What is an Order of Nondisclosure?
A person who has successfully completed a deferred adjudication probation may eligible for an order of nondisclosure. If the person received straight probation (triggering a conviction), they are not eligible for a nondisclosure of criminal records. An order of nondisclosure basically prevents government agencies from publicly disclosing criminal history information resulting from the offense. The order also prevents the government from selling such information to private agencies such as PublicData.com, Accurint and many others. However, once an order of nondisclosure is granted, most private criminal history providers have already obtained such records from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). DPS is now require to notify such agencies of the order of nondisclosure.
When can you get an Order of Nondisclosure?
The criminal offense will determine whether a person is entitled to an order of nondisclosure and, if so, when such an order can be obtained. For most misdemeanors, a person may file a petition for an order of nondisclosure immediately after the discharge from probation and dismissal of the offense. However, some misdemeanors require a defendant to wait two years from the date of the dismissal. Those offenses include: unlawful restraint, public lewdness, indecent exposure, assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, disorderly conduct, harassment, unlawful carrying of a firearm, obstructing highway or other passageway, interference with emergency telephone call, stalking, and bigamy. During this two year period, the applicant must not have received anything more than a citation for a fine-only traffic offense. For most felony offenses, the applicant must wait five years from the date of the discharge and dismissal of the felony offense.
Who is eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure?
Not all defendants who successfully complete a deferred adjudication probation are entitled to an order of nondisclosure. A person is not eligible if they have ever been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for: an offense requiring registration as a sex offender, aggravated kidnapping, murder, capital murder, injury to a child/elderly/disabled individual, abandoning or endangering a child, violations of a protective order or magistrate’s order, or any offense involving family violence.
Why get an Order of Nondisclosure?
Obtaining an order of nondisclosure is very advantageous. A person who receives an order of nondisclosure my deny having been arrested or prosecuted for the offense, unless the information is being used against the person in a subsequent criminal proceeding. Remember, an order of nondisclosure does not require the government to destroy the information. The information may be released to criminal justice agencies, non-criminal justice agencies authorized by statute or executive order to receive criminal history record information, and the person who is the subject of the criminal history information.