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How can criminal record non-disclosure help you?
February 28, 2022 at 5:00 AM
A probate lawyer in Houston

A criminal record can present serious obstacles for you in numerous critical areas of life. But there may be something you can do to overcome it.

In certain cases, it’s possible for you to remove prior arrests and criminal cases from your record, though this option isn’t available to everyone. It’s not the only way to keep this record out of your way, however. Under some circumstances, you may be able to seal the record and prevent the disclosure of details about arrests and cases you’ve been involved in.

In this blog post, we’ll give an overview of criminal record non-disclosure, including some of its benefits for you, who’s eligible to pursue this option, and what the non-disclosure filing process looks like.

The benefits of criminal record non-disclosure

Criminal record non-disclosure is most helpful when applying for jobs and other important parts of life like housing. When completing these applications, you may sometimes be required to disclose information about your criminal background, including prior arrests and convictions. Non-disclosure allows you to legally abstain from providing this information.

Even if you were never actually convicted of a crime, the associated charge will still appear on your criminal record. Although it’s theoretically possible to get these kinds of details removed from your record, it may not happen in every case. Criminal record non-disclosure offers a viable alternative.

Keeping your record sealed is not effectively the same as removing it from your record. Although employers may never have to know about your criminal record, law enforcement and government entities will still be able to view it.

Who’s eligible for criminal record non-disclosure?

There are two types of non-disclosure in Texas. The one you qualify for, if you qualify for either type, depends on what part of your record you’re attempting to seal.

You’ll receive automatic non-disclosure if:

  • Your charge is a first-time misdemeanor other than a traffic violation
  • The charge occurred after September 1st, 2015
  • The case resulted in deferred adjudication and ended in discharge or dismissal

If you don’t meet all three of the above criteria, you can attempt non-disclosure with petition. Similarly to record expunction, you’ll need to file a petition to have a specific charge removed from your record. Note, though, that a singular petition only covers one charge on your record, not several. You should consult an attorney to determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements for this petition.

How do you file for non-disclosure?

For felonies and certain misdemeanors, you’ll have to wait for a certain period of time before filing your petition for non-disclosure. For these misdemeanors, the waiting period is two years. For felonies, it’s five years. Anything else won’t require a waiting period.

If you’ve determined that you’re eligible to file, you’ll need to get a set of documents ready. These include:

  • A certified copy of the judgement in your case
  • A signed order from a judge for your early termination or reduced period of deferred adjudication, probation, or confinement
  • A signed order indicating your completed deferred adjudication or probation
  • A discharge or dismissal order

You’ll also need to be prep