If you look at some legal websites you might think you can clear your record any time you are placed on deferred adjudication, and successfully complete it. That is far from the truth. Not only are there some offenses that are are not eligible for a non-disclosure order, but a prior conviction for certain types of offense will prevent you from obtaining the order.
The following offenses are not eligible for an order of non-disclosure:
- 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
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
- Abandoning or endangering a child
- Violation of protective order or magistrate's order
- Any other offense involving family violence
You also can't obtain an order of non-disclosure if you have previously been convicted of one of the above offenses. This is why no lawyer should ever tell you they can obtain an order of non-disclosure for you before they find out your prior history criminal history. Just because you're eligible based on your current conviction, a prior conviction might make you ineligible.
You will see that one of the offenses listed above is family violence assault. We frequently have people requesting an order of non-disclosure where they were placed on deferred adjudication for an assault involving family violence. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do if you were placed were on deferred adjudication for that offense. You need to know that when you enter your plea - and understand that you aren't getting the same benefits from receiving deferred adjudication as other defendants.
Another thing that will keep you from obtaining an order of non-disclosure is getting convicted of - or placed on deferred adjudication - for a subsequent offense. Sometimes people will wait to obtain an order of non-disclosure, and not get it as soon as they are eligible. They then slip up and end up with another charge. Unfortunately, they have lost their chance of getting the order for the first case. However, if the new offense is not one of the offenses listed above, you can obtain an order of non-disclosure for the second case.
Before you go to the trouble of filing a petition for non-disclosure make sure you are familiar with the statute or talk with a lawyer who is. There's no reason to waste your money if you aren't going to be eligible. If you need advice about whether you qualify, contact our office for an honest, experienced opinion on your case at (254) 296-0020 or by filling out the contact form on this site.