Sealing Criminal Records in Texas
TEXAS CRIMINAL RECORDS
ARE DEFERRED ADJUDICATION RECORDS PUBLIC?
Yes. Many people mistakenly believe that deferred adjudication records are removed from a defendant's criminal history upon successful conclusion of the community supervision (probation) period, however the law does not provide for automatic expunction of deferred adjudication records.
CAN DEFERRED ADJUDICATION RECORDS BE MADE NON-PUBLIC?
Yes, in some instances. The way that deferred adjudication community supervision records can be made non-public for certain Class B misdemeanors, Class A misdemeanors, or felony offenses is by filing a Petition for Non-Disclosure. Under Section 411.081(d), Government Code, a court can prohibit criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to certain offenses for which the offender was placed on deferred adjudication. This procedure, however, is unavailable for many offenses. Furthermore, if a defendant commits an offense after the deferred adjudication has been completed and before filing the petition, a defendant may be disqualified.
FOR WHICH OFFENSES IS THIS PROCEDURE UNAVAILABLE?
Under Section 411.081(e)(1)-(4), Government Code, anyone who has ever committed any of the following offenses (including as the offense for which the defendant received deferred adjudication) is not eligible to seek an order of nondisclosure:
* Indecency with a child* Sexual assault* Aggravated sexual assault* Prohibited sexual conduct (incest)* Aggravated kidnapping* Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit any of the above offenses* Compelling prostitution* Sexual performance by a child* Possession or promotion of child pornography* Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping of a person younger than 17 years of age* Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses* Capital murder* Murder* Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual* Abandoning or endangering a child* Violation of protective order or magistrate's order* Stalking* Any other offense involving family violence
WHICH DEFENDANTS ARE DISQUALIFIED FROM SEEKING AN ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE?
Any defendant who, after the date of discharge and dismissal, has been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense other than a traffic offense punishable by fine only.
WHEN CAN AN OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE DEFENDANT SEEK AN ORDER OF NON-DISCLOSURE?
Under Section 411.081(d), the defendant has to wait a certain period of time after the date of discharge and dismissal before filing a petition for an order of nondisclosure.
All felonies -- 5 years from date of discharge and dismissal.
The following misdemeanors -- 2 years from date of discharge and dismissal:
* Abuse of corpse* Advertising for placement of child* Aiding suicide* Assault* Bigamy* Cruelty to animals* Deadly conduct* Destruction of flag* Discharge of firearm* Disorderly conduct* Disrupting meeting or procession* Dog fighting* False alarm or report* Harassment* Harboring runaway child* Hoax bombs* Indecent exposure* Interference with emergency telephone call* Leaving a child in a vehicle* Making a firearm accessible to a child * Obstructing highway or other passageway* Possession, manufacture, transport, repair or sale of switchblade knife or knuckles* Public lewdness* Riot* Silent or abusive calls to 9-1-1 service* Terroristic threat* Unlawful carrying of handgun by license holder* Unlawful carrying weapons* Unlawful possession of firearm* Unlawful restraint* Unlawful transfer of certain weapons* Violation of protective order preventing offense caused by bias or prejudice
All other misdemeanors -- May file immediately upon discharge and dismissal.
If you are eligible, it is important to file a Petition for Non-Disclosure. Unless there is a court order of non-disclosure directing otherwise, records of a prosecution resulting in a deferred adjudication are publicly available in the District Clerk's records and the Justice Information Management System (JIMS) database maintained by Harris County, Texas.
Contact Houston Criminal Attorney James Sullivan at (281) 546-6428 to have him draft and file a petition for non-disclosure of your adult records.