Texas Background Check

Texas Background Checks

Every Texas resident leaves a trail of publicly available information from birth to date. Background check or background investigation aims to research and compile this information from the databases that hold the information of interest. Most background checks begin with obtaining police records, including rap sheets, arrest records, and warrants. Depending on the nature of the background check, a data collector may also obtain other public records such as vital records, property records, bankruptcy records, and employment records.

Generally, the content of a background check report depends on the individual and the sources of the public records. Given the variability inherent in compiling information from multiple sources, the Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted to protect the integrity of consumer reports and how other persons may use the report.

FCRA Compliance in Texas Background Checks

FCRA, short for Fair Credit Reporting Act, is a law that outlines how an entity may collect information on any individual and how that entity may use or disclose such information. Generally, FCRA requirements for employers and background check services include obtaining written consent, full name, birth date, and social security number from the subject and allowing the subject to dispute inaccurate reports. The law also requires that entities protect the background check report from unauthorized use and prevent any action that may violate the subject’s FCRA rights.

FCRA compliance in background checks is unavoidable, especially if the public or private entity intends to use the information for official purposes. The use of FCRA-compliant reports is mostly for employment screening, where a prospective job candidate will handle sensitive information. Landlords also use FCRA-compliant records for tenant screening, while financial institutions use the records to determine creditworthiness and insurance underwriting.

Individuals may perform non-FCRA background checks, known as public records searches, based on the Texas Public Information Act and the Federal Freedom of Information Act. The reports obtained are not permissible for official purposes like employee or tenant screenings. Suppose a person finds disconcerting information in non-FCRA background checks. The individual’s responsibility is to verify the information with the official record custodian before acting on such information. Otherwise, the individual may be liable to civil penalties. Parties can only use Non-FCRA compliant background checks for informational purposes.

Texas County Infrastructure

In the United States, a county is a political and geographic subdivision of a state, usually assigned some level of governmental authority.  Many counties are divided into smaller political or governmental units, which may provide governmental or public services. The importance of the county infrastructure lies in the court legal procedures and incarceration infrastructure. Most court cases in Texas courts begin in one of the 254 superior or trial courts located in each of the state’s 254 counties. Each county demonstrates judicial power and legal power by its courts. All small claim cases are assigned to the county courthouses, leaving them with the executive power over a sentence of the case.

Incarceration in Texas

The Texas Department of Correction and Rehabilitation is entitled to govern the majority of the imprisonment in the state of Texas, excluding juvenile incarceration, federal prisons, and county jails.  The state of Texas registers 65 state prisons and jails held by the Texas Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, 17 federal prisons, which include the following categories: United States Penitentiaries, Federal Correctional Institutions, and Administrative facilities. The Texas Division of Juvenile Justice holds responsibility for the following facilities: 34 post-adjudication, 31 public and 3 privately operated; 49 pre-adjudication facilities, 47 public facilities, and 2 privately operated facilities.

Texas Criminal Records

A criminal record is defined as an official document that records a person’s criminal history, including arrest records, warrant records, felony records, misdemeanor records, and sex offender registration information. The information is assembled and updated from the local, county, and state jurisdictions, trial courts, courts of appeals as well as county and state correctional facilities. The standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, but the majority of Texas criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report.

Texas Civil Records

A civil record is defined as the documents that describe important life events. Such documents include birth certificates, marriage records, divorce records, and death certificates. Generally, all the available civil records on a person are gathered and stored in a permanent central registry maintained by the Texas Department of Health. The Department and other government agencies routinely use civil records to develop statistical analysis of its population. In turn, these statistical reports inform government decisions and activities.

Texas Bankruptcy Information

Bankruptcy is a legal status that a federal bankruptcy court in Texas confers on a person, private or public entity that cannot repay debts owed to creditors. While bankruptcy cases are always filed in United States Bankruptcy Court, the adjudication of bankruptcy is dependent on Texas laws, particularly with respect to the validity of claims and exemptions. Federal law recognizes six types of bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. The most common types of bankruptcy are addressed in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, which comprise straight liquidation bankruptcy and Wage Earner Bankruptcy.

Why are Background Checks Available to the Public?

The Texas Public Information Act is a series of laws incorporated into the Texas Government Code that ensure the public is provided access to information held by the state government. The laws are analogous to the United States Freedom of Information Act, which guarantees public access to information held by federal government agencies. Generally, the availability of the records inTexas extends to vital records, court records, criminal records, and bankruptcy information.

What Does Background Check Access Mean to the Public?

The Texas Public Information Act is a series of legislative acts that have been incorporated into the Texas General Code in Title 5, Subchapter A, Subtitle 552. The act is intended to guarantee public access to government information in the interest of providing transparency of the government to the people it governs.