Record Sealing, Non-Disclosure Petition and Expunctions Differences

As an attorney who does a lot of work in this area, I have learned that many people are confused by the difference between Sealing a Record, a Petition for Non-Disclosure and Expunctions.  People typically call and tell me they want to expunge their record.  But there are different things that different people are eligible for.

Record Sealing

Record sealing is for juvenile crimes.  In the state of Texas you can seal most criminal records.  This ensures that nothing is visible once the individual starts applying for jobs in the future.  The big difference with juvenile crimes as opposed to adult crimes is that you may be eligible to seal your juvenile record even if you were convicted of the crime.  In adult court, if you are convicted there is no possibility of getting the crimes off of your record.

The only time a juvenile record will not be sealed is if the juvenile:

  • Received a determinate sentence
  • Is currently registered as a sex offender
  • Was certified and tried as an adult

Some lawyers do not tell their clients that they must seal their juvenile records, and some people assume the case is automatically sealed, but that is not the case.


Non-disclosures are for individuals who were placed on deferred adjudication and completed the deferred adjudication successfully.  A non-disclosure will make your record hidden (non-disclosed) for the general public.  However, governmental agencies and law enforcement will be able to see the record for the rest of your life.  Non-disclosures are good protection from jobs/apartments/schools, etc that might hold a case against you even though it was dismissed.

There are some misdemeanor crimes that are eligible immediately for a non-disclosure, others require a 2 year waiting period.  Felonies that are eligible have a 5 year waiting period from the day your deferred adjudication is terminated.  For a personal consultation, please call our office.

You are NOT ELIGIBLE TO A NON-DISCLOSURE if you have been previously convicted of or placed on probation for any of the following:

  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Possession of production of child pornography
  • Unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping of anyone under the age of 17
  • Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of these listed offenses
  • Capital murder
  • Murder
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Prohibited sexual conduct (incest)
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
  • Abandoning or endangering a child
  • Violation of protective order or magistrate’s order
  • Stalking
  • Burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit any of the above offenses
  • Any other offense involving family violence

You also will not be eligible to get a non-disclosure if you were convicted of another crime after you finished your deferred adjudication.


Even though your case might have been dismissed, no billed, or if you were found not guilty the arrest record is still visible to the general public.

To combat this, the State of Texas allows you to destroy (expunge) your criminal record.  If you have an adult arrest record, you can have it expunged if:

  • You went to trial on your case and you were found NOT GUILTY
  • Your case was dismissed by the State (not through deferred adjudication)
  • You complete deferred adjudication probation for a CLASS “C” misdemeanor
  • Another person was accidently arrested under your name
  • You are victorious in an appeal in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
  • You receive a pardon from the President of the USA or the Governor of Texas

Expunctions are complete destructions of the criminal record, to where no one should know anything ever happened to you unless they have a personal recollection of the situation.  If you are confused on whether or not you are eligible just call our office and we can walk you through the options.

Eric Benavides
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Eric Benavides

Criminal Defense Attorney at Benavides & Serrano
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorny and immigration lawyer.He is one of the co-founders of Benavides and Serrano.He is a member of the Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Houston Young Lawyers Association, and is licensed to practice law in the state by the Supreme Court of Texas and federally by the Southern District of Texas.
Eric Benavides
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