §411.0716 is the only law in effect controlling the offense date limitation^48. SB 1902, 84th Legislature, Section 32^49. HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 13^50. HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 11^51. Gov. Code §411.074(e), as enacted by HB 3016, 85th Legislature, Section 7


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