Deferred Adjudication is a type of probation offered in some cases whereby a defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a criminal charge, but the judge never enters a finding of guilt as long as the person complies with all of the terms of probation. If you successfully finish the term of probation, then you have never been convicted of the crime. However, that does not mean you will have a clean criminal record regarding this offense. The arrest will remain on your record and the fact that you served a term of deferred adjudication probation will remain on your public record for the rest of your life unless you file a petition for non-disclosure and get a court order to seal the records for this offense from the public.
If you want to avoid the embarrassment of having to explain to potential landlords, potential employers, potential lenders, or anyone else that you were arrested and successfully served a term of deferred adjudication probation for the offense, then under some circumstances you can hire an attorney and petition the court to issue an "Order of Non-Disclosure." After a non-disclosure order is signed by a judge, the arrest and the deferred adjudication will still be visible on your criminal record to law enforcement and prosecutors and the courts; however, your record is sealed or hidden from potential employers or lenders and anyone else not affiliated with law enforcement or certain other authorized state and federal agencies.
Working with a lawyer, you may have a legal option to clear your record and protect your name. I can sit down with you, review your criminal record and provide clear guidance on what options are available.
Find Out if You Are Eligible for an Order of Non-Disclosure. Call my Georgetown office today at 512-630-3745 for a free telephone consultation. Let my office help you clear your record.
Procedures for Non-Disclosure of Deferred Adjudication Records
Q. Are deferred adjudication records public? A. Yes. Although there is a common misconception that deferred adjudication records are removed from a defendant's criminal history upon successful completion of the community supervision (probation) period, the law does not provide for automatic expunction or automatic sealing of deferred adjudication records. Your criminal history generally consists of the number of times you have been arrested, the crime(s) you were arrested for, and the number of times you have been convicted of a crime. If you successfully complete a deferred adjudication probation, then your history for this offense will show one arrest and zero convictions (since you are not convicted of the offense when you get a deferred adjudication probation).
Unless there is a court order to seal the records of your deferred adjudication, records of a prosecution resulting in a deferred adjudication are publicly available in the local District or County Clerk’s records in the county you got arrested in. Your record is also available from the Texas Crime Information Center, which provides information to Texas law enforcement personnel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your record is also available on the internet from any agency that has purchased the criminal records from the State of Texas.
Q. Can deferred adjudication records be made non-public by request? A. Yes, in some instances. There are two ways that deferred adjudication community supervision records can be made non-public:
(1) Class C deferred adjudications -- By filing a petition for expunction under Article 45.051(e), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (if the Class C deferred adjudication was imposed in a justice of the peace court or a municipal court); or by filing a petition for expunction under Article 55.01(a)(2), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (if the Class C deferred adjudication was imposed in a county or district court). Expunction is not available for deferred adjudication sentences for Class B, Class A, or felony offenses.
(2) Petition for nondisclosure – Under Section 411.081(d), Texas 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. There are many offenses, however, for which this procedure is not available. Moreover, a defendant may be disqualified if he commits another offense after the deferred adjudication has been successfully completed and before he gets around to filing the petition for nondisclosure.
Q. Which defendants are ineligible to seek an order of nondisclosure? A. Under Section 411.081(e)(1)-(4), Government Code, anyone who has ever committed any of the following offenses (including the offense for which the defendant got deferred adjudication) is not entitled to seek an order of nondisclosure:
Indecency with a child
Aggravated sexual assault
Prohibited sexual conduct (incest)
Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit any of the above offenses
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
Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
Abandoning or endangering a child
Violation of a protective order or magistrate's order
Any other offense involving family violence
Q. Which defendants are disqualified from seeking an order of nondisclosure? A. 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.See Section 411.081(e), Government Code.
Q.When is an otherwise eligible defendant allowed to seek an order of nondisclosure? A. 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 seeking an order of nondisclosure. The operative date is not the date that the defendant entered his plea and started the deferred adjudication period; it is the date that the deferred adjudication was completed.
Type of offense Waiting Period
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
Cruelty to animals
Destruction of flag
Discharge of firearm
Disrupting meeting or procession
False alarm or report
Harboring runaway child
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
Silent or abusive calls to 9-1-1 service
Unlawful carrying of handgun by license holder
Unlawful carrying weapons
Unlawful possession of firearm
Unlawful transfer of certain weapons
Violation of protective order preventing offense caused by bias or prejudice
All other misdemeanors: May file a motion for non-disclosure immediately upon discharge and dismissal, which is at the end of the deferred adjudication period.
In all of these petitions, you will need the following information:
* Identity of the original court and the cause number in which the deferred adjudication was imposed. * The date of the original plea of guilty or no contest. * The type of offense for which the defendant was placed on deferred adjudication. * The date when the court dismissed the proceedings and discharged the defendant from deferred adjudication community supervision.
(NOTE: IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR YOUR COURT FILE TO BE MISSING THE DOCUMENT THAT DISMISSES THE PROCEEDINGS AND DISCHARGES YOU FROM DEFERRED ADJUDICATION PROBATION. IF THAT DOCUMENT IS MISSING, WE CAN DRAFT A DOCUMENT THAT STATES THAT THE COURT DISMISSES THE CHARGES AND DISCHARGES YOU FROM YOUR DEFERRED ADJUDICATION PROBATION WITH AN EFFECTIVE DATE BEING THE DATE THAT THE DOCUMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREPARED AND FILED.)
This information is generally available from the court file at the District Clerk's (for felonies) or County Clerk’s Office (for misdemeanors) in the county where the original offense happened.
NOTE: If filing a petition for non-disclosure for a felony case, you will need to file your petition with the District Clerk's office and you will need to obtain a hearing date from the court coordinator for the Court that placed you on felony deferred adjudication.
Q. What needs to be proven at the hearing? A. A defendant needs to be prepared to provide evidence of the following elements: The defendant entered a plea of no contest or guilty to the offense. The Court placed the defendant on deferred adjudication community supervision. The Court dismissed the proceedings in the case and discharged the defendant from deferred adjudication community supervision. The defendant is not disqualified from filing a petition under Section 411.081(e) of the Texas Government Code. The petition was timely filed under Section 411.081(d). Issuance of the order is in the best interest of justice.
Q. What is the effect of the order of nondisclosure? A. The court's order will be sent to the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety will then send the order to all law enforcement agencies, jails or other detention facilities, magistrates, courts, prosecuting attorneys, correctional facilities, central state repositories of criminal records, and other officials or agencies or other entities of this state or of any political subdivision of this state, and to all central federal repositories of criminal records that there is reason to believe have criminal history record information that is the subject of the order. Those entities are then obliged not to disclose the deferred adjudication record information to anyone other than (1) Other criminal justice agencies, (2) For criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes, (3) An agency or entity listed in Section 411.081(i), and (4) The person who is the subject of the order.
FindOut if You Are Eligible
Call my Georgetown office today at 512-630-3745 for a free telephone consultation. Let my office help you clear your criminal record by sealing any possible records regarding deferred adjudications in your past.