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Texas Criminal Records

Texas Criminal Records, also called rap sheets, are official documents that show what crimes people in the state have committed. All the reports and information from these records come from the local, county, and state governments, trial courts, courts of appeals, and county and state prisons.

In Texas, potential employers often look at criminal records when they do a background check on someone before they hire them. It is also essential for renting a house, getting into school, joining the military, voting, or as part of a criminal investigation.

Furthermore, background checks are prevalent in Texas when adopting or fostering a child, buying weapons or guns, getting a visa for citizenship or immigration, and other law enforcement purposes.

Typically, a criminal record in Texas gives the requester the following information:

  • The subject's full name and any known aliases
  • Other subject's personal information like the birth date, gender, and nationality or ethnicity
  • Subject's fingerprints and mugshots
  • Specifics of unique physical descriptors
  • Details of criminal offenses (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)
  • Warrants
  • Current, dismissed, and acquitted charges
  • Past arrest information

In Texas, criminal records are public documents. Under the Texas Freedom of Information Act, people can look at criminal records as long as they ask the right people. Note, though, that only authorized persons can get sealed or expunged documents in the state.

What Are the Types of Crimes in Texas?

The Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) offers annual crime reports and data, allowing people to track the most prevalent offenses in the state. You may better protect yourself if you know the most common crimes in Texas.

Based on the Texas Criminal Records, below are the most frequently committed offenses in the state:

  • Drug-related offenses
  • Aggravated assault
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Theft

Crimes in Texas are categorized into severity groups with a range of punishments. Here are the types of crimes in Texas:


Texas felony charges are the most severe crimes and are usually punishable by a year or more in state prison, heavy fines, or even the death penalty in the worst cases.

Felonies are usually those violent crimes that use a deadly weapon or cause a lot of damage to someone else. But in Texas, even crimes that don't involve violence can be felonies based on the monetary damage caused. These nonviolent crimes include the following:

  • Tax evasion
  • Larceny
  • Money laundering
  • Theft
  • Fraud

There are five distinct categories of Texas felonies, and each has its set of consequences:

Capital Felony

With this type of felony, convicted defendants are subject to execution. If the prosecution doesn't pursue the death sentence, they might get life in prison. If the defendant is 18 or older, that punishment is without parole. Murder or homicide falls under this category.

First Degree Felony

In Texas, first-degree felonies are the second-worst type of crime. Convictions can lead to as long as life in prison. But the minimum sentence is five years in jail with a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Some examples of these felonies are as follows:

  • Aggravated robbery
  • Death-causing arson
  • Attempted murder

Second Degree Felony

If you are found guilty of a second-degree felony, you could spend between 2 and 20 years in jail. A fine of up to $10,000 is also possible.

In Texas, the following are examples of second-degree felonies:

  • Manslaughter
  • Domestic assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Robbery
  • Arson

Third Degree Felony

In Texas, convictions of third-degree felonies may result in 2 to 10 years in prison. Judges may also impose a fine of up to $10,000 on offenders.

Here are the most common third-degree felonies in Texas:

  • Indecent exposure to a child
  • Stalking
  • Possession of marijuana or cocaine
  • Deadly conduct with a firearm
  • Tampering with evidence

State Jail Felony

These violations carry 180-day to two-year state jail terms, up to $10,000 fines, or both. Some examples of state jail felonies are the following:

  • Check forgery
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a child passenger
  • Petty theft or burglary ($2,500 to $30,000)
  • Any felony without a degree designation


In Texas, misdemeanors are less severe than felonies, and the punishments include fines and county jail imprisonment.

Like there are five levels of felonies, there are also different levels of misdemeanors. All of them involve varied degrees of penalty for the defendant.

Class A Misdemeanor

This level is the most severe type of misdemeanor in Texas. Class A misdemeanors carry a year in county jail and a $4,000 fine. An example under this category is pimping or carrying an unlicensed firearm.

Class B Misdemeanor

Class B misdemeanors can lead to up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If you possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, you will get these punishments.

Class C Misdemeanor

The least serious type of misdemeanor charge is a Class C. It doesn't lead to jail time, but it can lead to fines of up to $500. Theft under $50 is one example of a Class C misdemeanor.


Texas infractions are minor offenses that are not as severe as a felony or misdemeanors. An infraction can get you anything from a ticket or a small fine to three months or less in jail. Other offenses require community service and education classes.

Some examples of infractions in Texas include but are not limited to the following:

  • Jaywalking
  • Minor traffic violations
  • Public nuisance

How Does Probation Work in Texas?

Probation In Texas is court-ordered monitoring that keeps convicts out of prison. It allows criminals to live and work in the community, support their families, get rehabilitative programs, and repay their victims.

Still, probation remains a type of supervision. Jail staff watches over people who are serving jail time. On the other hand, probation officials oversee individuals on probation as they fulfill the requirements of their probation. These requirements may vary depending on the probation they have.

In Texas, there are two main types of probation, and these are:

Felony Probation

This kind of probation is serious because it is a punishment for a felony like drug possession, violence, or sexual assault. Depending on the case, the judge or the jury can give this probation.

Probation for a felony in Texas can be straight or regular probation, deferred adjudication, and conviction probation.

Straight probation is when a judge or jury convicts a guilty defendant to probation without a jail term. Deferred adjudication occurs when a judge pauses a case while the offender completes probation.

On the other hand, conviction probation is when a judge incorporates probation as part of a punishment for a convicted defendant.

Under these felony probation sentencing rules, drug testing, curfews, counseling, GPS monitoring, and notifying your officer or team of your location are some schemes to monitor you.

Misdemeanor Probation

Misdemeanor probation has less strict rules than felony probation because it is for a less severe crime. Though, people on probation still have to follow the rules. If you break any probation rules, the court can revoke this probation. If this happens, you could go to jail.

Even though each case is different, under this probation, you typically have to report to your probation officer, stay out of trouble with the law,  go to all your court dates,  and get a travel permit before leaving the state.

What Is the Texas Probation Period?

Probation in Texas for a misdemeanor can last up to two years. On the other hand, felony probation may continue for up to 10 years.

Can You End Your Probation Early in Texas?

In Texas, you can leave your probation early through the motion of early termination of probation.

If you have met all the terms of your court-ordered probation in Texas, a judge may award an early termination of your probation.

Generally, you can speed up getting out early by paying your legal expenses, such as attorney's fees and court costs, obtaining an education, and completing your treatment or counseling.

After half of your time under supervision, you can talk to your U.S. Probation Officer about an early release. Also, your lawyer may ask the court for a hearing after a year under supervision.

If you have disqualifying offenses, such as sex crimes, DWI, and serious violent crimes, the court will not consider your case for early termination.

How Does Parole Work in Texas?

A parole term in Texas is a sort of community supervision provided to a convict who has previously spent a specific period in prison. In essence, it is an early release from jail.

As with probation, parole is subject to specific terms, including frequent check-ins with a parole officer, refraining from committing future crimes, and avoiding contact with other criminals. If the parolee breaches a parole condition, the court will send them to jail to serve the rest of their term.

After incarceration, not everyone will become parole-eligible in Texas. It depends on various circumstances, including the reason for their detention.

Who Is Eligible for Parole in Texas?

Generally, the following inmates do not qualify for parole in Texas:

  • Those serving life sentences without the possibility of parole
  • Those given the death penalty
  • Those convicted of continuous child sexual assault
  • Those convicted of sexual assault with a Repeater or Habitual enhancement
  • Those severe sexual assault offenders serving 25+ years

To be eligible for Texas parole, a criminal must have served a portion of their sentence. The crime and legislation determine the sentence's proportion. But most of the time, the inmate must serve at least 25% of the sentence to qualify for Texas parole. Additionally, good conduct time is a requirement for parole eligibility.

Once eligible, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is often in charge of granting parole to inmates in the state.

How Does Expungement Work in Texas?

Expunging a Texas Criminal Record is called "expunction." This procedure occurs after an arrest, acquittal, or discharge.

Filing an expunction petition is the legal way to clear a crime in a person's record in the state. With an expunction, state agencies and private companies will have to delete all references to your arrest from their electronic files and remove any hard copies.

Before a court may consider a request for expungement, a statutory waiting time is necessary, which varies depending on the crime type. In Texas expunction, you must wait three to five years for felony convictions, one year for Class A and B misdemeanors, and 180 days for Class C misdemeanors.

Who Is Eligible for Expunction in Texas?

Section 55.01 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure establishes the qualifying requirements for expunging criminal records.

An individual can remove a crime in Texas Criminal Records after meeting the following requirements:

  • Not indicted
  • Absolved of all charges through an appeal
  • The court dropped the charges
  • Found innocent
  • Convicted for misdemeanors as a minor
  • Detained but never tried, and the prosecutor recommends expunction
  • Received a "no-bill" from a grand jury
  • Pardoned by the Governor or President
  • Successfully granted a plea bargain

However, you cannot expunge some final convictions, including incarceration for a DWI offense. In addition, straight probation is not eligible for expunction, although deferred adjudication for Class C misdemeanors is. Also, those charged with Class A or B misdemeanors or felonies may only seek for non-disclosure order.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Texas?

You can obtain information from Texas Criminal Records since law enforcement agencies in different areas of the state create and share these records unless expunged or sealed.

To get information on a Texas Criminal Record, use the Crime Record Search Service of the TDPS. On this online database, you can do free public criminal record checks.

You can also obtain criminal history record information through mail-in requests. In this method, you must fill out the Request for Public Criminal History Data form with the record holder's personal information like name, date of birth, sex, and race. After completing the form, send it by mail to the department address.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Texas?

Texas does not prohibit background checks using criminal records, but federal laws do. Here are the rules that Texas adopted when doing criminal background checks on its residents:

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA safeguards the privacy of consumers whose information is collected, stored, and reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs).

For employment opportunities that pay less than $75,000, this Act limits most employers to a seven-year background check. Furthermore, CRAs can't report someone's information on civil lawsuits, judgments, liens, bankruptcies, and unconvicted arrests.

Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act

The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act states that, with a few exceptions, federal agencies and contractors working on their behalf can't ask about a person's criminal history on job applications until they make a conditional offer to that candidate.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

This Act prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants based on their protected attributes.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII and instructs employers on how to handle arrest and conviction information they obtain from background checks. As per EEOC guidance, employers must compare a criminal record to job obligations before rejecting an applicant.

Though the state does not have specific criminal background check laws, some counties and cities, like the City of DeSoto, the City of Austin, and Harris County, have enacted ban-the-box laws.

Counties in Texas

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Texas

Harris County Sheriff's Office1200 Baker Street, Houston, TX
Dallas County Sheriff's Office133 N Riverfront Blvd, Dallas , TX
Tarrant County Sheriff's Office200 Taylor Street, Fort Worth, TX
Bexar County Sheriff's Office200 North Comal Street, San Antonio, TX
Travis County Sheriff's Office5555 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX
Collin County Sheriff's Office4300 Community Ave., McKinney, TX
Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office711 E El Cibolo Rd, Edinburg, TX
Denton County Sheriff's Office127 N Woodrow Lane, Denton , TX
Montgomery County Sheriff's Office1 Criminal Justice Dr, Conroe, TX
Williamson County Sheriff's Office508 S Rock St, Georgetown, TX