Texas Nondisclosure Law Changes

Criminal LawIn Texas, an order of nondisclosure from a Texas Court serves to seal all records related to an arrest or prosecution, so that the public has no access. The order of nondisclosure may still be viewed by law enforcement officers, and some state agencies, but is not accessible by potential employers and landlords.

In the current legislative session, Texas legislators have made extensive changes to the state’s nondisclosure laws. Among the most important changes in HB 3016 is the provision that provides for the sealing of a DWI conviction. Before the enactment of the new law, a DWI conviction could not be sealed in Texas. In fact, DWIs were specifically exempted from those offenses that could be subject to nondisclosure. It’s important to understand, though, that not all DWIs are eligible for nondisclosure. There are separate rules, based on whether the applicant completed DWI probation or not.

In addition, the new law is retroactive, so that any new categories subject to nondisclosure are not tied any specific date. A conviction or arrest can be sealed regardless of when it happened. The applicant must, however, meet all other requirements for nondisclosure.

The new law also makes some nondisclosures “automatic,” but still requires the applicant to submit paperwork and make the request for nondisclosure. For example, you can be immediately eligible for nondisclosure after completion of your sentence if the only punishment was a fine.

The revised statute also allows state law enforcement officials to share sealed information with federal agencies under specific guidelines.

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