Legal documents such as criminal records, court files, and the like can be acquired through proper dealings with the court authorities. Certain restrictions were implemented by the State of Texas concerning the disclosure of any of this information to ensure that the privacy of the individual is protected. Thus, the State of Texas created its Department of Public Safety to regulate disclosure of information to individuals who wish to acquire such documents.
Texas Department of Safety (DPS)
Under the Texas Department of Safety is the Crime Records Service Legal Staff who is in charge of the state’s criminal records service. The staff’s obligation is to regulate access to criminal history record information and juvenile records.
The authorities keep criminal records and retrieve them when the situation calls for it. However, court records and criminal history records are sometimes deleted from the files. The omission of these records must also meet the criteria written in Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This is the reason why some individuals can no longer access and trace the criminal records they are looking for. Individuals involved in a crime that wish to have their records erased must seek advice from their lawyers. They are also encouraged to obtain a copy of their criminal history from the Department of Public Safety to determine whether or not they are allowed to have their records erased from the files.
Nondisclosure of the court records and information can also be requested by the offender after proper settlement and a petition from the court that put the individual on trial. The order to not disclose the court information will prohibit criminal justice agencies from releasing it to the public or to any individuals requesting the court records. The policies and procedures for nondisclosure are completely stipulated in Texas Government Code Section 411.081.
Court records which are subject to nondisclosure are exempted from required disclosure under the Public Information Act. However, criminal justice agencies are allowed to disclose the records to other criminal and authorized noncriminal justice agencies and to the individual that is the subject of the records.
The criminal records service legal staff is not allowed to assist the subject petitioning for a nondisclosure order. However, the offender is encouraged to seek consultation and advice from their lawyer to find out whether or not they are eligible for nondisclosure.
As for the juvenile records in Texas, restriction and regulations are clearly set. For an individual who has juvenile records, a petition to seal their records can be made in the court. If the court will allow their records to be sealed, they are then automatically removed from the criminal history database. The subject is encouraged to seek advice from their lawyers to determine if they are eligible or not. The decision is also based on the laws stipulated under Family Code Section 58.003.
Juvenile records that are sealed are restricted from access by individuals, law enforcement agencies, and the like. The automatic restriction of the juvenile court records is also based on the laws stipulated under Family Code Section 58.203. However, the department may allow the records to be accessed by the criminal justice agency for criminal justice purposes and for research conducted under the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, The Texas Youth Commission, and the Criminal Justice Policy Council.
Concerning a pardon, you are encouraged to call the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for inquiries at telephone number (512) 406-5852. The website www.tdcj.state.tx.us/bpp/ can also give you information on how to apply for a pardon.
Criminals can sometimes use identities in several ways. If you are concerned about this issue you may visit /DriverLicense/idtheft/idtheft2.htm and find out what to do in case your identity has been compromised.