Criminal Record Sealing

Life can be extremely difficult after dealing with criminal charges. Often offenders will have issues obtaining employment, finding housing or maintaining personal relationships because they have a marred criminal record. Thankfully, the state of Texas does give offenders a way to seal their criminal charges forever. The only way to seal your criminal record completely is to qualify and file for a petition of nondisclosure.

After you successfully file a petition of nondisclosure, it will mean only certain entities will have access to your past criminal record. Both the courts and law enforcement will be prohibited from disclosing any of your criminal history. Your employers and future landlords will no longer be able to pull up your charges or arrest with a simple background check. Only very few licensing agencies and public entities will be able to see your criminal history.

If you wish to file a petition for nondisclosure, it’s important you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to assist you.

Criminal Record Sealing Attorney in Houston, Texas

Sealing your criminal charges could significantly change your life for the better. Once the petition of nondisclosure is filed, you will no longer be required to answer “yes” when asked if you’ve ever been implicated in a crime. You can legally answer no and very few public entities will be able to access your criminal history, so you can finally move on from your prior arrest.

If you need legal representation, get in contact with The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm has handled both expunction and nondisclosure cases for years. He has an in-depth understanding of the procedures surrounding nondisclosure and can guide you through the process with ease. To get in contact with The Benken Law Firm, call (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first case review free.

The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County and Houston area including Alief, River Oaks, The Heights, Midtown, Westchase and Memorial Area.

Overview of Criminal Record Sealing in Texas

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How Do I Qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?

To seal your record, you will have to qualify first to file a petition for nondisclosure. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to have their records sealed. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, you are eligible to seal your criminal record if you were:

  • Put on deferred adjudication as a result of your criminal charges;
  • Completed your deferred adjudication successfully;
  • The waiting period to seek an order of nondisclosure has ended; and
  • You haven’t been convicted of any crimes during the time between your deferred adjudication and filing for an order of nondisclosure

You must wait a certain period of time before filing an order of nondisclosure. The wait times to file an order of nondisclosure depend on the type of crime you committed. These wait times include the following:

  • 5 years for a felony offense;
  • 2 years for any of the following:
    • Assaultive offenses;
    • Kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping;
    • Smuggling of persons;
    • Domestic violence offenses;
    • Unlawful restraint;
    • Sexual offenses;
    • Human trafficking;
    • Gambling;
    • Weapon offenses; or
    • Disorderly conduct
  • No wait time for a misdemeanor offense

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Who Can’t Seal Their Criminal Record in Texas?

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure doesn’t allow everyone to seal their record after they’ve received a deferred adjudication. Certain offenses under Texas Penal Code are disqualified from ever being sealed due to serious nature of the crime. If you have ever been put on deferred adjudication for the following, you cannot seal your criminal record.

  • Sexual performance by a child;
  • Indecency with a child;
  • Aggravated kidnapping with intent to commit sexual abuse;
  • Violating a protective order;
  • Abandoning or endangering a child;
  • Stalking;
  • Incest;
  • Indecent exposure;
  • Injury to a child or elderly person;
  • Burglary with intent to commit sexual abuse;
  • Compelling prostitution;
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography;
  • Repeat violations of bond conditions for a domestic violence case;
  • Any domestic violence offense;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Unlawful restraint, kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping of a person under 17 years old;
  • Online solicitation of a minor; and
  • Any offense where you must register as an ex offender.

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How Do I File for an Order of Nondisclosure in Texas?

The first step to file an order of nondisclosure is to fill out the appropriate forms, which can be found here. Once you’ve finished the forms, you must then file the petition with the clerk that handled your initial charges. It’s likely you’ll be required to pay a filing fee and once the petition has been filed the process of obtaining nondisclosure will begin.

The court will then schedule a hearing to discuss your order of nondisclosure. Notice of your hearing will be sent to the district attorney who tried you and they may attend the hearing if they want to contest it. The state will be required to send you notice of the hearing’s date within 45 days of filing your request for nondisclosure.

At the hearing, you will present your case as to why your criminal record should be sealed. If you fulfill the following requirements, then the judge will seal your criminal charges.

  • You have completed all your conditions for deferred adjudication;
  • You are eligible to have your record sealed; and
  • Issuing an order of nondisclosure is in the best interest of justice.

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Additional Resources

Order of Nondisclosure Overview – Visit the official website of Texas courts and access a document by the Office of Court Administration. Find more information about orders of nondisclosure, access to the form, the deferred adjudication process and more.

Expunction in Texas – Visit a document provided by the Texas Bar to learn more about expunctions in Texas. Access the document to learn more about the expunction process, how to apply for an expunction, and the actual form needed to file for expunction.

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Defense Lawyer for Nondisclosure Orders in Harris County, Texas

If you or someone you know was charged but not convicted for a crime, it’s crucial you contact an experienced defense attorney who has an in-depth knowledge on criminal procedures. An criminal record sealing defense lawyer can assess your case and determine if you’re eligible. They can then gather the information needed, file your petition and guide you through the process. To learn more, contact Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm who has helped numerous people seal or erase their criminal records completely

Call today at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule a free consultation. The Benken Law Firm practices law throughout the greater Harris County area as well as all parts of Texas.

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(713) 223 - 4051
Benken Law