Criminal Records Service
The Crime Records Service Legal Staff provides support to the bureaus of Crime Records Service and the numerous divisions of the Department. The legal staff responsibilities generally relate to the expunction of criminal history record information, restricted access and sealing of juvenile records, and statutory access to criminal history record information.
The attorneys and legal support staff are prohibited from offering legal advice or representing private individuals. Therefore, the information below is provided as a courtesy to assist the public in obtaining information on these topics and is not intended to be a substitute for the legal advice of a licensed attorney. If you have questions regarding a particular topic or issue, please seek the advice of legal counsel. Lawyer referrals are available from your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas at www.texasbar.com or call the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Hot Line at 1-800-252-9690.
Expunction of criminal history record information
Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure contains provisions for the expunction of arrest records, court records and criminal history record information. The statute specifically details the requirements and procedures to properly expunge records in Texas.
Since the Department may oppose a petition for expunction, the CRS Legal Staff cannot assist individuals in the expunction of records. All individuals seeking an expunction of records are encouraged to obtain a copy of their criminal history maintained by the Department (PDF) and to seek the advice of a licensed attorney to determine if they are eligible for the expunction of records.
Orders of Nondisclosure
Texas Government Code Section 411.071 allows an individual who has successfully completed deferred adjudication community supervision to petition the court that placed the individual on probation for an order of nondisclosure. An order of nondisclosure prohibits criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to an offense.
Criminal history record information subject to an order of nondisclosure is excepted from required disclosure under the Public Information Act. Criminal justice agencies are permitted to release criminal history record information subject to an order of nondisclosure to criminal justice agencies, authorized noncriminal justice agencies and the individual who is the subject of the criminal history record information.
The CRS Legal Staff cannot assist individuals in petitioning the court for an order of nondisclosure. Individuals seeking an order of nondisclosure should seek the advice of a licensed attorney to determine if they are eligible for an order of nondisclosure.
Sealing of Juvenile Records
Family Code Section 58.003 provides for the sealing of juvenile records. The new process described as “automatic sealing,” eliminates the requirements to file an application or petition to seal records and mandates the juvenile court to order sealing of records if the juvenile meets statutory criteria. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is notifying the juvenile probation department when a juvenile record maintained by DPS may be eligible for automatic sealing.
Automatic Restriction of Access to Juvenile Records
Family Code Section 58.203 restricts access to certain juvenile records. Records relating to an individual’s juvenile case that meet the criteria established by 58.203 are certified by the Department for automatic restriction
Upon certification, the department may not disclose the existence of the records or any information from the records in response to an inquiry from:
- a law enforcement agency;
- a criminal or juvenile justice agency;
- a governmental or other agency given access to information under Chapter 411, Government Code; or
- any other person, agency, organization, or entity.
The department may permit access to:
- a criminal justice agency for a criminal justice purpose; or
- for purposes, by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at (512) 406-5852 for more information and assistance on applying for a pardon.
Misuse Of Identity
The misuse or theft of a person s identity may occur in several ways. If your identity has been misused by another to secure credit, open a checking account or make purchases in your name, please follow this link: Identity Theft Information Guide
The following procedures are available if your name or identifying information was falsely given by an arrested individual as their identifying information.
- Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure contains provisions for a person to expunge their identifying information, including name, address, date of birth, driver s license number and social security number, falsely presented by an arrested person as the arrested person s identifying information. The person seeking the expunction should contact the district attorney in the county in which the person lives and file an application for expunction.
- Individual Identity File: Government Code 411.0421 allows a person to file a declaration with the sheriff of the county in which they reside stating the person s identity was used by another to frustrate proper law enforcement without their consent. Upon receipt of a declaration from the sheriff, the Department of Public Safety will create a record of the misused identity along with a unique password to be used by the person to verify their identity to law enforcement. For more information concerning this procedure, contact the sheriff in your county of residence.