What is the general process?
For a nondisclosure order, once you provide us with the information we require and the down payment toward the fee, we prepare and file a legal document asking the court for the nondisclosure order. We also prepare the order itself for the Judge to sign. We also notify the state and furnish them a copy of the above paperwork. We next schedule a court date. We communicate with the state and ensure that they have no problem with the nondisclosure. Ninety-five per cent of the time they do not but if they do, a hearing may be necessary. In any event, to grant the petition, the Judge must find that it is in the best interest of justice. On the court date, which is normally about a month to six weeks after we file the paperwork asking for the order, I appear for you and present the case to the Judge. Next, assuming the Judge signed the order, the court clerk will send a certified copy of the signed order to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). DPS will then send the certified copy to all of the agencies and courts that have information and records on the case ordering them not to disclose any information on the case. This latter process takes the most time and could take months. We also provide you with a certified copy for your records.
For an expunction, the process is much the same. We prepare the petition for the expunction, get you to sign and get it notarized and returned to us, set a court date, and appear for you. If all of the statutory requirements are met, the Judge must grant the expunction. The prosecutor will also look at the petition and may require a hearing if they think the statutory requirements are not met. Once the petition is granted and the order signed, the District Clerk will request all appropriate agencies to send all records to his/her office. Once everything is received, the records are physically destroyed. Once this occurs, the District Clerk sends the attorney for the petitioner a “certificate if finality” or the equivalent attesting to the fact that the record has been cleared for this offense.