Performing an extensive, highly accurate background check in Texas at no cost whatsoever might seem impossible. Thankfully, that's not true. There's plenty of online resources available that allow Texas residents to search through court records, arrest records, and more. The challenge is knowing how to find each database and request the relevant information.
Whether you want to check if someone in Texas is a registered sex offender or has a criminal background, this guide can help. Listed below is information regarding accessing state records, including what tools are available to perform a nationwide background check. But first, let's discuss why people should consider doing a background check on people they know in Texas.
Why You Should Conduct a Background Check in Texas
Background checks are a proactive way to stay ahead of the game when it comes to hiring or even regular social interactions. By checking criminal documents, arrest records, and other public information, Texas residents can know for sure they're trusting the right people.
You can run background checks on your friends, neighbors, relatives, and even romantic interests to verify their background and character. Listed below are just a few reasons why people in Texas should consider conducting a background check on anyone they're looking to forge a long-term relationship with:
Reasons to Conduct a Background Check in Your Social Life
- You can confirm the identity of someone you met online.
- You can connect with long-lost relatives or old college buddies.
- You can avoid befriending people with violent or criminal tendencies.
- You can ensure the people you let into your home, e.g., babysitter, gardener, housekeeper, new neighbor, etc., can be trusted.
- You can protect yourself and your family from people who may have ill intentions towards you.
Reasons to Conduct a Background Check in Business
- You can offer your customers and employees a secure workplace.
- You can hire the best people for the job.
- You can protect your business from future vicarious liability due to your employee's transgressions.
Conducting a Premium Background Check in Texas: What You Need to Know
Although many resources offer access to public records, the majority of them aren't free. Of course, there are still ways to conduct a 100% free background check in Texas, which will be discussed below. But, unfortunately, a good number of such free resources provide only the most basic of information.
That's why for anyone looking for a comprehensive and detailed report on a certain individual, the best method is to find a legitimate background check provider online. Luckily, there are three popular websites able to conduct nation-wide background checks and uncover information from databases in any state, not just Texas.
Just be aware that the following sites are not suitable for an employee or business-related background checks.
Truthfinder is not simply an online resource but also available via mobile. It's ideal for looking up friends, acquaintances, unknown caller IDs, exposing fraudsters, plus people who haven't been completely upfront and honest regarding their background. Users can even run a background check on themselves to find out what information is visible to the public.
Reports typically uncover the person's name and aliases, birth date, age, relatives, contact info, education history, social media accounts, criminal history, arrest records, traffic offenses, assets, business relations, vehicle details, and more.
Intelius is another great public search resource out there. With over twenty billion public documents, users can find out all sorts of information about a person just by inputting their phone number. Plus, you aren't required to fill out any forms or divulge any personal information about yourself.
All that's needed is the name, address, or phone number of the person you want to look up. You can also use Intelius to look up sex offender registries in Texas, verify a person's address, and find out more about any criminal offenses within a local area in Texas.
Another popular search engine, Instant Checkmate, has access to an extensive range of public data and can guarantee relatively accurate results. The site is easy-to-use, and there's even a reverse phone lookup feature – a useful tool for checking out spam callers and suspicious numbers.
Reports can include property details, registered vehicles, past addresses, marriages, relatives, and even bankruptcies. Plus, Instant Checkmate's search engine can find out if the person you're looking up is a registered sex offender, if they any traffic or arrest records, and whether they hold a license to carry a gun.
A Brief Overview of the Texas Public Records Law
Thanks to the Texas Public Records Act, access to public records is not limited to Texas residents only. County and state records are available to people anywhere in the country.
Still, requests for personnel files, audits, and confidential information may be denied if they satisfy the following conditions:
- Infringe on someone's privacy
- Criminal in nature
- Pertain to victims of abuse
- Violates security law enforcement policies
Furthermore, there is a fee charged for obtaining documents in Texas. You will be required to pay $10 for each page. Plus, a fee of $15 per hour is charged if your request has to be processed by a search.
Still, you should receive the requested documents within ten days of your application. If your documents are delayed, you will receive a letter elaborating why and when you will receive the documents.
How Can I Access Public Records in Texas?
A significant number of documents and records can be accessed online in Texas. However, there are some that require you to request the data in-person psychically. Also, it's best to remember that each department will have different rules, requirements and possibly charge a small fee for access.
Different Record Types and Their Directories in Texas
Texas Criminal Records
Link to Criminal Records: https://www.dps.texas.gov/administration/crime_records/pages/juvenilecriminalhistoryrecords.htm
Criminal record documents in Texas contain specific details about the person and their exchanges with law enforcement. These include prosecutions, arrest information, and dispositions for Class B misdemeanors and higher violations.
What Information is on Criminal Records?
- Criminal history
- An ID number for tracking purposes
- Specific details like full name and birth information
- A mugshot
- Fingerprint documentation
- A description of the person's appearance
- The offense committed
The Texas Department of Public Safety provides these documents through their online portal. You need to register an account with your name, phone number, email address, credit card information, and current address.
Texas Arrest Records
Link to Arrest Records: https://offender.tdcj.texas.gov/OffenderSearch/
Different states provide varying information about inmates, but most documents usually contain the inmate's personal information and where they are being imprisoned.
What Information is on an Arrest Record?
- The name, gender, and date of birth of the inmate
- Their registration numbers
- A mugshot
- The inmate's location
- Custody information
- Jail transfer particulars
- Parole details
You can request an inmate's record information by visiting the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website and entering the last name plus their first initial. One may also input the state identification number or their race and gender if you have those details.
Texas Court Records
Link to Court Records: http://search.txcourts.gov/CaseSearch.aspx?coa=coscca&s=c
There are several courts in Texas that are tasked with different functions. Their large number makes it hard to find arrest records. Courts can be classified depending on the type of cases they handle.
What Information is on a Court Record?
- Court minutes
- Case files
- Court orders
- Witness documents
- Jury files and documentation
Court documents in Texas are obtained by applying. You need to provide your name, phone number, email address, and living address. One must also specify the exact documents they need. Your record request is then sent to the concerned county clerk so they can find it in their archives.
Texas Vital Records
Link to Vital Records: http://dshs.texas.gov/vs/
Public vital documents in Texas are provided by the Vital Statistics Section. You need to provide detailed personal information such as your full name, location, and date of the event to retrieve such documents, including the license number for marriage documents and the case file if you're looking for divorce documents.
What Information is on a Vital Record?
- Birth certificates
- Marriage licenses
- Separation agreements
- Divorce certificates
- Death certificates
- Civil unions or domestic partnerships (state dependant)
Conducting a Background Check Outside of Texas
The restrictions governing who can access public records seem to differ depending on the state. For instance, New York City has the NYC Records & Information Services, where you can obtain vital records, tax photos, and government documents. Boston, on the other hand, has an elaborate website where residents can request various public documents.
Seattle has a public records request center you can pay to obtain public information, while Los Angeles has a convenient system for obtaining public information.
The Bottom Line: How to Conduct a Free Background Check in Texas
Conducting a free background check is indeed possible, but as you probably guessed, the procedure is not all that easy. Different records impose different restrictions and requirements on accessing the information you need, which often makes it easier to use one of the best background check services.
Not to mention, every type of database is separate and only compiles data for that specific state. To conduct a nation-wide background check that searches through every public database simultaneously, you would need to use a third-party site such as Truthfinder or Intelius.
While these sites do charge, they often offer unlimited searches, create detailed, accurate reports, and explain how to understand the data found. Plus, usually, there are more helpful tools and features available beyond standard background checks.
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