Are Texas Arrest Records Public?
Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 by Brian Laviage
An arrest record is never a good thing. It can ruin a person’s reputation, ability to find a decent job, and it releases personal information about the individual. Other negative effects include losing driving privileges or child custody rights. If you already have an arrest record you may be looking at more severe penalties and sentencing.
Having a criminal record can affect you in many areas of your life and when public, it can be searched and accessed by anyone. There are some ways that a person may expunge or seal their record which we’ll get to a little later. First, let’s cover the basics when it comes down to a Texas arrest record.
The information you’ll find on an arrest record that’s public includes the individual’s:
- Date of birth
The file may also include the misdemeanor or felony, past arrests, any pending charges, dismissed charges, or acquitted charges. Having this information out for anyone to access is a scary thought and there are some reasons Texas may want to keep certain evidence private.
Reasons Arrest Records Are Kept Private
Some states do not make criminal or arrest records available to the public because of the risks that come with releasing this information. For instance, some arrest records may not indicate:
- That charges were expunged
- That the individual was never charged with a crime
- That the defendant was acquitted
Criminal records may contain inaccurate or out of date information and for this reason, some states restrict the information that is available to the public. Other reasons an arrest record may be kept private is if it’s part of an ongoing investigation, it poses a potential risk to the public safety, or if the person is able to expunge the record.
What Information Is Available Publicly in Texas?
In the state of Texas, anyone can search and access arrests for individuals charged with Class B or greater misdemeanors. These files are publicly available for viewing by anyone. Any prosecution that falls under this category is available on the search database of the Texas Department of Public Safety which can be found by clicking here.
Can Texas Arrest Records Be Hidden?
Yes, in the state of Texas, they can be hidden which comes as a huge relief for many individuals. Texas recognizes that people make mistakes which is why they offer two ways for people with an arrest record to have this mark against them entirely erased or simply hidden from the public. This is done by expunction and non-disclosure.
Either process will improve your life significantly. It will remove the barriers that the record came attached with and help you return to your life before the incident. Now, before you can get your criminal file deleted, you need to check your eligibility to make sure that you qualify.
What Is A Record Expunction?
Expungement, also known as record sealing is the process of modifying, destroy, or sealing criminal files. Not everyone is eligible, however, if you do qualify for one you want to be sure you understand the application process. Hiring an attorney who specializes in these cases can really help.
At the end of the day, court or law enforcement agencies are the only ones who can seal a record. Fortunately, in the state of Texas, there is the possibility of having your file expunged. The benefits of an expunged or sealed record include:
- It cannot be viewed by the public
- Applicant doesn’t have to disclose previous criminal activity
- Applicant can stop fearing background checks
- Applicant will be eligible for student loans, housing assistance, etc.
Good deserving people are offered this relief by some states. Moreover, keep in mind that there are fees associated in an expungement and not all offenses can be cleared with an expungement service.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
It is always a good idea to speak with a qualified, experienced lawyer before diving into the expungement process. If you qualify, you’re looking at a fresh start, new opportunities, among other benefits depending on your living situation.
If you have a criminal record in Texas and want to know if you’re eligible to seal this record and clear your name, we suggest you consider a record expunction service. The Law Office of Brian S. Laviage specializes in this area and does not require the submission of personal contact information to let you know if you’re eligible for this service.
Based in Houston, Brian S. Laviage has been practicing law in the state of Texas for over 10 years. You can obtain so much information by simply browsing through this website. If you have an arrest history and are interested in finding out if you’re eligible to clear it from public view, please contact us.