Seal a Criminal Record

Posted on Nov 10, 2014


A Note to the Reader–What this Sealing Record Article is For

If you are an attorney reading this post, this will help you understand the steps necessary to sealing a criminal record for one of your clients. We will discuss the steps involved with successfully doing this legal procedure, as well as precisely where you go in San Antonio, Texas to get the job done.  If you are not from San Antonio, this item will stand as a helpful guide for any texas attorney sealing a criminal record.  If you are a non-attorney, seeking information on sealing a criminal record, you have come to the best resource for sealing records you will find in Texas!

What does the Sealing of a Criminal Record do?

When you have completed deferred adjudication probation, you do not have a conviction on your record.  However, the arrest and the sentence will still appear on most Federal and State criminal background checks.  The arrest and conviction will be hidden from private agencies after you seal your criminal record.

Expunctions vs. Sealing of Criminal Records

Expunctions are superior to sealing records.  Anyone given the choice between hiring a lawyer to seal a criminal record, and hiring a lawyer to conduct and expungement, would choose the latter.  If ever someone decides to seal the criminal record, it is merely because the former criminal defendant does not qualify to have the expunction done.  The following outlines the significant differences between the two processes:

  • Expunctions can ONLY occur if the person did not do any type of probation for their case, but instead had the case dismissed or acquitted.  For a more detailed explanation of expunctions, go here, or here.
  • Sealing can occur if a person has successfully completed deferred adjudication probation, the type of probation that does not result in a final conviction.  For an explanation of what deferred adjudication is, see this attorney’s article, explaining it well.
  • *****If you got a final conviction on your record for your offense, then the only avenue for cleaning your record, is to obtain a prosecutor recommendation for an expunction.
  • The expunging of a record actually destroys the record from existence, no agency or person on the planet, aside from your expunction lawyer, and witnesses to the crime itself, will know that the crime happened.  The sealing of a record will cause private agencies, employers and  private schools to not be able to see the record.  However, governmental agencies such as the police, the FBI, and prosecutors will still be able to see your record after it is “sealed.”  As such, again, expunging is the superior choice, but not always available.

 COST of Sealing a Criminal Record

The cost of hiring a lawyer to seal a criminal record and pay the associated filing fee is between $1,300 and $2,o00 in San Antonio, Texas.

Who Will Still Be Able to See the Criminal Record After it is Sealed (Texas Law)

These are the agencies that will still be able to see the information (aside from law enforcement):

(1)  the State Board for Educator Certification;

(2)  a school district, charter school, private school, regional education service center, commercial transportation company, or education shared service arrangement;

(3)  the Texas Medical Board;

(4)  the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;

(5)  the Board of Law Examiners;

(6)  the State Bar of Texas;

(7)  a district court regarding a petition for name change under Subchapter B, Chapter 45, Family Code;

(8)  the Texas School for the Deaf;

(9)  the Department of Family and Protective Services;

(10)  the Texas Youth Commission;

(11)  the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;

(12)  the Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local mental retardation authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or retardation;

(13)  the Texas Private Security Board;

(14)  a municipal or volunteer fire department;

(15)  the Texas Board of Nursing;

(16)  a safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations;

(17)  a public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district;

(18)  the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission;

(19)  the securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and mortgage lending commissioner, the consumer credit commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;

(20)  the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;

(21)  the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;

(22)  the Health and Human Services Commission;

(23)  the Department of Aging and Disability Services;

(24)  the Texas Education Agency;

(25)  the Guardianship Certification Board;

(26)  a county clerk’s office in relation to a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian under Chapter XIII, Texas Probate Code;

(27)  the Department of Information Resources but only regarding an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer who provides network security services under Chapter 2059 to:

(A)  the Department of Information Resources; or

(B)  a contractor or subcontractor of the Department of Information Resources;

(28)  the Court Reporters Certification Board;

(29)  the Texas Department of Insurance; and

(30)  the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

How Long Does a Motion to Seal a Criminal Record Take?

A Motion for non-disclosure will take the attorney around 30 days to complete, and will take the respective “erasing” agencies 30 days as well.  Permit 60-90 days for the process to be complete.

What are the Steps to File a Motion For Non-Disclosure, and Seal a Criminal Record?

A criminal defense lawyer in San Antonio Texas, and surrounding cities will follow these steps when you hire them to do your Criminal Record Sealing procedure:
1.  First file a Petition for Non-Disclosure
A Petition for Non-Disclosure must be formatted and written to meet all Texas Penal Code Statutory Requirements.  The Attorney will write this Petition and will file it with criminal district filing.
2.  Pay the Filing Fees
When filing the Petition to seal the record, the attorney will pay around $300 to get the actual petition stamped and entered (fees vary based on county);
3.  File the Petition with the District Attorney’s Office (5th floor of the Justice Center).
Once the Original Petition has been filed, the attorney must serve it on the District Attorney. Along with the Petition, you should file a proposed Order.  Upon execution, the order will cause DPS to send notice to all agencies that they must seal the criminal arrest record.
4.  The District Attorney will contact the defense lawyer within a couple of weeks, and will inform the lawyer whether the Motion for Nondisclosure is going to be opposed.
5.  If the District Attorney agrees to sign the Petition,  then you will simply pick up the signed copied and will bring it back to the court with jurisdiction for a a judge’s signature;
6.  If the District Attorney disagrees, you will go to the court with a fiat and set a hearing date to explain your reasons to the judge as to why the Petition should be granted.  The Defendant/Petitioner’s presence should not be necessary.
7.  Once you have gotten the signatures from the District Attorney and the Judge, you will bring the Order to the court clerk.  The court clerk will enter the rrder, and will call down to the criminal filing office.  They will pick up the order and walk you as the lawyer to the basement.  You will obtain a certified copy of the order for your records;
8.  Then, the handling of the matter is turned over to DPS.  DPS sends notice to all agencies itself to destroy the record (compare this to an expunction where the attorney pays for and sends the orders to individual locations as per the Attorney’s own order.)
If you would like to hire a Non-Disclosure lawyer, feel free to call us at (210) 271-2800.

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