What is a Non-Disclosure?
A non-disclosure is when you are trying to seal your criminal record due to the successful completion of deferred adjudication for an eligible offense. The most common crimes that are not eligible for non-disclosure are the following: Capital Murder, Murder, Sexual Offenses, Aggravated Kidnapping, Injury to children or the elderly, Violation of Protective Order, and Assault-Family Violence. In addition, certain misdemeanors require a two-year waiting period from your date of discharge. There is a five-year waiting period for felonies.
Sealing Your Record in Fort Worth
If you do qualify for non-disclosure, you need a Criminal Attorney in Fort Worth, such as the criminal attorneys with the Fulgham Law Firm, to file a petition for non-disclosure. If the judge signs the order, the clerk must send a copy of the order to the Crime Records Service of the Department of Public Safety within 15 business days.
The Texas Department of Public Safety must seal any criminal history information within ten days of receiving the order and send the order or information to state officials and entities. The State Officials and Entities must seal any criminal history record information within 30 business days of receiving the order from the court clerk. Texas Government Code §411.081 explains in detail the right to a non-disclosure.
Why is Non-Disclosure Important?
The dichotomy between those who classify job seekers as either “convicted” or “not convicted” has given rise to an economic and social problem across the country — about 60 million Americans with criminal records cannot find jobs.
While there are many reasons that employers may not want to hire those with past convictions, these people-once free of their beliefs, will be able at last to prove themselves as trustworthy, dependable employees. This kind of step for those desiring employment will affect their future significantly by reducing recidivism and increasing employability and earning potential.
What is Record Sealing?
When a person or organization is accused of violating the law, they may be charged with a crime. If you are accused of a crime, you have certain rights granted to you by the court that govern how your case will proceed.
Assuming your criminal case is resolved in a manner that makes you eligible, one option provided to you by the law is to have your record sealed after your case has been resolved. This means that a judge will hide all documents related to your criminal case from public view.
When your record is concealed in this manner, it cannot be viewed by potential employers, landlords, or others who could make decisions based on its contents.
Being denied employment because of a previous criminal conviction or arrest is more likely for African American and Hispanic applicants. Research also reveals that it is more difficult for ex-offenders to secure jobs, find housing, finance education, or secure government services.
If you are facing allegations of wrongdoing, then the importance of having your record sealed should be of paramount importance to you. Not only does it guarantee protection from potential employers viewing your file who its contents might influence – but losing the protection afforded by the law can prevent you from accessing school loans or government services.
Therefore, it is essential to ensure that any information regarding an alleged crime remains hidden until hiring decisions have been made to discourage others from taking a chance on someone with this stigma attached.
Non-Disclosure, Expungement, and Record Sealing: What You Should Know
The primary difference between a non-disclosure and an expunction is that an expunction destroys all records associated with the arrest and criminal case; while a non-disclosure seals all records associated with the arrest and criminal case from public view.
How do you know which option you qualify for? The primary determination of your qualification will be based upon how you resolved your criminal case. It is critical that you consult with an attorney specializing in this specific are of criminal law. An experienced criminal defense attorney can tell you what each process entails for each type of case and make some suggestions on whether it’s worth pursuing either one of these options.
An important distinction between an expunction and non-disclosure is that even if your record is sealed through a non-disclosure, there are some agencies and licensing boards that still may have access to your criminal file. For instance, if you have had your criminal record sealed through a non-disclosure, licensing boards (doctors/nurses/lawyers/real estate agents) and government benefits applications will still have access to the file and may take your previous criminal charges into consideration in granting you a license or government benefits. Otherwise, you are legally permitted to deny the charges ever existed if you have successfully had your criminal records sealed through a non-disclosure.
If you criminal case was dismissed, you may have the option of having your criminal records expunged if your case was dismissed or no billed by a grand jury. The process takes about three months after the appropriate forms are filed with the court, and there is a small fee associated with that. If you don’t have any other convictions during this time, everything should go smoothly.
Limitations of Sealed Records, Non-Disclosures, and Expungement in Fort Worth County
However, a person who has had their record sealed will not work in law enforcement, medical care, public education, or any other position requiring a state license because the state agency denied their application. The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) can deny an applicant’s teaching certification in Texas when that applicant has been convicted of certain crimes (class A misdemeanors and above) even if records have been sealed.
People who have had a criminal record sealed by a non-disclosure in Fort Worth, Texas, may still be prosecuted under federal law or laws of other states where they committed or were accused of committing the crime(s). They will also not be able to seek specific licenses, such as becoming an attorney in the state of Texas. There are many jobs that people with sealed records cannot hold, including real estate brokers and security guards, among others.
Sealing and Expunging Records in Fort Worth, Texas, is not an easy process. There are many things that an individual must do before a criminal record can be sealed or expunged. Each state sets its requirements for sealing and expungement of criminal records. Even different counties within a state may have different rules regarding sealing and expunging criminal records.
The State of Texas allows the record to be sealed if the criminal case was resolved by deferred adjudication and if the terms and conditions of the deferred adjudication were successfully completed. Alternatively, you will qualify for an expunction if you are found not guilty at a criminal jury trial. Yet, for a record to be deleted, it must have been rejected by the court. Failing to resolve your criminal case in a manner that makes you eligible for an expunction or sealing of records by a non-disclosure can keep you from employment, education, housing opportunities, and other vital things in life.
How To Qualify for Record Sealing
The State of Texas provides a way for people with certain types of criminal records to have them sealed from all public access and to have those records hidden from public view.
To be able to petition the courts to seal a criminal record in Fort Worth, Texas, a person must not have been convicted of any crime other than a Class C misdemeanor for the past five years.
A person cannot have been convicted of another offense during this period. If you are currently on probation, all terms and conditions must be complete before petitioning the court to seal your record.
If the petition is granted, your criminal record will be sealed, and a new non-public file will be created containing only a reference to the original offense, along with a note that the records have been sealed.
Fort Worth Attorney Handling Non-Disclosures:
Do I Have a Right to Non-Disclosure?
Generally, there are six requirements under the Government Code §411.081 to file for a non-disclosure, including:
- You were placed on deferred adjudication probation under article 42.12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
- You were discharged and dismissed under article 42.12, §5(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
- The petition was filed after the waiting period (if any).
- During your period of community supervision and the applicable waiting period, you were not convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication under article 42.12 §5 for any offense other than an offense punishable by fine only; and
- You were not placed on deferred adjudication and were not previously convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for offenses under section §411.081 (e) of the Government Code.
- Non-Disclosure is in the best interest of justice.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Fort Worth, Arlington, or the surrounding city and you completed deferred adjudication, you may be entitled to a non-disclosure. If you know or are not sure if you qualify for non-disclosure, call me, a Fort Worth Criminal Attorney, and I will answer any questions you might have.
Contact my Fort Worth office now at 817-886-3078 for a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Non-Disclosure Attorney.
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