Court proceedings are a matter of public record and, in most cases, can be easily accessed by anyone, often on line. Not only are there companies that will provide you with court records (for a fee), but the State of Texas has a website devoted to providing the general public “with an easy and straightforward method to search for, examine, and obtain public records, arrest records, court records and more”.
It is possible to seal some records through the process of obtaining an “order of nondisclosure”. A sealed record still exists but is not available to the general public. However, this does not mean that your records are unavailable to everyone. The court may disclose the information contained in the sealed court records to:
- criminal justice agencies for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes;
- an agency or entity listed in Section 411.0765; or
- the person who is the subject of the order.
The agencies and entities listed in Section 411.0765 that may see sealed records is a fairly long list and includes other criminal justice agencies who may obtain the records in some circumstances such as: various state departments and licensing agencies; and financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and their federal regulatory entities. The list of exceptions to the non-disclosure also includes some schools and fire departments.
Not all records are eligible to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure. The records of many sexual offenses and some crimes of violence may not be sealed.
To determine whether your petition to the court for an order of nondisclosure would be successful, you should consult an attorney.
The Barrera Law Firm is here to help you. Call us at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form for a free and confidential consultation.