Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Criminal History

Posted By on May 22, 2017

People often ask: “Will this be on my record?”

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to that question.

The reason there’s no simple answer is that there’s no single database that contains all the information. Instead, information is scattered all over the place.

In Austin, for example, APD keeps information about arrests. TCSO – the Travis County Sheriff’s Department – keeps information about bookings. Court Administration publishes a list of court dates, and the County Clerk keeps a file of all the legal documents.
All those records get created well before any judge or jury sees the case – and they don’t automatically go away or disappear, even if the case is eventually thrown out.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has a “Computerized Criminal History System” which consists of whatever information local agencies send to DPS. (According to DPS, information gets to them about 60% of the time.) Access is limited to law enforcement.

It also has a public website. For $3, you can search for anyone who has a name and date of birth.

The public website does not report dismissals or acquittals. It doesn’t report class “C” misdemeanors. And it doesn’t report cases that are pending. It DOES, however, report deferred adjudications. (Which is unfortunate and confusing, since DPS refers to its public website as a “conviction database,” and deferred adjudication is NOT a conviction.)
So if a case ended with a dismissal or an acquittal, it won’t show up there. If it hasn’t ended yet (if it’s still pending) it won’t be there. If it was a conviction for class “C” misdemeanor it won’t be there.

Otherwise, it might be.

For a lot of people, knowing whether it’s in the DPS public website is enough. The DPS public website is the cheapest and easiest way to do a criminal background check. If something’s not there, it probably won’t show up. But it’s important to realize that if somebody searches hard enough – or if they have access to law enforcement databases – the records are still there, and they will find them.

The only way to ensure that the records are destroyed or deleted is through an expunction.


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