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Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1366
Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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June, 1998 I was was arrested with three other individuals

Customer Question

June, 1998 I was was arrested with three other individuals and charged with possession of marijuana (50 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds-felony of the third degree). Under the direction of my attorney I entered a plea of guilty and agreed to deferred adjudication , 5 years of probation, pay fines, and community service. I returned to school in VA on unsupervised probation because because the state I resided in did not agree to supervise me because the judgment was deferred. All I had to do was a complete a form, send money, and proof of community service to TX each month. Probation was completed and dropped and I never got in trouble again. I returned to school completed two degrees in the area of Speech Language Pathology (SLP). I have been able to work in my profession without my past coming back to haunt me. However, recently it has come back to haunt me in a federal background check that was completed in January, 2011 which shows the initial arrest from June, 1998 (possession of marijuana/conspiracy) and June, 1999 (5 years of probation, $1000fine & community service). I am attempting to obtain licensure in the state of VA and at the national level of my professional organization (ASHA). How do I answer questions about Have you ever been convicted of a violation of or pled nolo conendere to any federal, state or local statue or regulation or ordinance, or entered into any plea bargaining relating to a felony or misdemeanor to include convictions for driving under the influence and excludes? Attach your original criminal history record, a certified copy of the any final order, decree, pr case decision and any other information you wish considered with your application? yes or no
Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty, physical harm to the person or property of another or threat of physical harm to the person or property of another or any felony? Explain nature of offence, date of offense, age, at the time of conviction any factors that you would like ASHA to consider.
Am I eligible to have this record sealed or expunged so I can move on with my life and my career.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 5 years ago.

Since more than five years has passed since the end of your deferred adjudication, you are eligible for a non-disclosure order. A non-disclosure order bars Texas "criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to the offense giving rise to the deferred adjudication." Texas Government Code ("TGC") 411.081(e). It does not prohibit disclosure to law enforcement agencies, and allows disclosure to some governmental non-law enforcement agencies.


Texas statutes further provide that, "A person whose criminal history record information has been sealed under this section is not required in any application for employment, information, or licensing to state that the person has been the subject of any criminal proceeding related to the information that is the subject of an order issued under this section." TGC 411.081(g-2).


Thus, you may answer "no" to all those questions you posed once you obtain your order of non-disclosure. The following two links provide a pretty good summary of the procedure to obtain a non-disclosure order and links to the applicable statute:


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your response but I have just one more question. I have read the information on the non-disclosure agreement and it states that the record is sealed however, information is still disclosed to specific agencies. Some of the agencies that were mentioned were school districts and hospitals just to name a few. These are the agencies that I would work for in my profession. Please correct me if I am wrong but I am concerned that if I say no based on the non-disclosure agreement that the background information would still come up as a result of the agencies that I would work for. In this case what exactly do I do now? Do I have any other options that will work towards starting and maintaining my career that I spent some much money learning about in order to help people.HELP
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 5 years ago.
There are not other options outside of a pardon from the Governor of Texas. There is another form of sealing records in Texas called an expunction, but deferred adjudications on felonies do not qualify for that.

Your licensing agency is not on the list, but I cannot give you a 100% certain answer on whether a school or hospital in Virginia would pull up that offense once you receive an order of non-disclosure. My guess is that they would be much less likely to than a Texas school or hospital.

It would not appear on publicly accessible criminal histories so they would have to specifically request the info from Texas DPS or other Texas criminal justice agency. Texas schools and hospitals may do that as a matter of course. I think it less likely that an out-of-state one would.

I know that probably does not provide you a great deal of piece of mind, but if it were me, once I obtained an order of non-disclosure I would not disclose it on an employment application unless I was applying to a law enforcement agency, the federal government, or one of the entities listed that are located within the state of Texas.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do I need a lawyer to go to court with me to pursue the non-disclosure agreement or is this something that I can do on my own?
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 5 years ago.
It is possible to do it on your own, but if you can afford it I would recommend hiring an attorney. It will go more smoothly and is more likely to be granted than if you do it yourself. That's because local lawyers are familiar with what a particular judge is looking for in deciding whether to grant the petition, as well as, local court procedures and customs.

If you decide to go it alone, there is a sample petition on the first link I gave you. It is for Harris County, but you could easily modify it for use in the county in which your charges were.

Good luck to you.