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WHAT IS AN EXPUNCTION?

An expunction deletes and destroys all records of the arrest.

WHAT IS A NON-DISCLOSURE?

A non-disclosure seals the records from the general public. This relief is generally available to those who successfully completed deferred adjudication probation.

WASN'T MY RECORD AUTOMATICALLY CLEARED WHEN MY CASE WAS DISMISSED, OR WHEN I WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY?

Many people mistakenly believe that arrest records on their criminal history are automatically removed or sealed when they are found not guilty or a case is dismissed or declined. Some even believe that the records are cleared if they've successfully completed deferred adjudication probation.

The truth is that an arrest will remain a matter of public record and show up in background checks and online database searches. The only way to stop that is to get an order granting expunction or nondisclosure.

IF I HAVE MY CRIMINAL RECORD SEALED WITH A NONDISCLOSURE, IS IT BLOCKED FROM EVERYONE, OR CAN SOME PEOPLE STILL ACCESS MY CRIMINAL HISTORY?

The non-disclosure statute provides that some non-law enforcement entities may still have access to your records even if they've been sealed by a non-disclosure. These are listed in the statute:

1. the State Board for Educator Certification;

2. a school district, charter school, private school, regional education service center, commercial transportation company, or education shared service arrangement;

3. the Texas Medical Board;

4. the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;

5. the Board of Law Examiners;

6. the State Bar of Texas;

7. a district court regarding a petition for name change under Subchapter B, Chapter 45, Family Code;

8. the Texas School for the Deaf;

9. the Department of Family and Protective Services;

10. the Texas Youth Commission;

11. the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;

12. the Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local mental retardation authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or retardation;

13. the Texas Private Security Board;

14. a municipal or volunteer fire department;

15. the Texas Board of Nursing;

16. a safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations;

17. a public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district;

18. the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission;

19. the securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and mortgage lending commissioner, the consumer credit commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;

20. the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;

21. the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;

22. the Health and Human Services Commission;

23. the Department of Aging and Disability Services;

24. the Texas Education Agency;

25. the Guardianship Certification Board;

26. a county clerk's office in relation to a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian under Chapter XIII, Texas Probate Code;

27. the Department of Information Resources but only regarding an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer who provides network security services under Chapter 2059 to:

28. the Department of Information Resources; or

29. a contractor or subcontractor of the Department of Information Resources;

30. the Court Reporters Certification Board;

31. the Texas Department of Insurance

32. the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

A sealed criminal record may also appear on federal and state background checks for jobs, permits, and especially jobs that require licensing.