Sealing court records is referred to as "non-disclosure" according to Texas law. This simply means that the criminal record is no longer made available to the public. With a sealed record, you can honestly say that you've never been convicted of a crime. Misdemeanors and felonies that resulted in deferred adjudication, which simply means community supervision, are eligible to be sealed.
Obtain your criminal history from the original court that handled the case you are attempting to seal. Go to the courthouse in person and ask for a copy of your criminal history. There may be a small fee required, depending on the courthouse.
Determine whether your crime is eligible to be sealed. There are many specific criteria that dictate whether your record can be sealed. You first must have completed your deferred adjudication. This is also referred to as "community supervision" and typically involves some type of service. There are some crimes that are not eligible for sealing, ranging from first degree murder to indecency with a child. (See "Resources" below for a link that can help you determine your eligibility.) It is, however, recommended that you seek professional legal advice for this step.
Hire an attorney and provide him or her with a copy of your criminal record. Ask the attorney to file a motion for non-disclosure with the original court that handled the case. You cannot file this motion without an attorney.
Distribute the motion to all parties involved. This includes the district attorney, arresting police department, and probation officer, if probation was part of the sentence.
Set up a court date to discuss the motion through your attorney.
Gather all documentation that proves you have completed the terms of your deferred adjudication. This could include documentation stating you have paid court fees and completed required community service hours.
Show up for your court date with your attorney and present your case for non-disclosure.
Wait for a verdict. If the court rules in your favor, the record in question is sealed and made unavailable to the civilian sector. Police, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies still have access to the record, however.
- gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com