A criminal record follows you beyond your last day in jail and past the length of your parole. Job opportunities, civil rights and other privileges may disappear after you commit a crime. In some cases, judges may sentence a person to deferred adjudication. This often places a person on probation and defers the guilty plea, hence not making it a conviction. To fight for your rights and freedoms, you can file for an order of nondisclosure.

What is a nondisclosure?

The Texas Courts define an order of nondisclosure as a court order that prohibits public agencies from disclosing certain aspects of a criminal record. Under this order, courts, prosecutor’s offices, law enforcement agencies and other entities cannot disclose information related to the offense under the nondisclosure. While your records are still accessible for criminal justice agencies, you do not have to disclose your criminal record.

How does a nondisclosure help?

Disclosing that you have a criminal record can bar you from many jobs. When an employer sees the record on your application, he or she will most likely put it aside automatically, never taking a second glance at your qualifications. If you have a nondisclosure, you do not have an obligation to answer those questions or speak about your criminal record.

How do you qualify for a nondisclosure?

The first step in discovering whether you qualify for an order of nondisclosure is to apply for such an order. Eligibility requirements include placement on deferred adjudication community supervision and completion of the deferred adjudication. You cannot have a conviction for the crime.

There is a waiting period if you find out that you are eligible for an order of nondisclosure. You have to wait between two and five years after your dismissal to receive an order of nondisclosure. If it was a felony charge, you wait five years, whereas misdemeanors are two years.