Background Check Texas: Everything You Need to Know
Background check Texas are sometimes required for employment or housing, but there are many other reasons for a person to undergo a background check.6 min read
Background Check Texas
Background check Texas are sometimes required for employment or housing, but there are many other reasons for a person to undergo a background check.
A 2010 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that 92% of employers performed a background check on applicants as part of their pre-employment process, although that trend seems to be decreasing. If you need to access Texas records for background check purposes, you will want to understand how and where to obtain this information.
Texas Background Check: Records Database to Use
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) manages the background checks in the state of Texas. DPS is the government agency that operates the Conviction Database, a central repository of the public criminal records extracted from the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system.
The Computerized Criminal History database contains all criminal records, both private and public, and is only accessible by authorized criminal justice agencies and law enforcement. Some background checks in Texas are available to the public, but online through the Conviction Database’s online system. This system only contains public conviction records.
May public records, like criminal histories, court records, or vital records, can be accessed fairly easily in Texas. There may be application requirements and fees to access this information. These records are accessible as a matter of public safety and is overseen by the Texas Department of Public Safety, or the Texas Office of Court Administration.
Texas believes their citizens should have rights to access the records of many of the government bodies and representatives. This right is provided through the Texas Public Information Act, also known as Texas Government Code 522. Most information is readily accessible, however there are some documents that may not be. If information has been deemed confidential by law, or a document is currently pending confidentiality, it will not be available for viewing.
If you need to access vital records, such as birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates, you can order them online or in person through the Texas Department of State Health Services. There is a fee for these types of records.
Background and Criminal History Checks
The governing agency you need to work with to obtain background and criminal history information is the Department of Public Safety. To obtain an official state background check with criminal and arrest histories, you can access background and criminal history by utilizing their online search capabilities or by submitting a completed authorized fingerprint card and the necessary fee. If you are searching for the records for someone charged with a Class B misdemeanor or higher, you can obtain this information for the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website.
There are other agencies that maintain this data as well. Some state or county level records can be obtained through the Texas Office of Court Administration, which is overseen by the Texas Supreme Court. The Texas Office of Court Administration oversees all of the information for the court system in Texas. You can also obtain county or municipality level information by contacting the individual county court the case was tried in.
Texas Background Check: How to Get a Texas Background Check
Getting background information in Texas is easier than ever and can be done online or in person. You only need the following information about the person you are searching for:
- Last, first and middle name
- Maiden name (if applicable)
- Date of Birth
- Social Security Number
Texas Background Check: Reasons for a background check
There are many different reasons you may need to obtain a background check on someone. Below are a few of the typical reasons:
Many Texas employers conduct background criminal history checks (and sometimes credit checks) as part of their regular onboarding process. It’s important for a company to trust and feel comfortable with a new employee, and having background information on an employee provides some peace of mind. Additionally, information such as the employment history, can be verified for accuracy. The pre-employment screening typically covers the last seven years of information.
As background checks are important are for employees, they are even more important for managers that may have a higher level of access to money or assets of the company. Managers are typically held to a higher standard, so the background requirements for a manager may be stricter. If the manager is going to have access to any finances, it is highly recommended to conduct a credit background check.
As a landlord, you are temporarily entrusting your property to a renter. So, it’s important that you verify they can afford to pay for the monthly rents, and that they will take good care of your property. Individuals who have a history of not being a good renter, will typically continue that pattern. You have the right as a landlord to conduct a background check on any potential renters prior to a final lease agreement being signed. Items a landlord may screen for include eviction history, criminal background check, and credit history. Additionally, landlords often request personal references to speak on behalf of the prospective renter.
EMS or First Responders
EMS and first responders deal with extremely stressful situations on a daily basis. A background check must be completed to demonstrate that they are capable of handling these high stress situations.
Entrusting a stranger to provide care for your loved one can feel a little more comfortable if you have completed a thorough background check.
Texas Background Check: Difference between Standard and Criminal Background Checks
A standard background check includes all aspects of a candidate’s background, including their criminal history, employment history, credit information, and lawsuits or non-criminal cases.
Whereas, a criminal background check just includes any Class B misdemeanor or higher charges or prosecution.
Texas Background Check: The rules of criminal background checks
Texas laws state that background information including arrests, indictments, and convictions that are older than seven years cannot be included in an employer’s background check process, unless the position the applicant is applying for pays over $75,000 a year. In this case, someone earning more than $75,000 a year can have their background information screened all the way back to when they turned 18.
As with most other states, the criminal records of minors are generally sealed in Texas.
There are some exceptions to the information above, and the seven year limit:
Insurance Positions: If your employer is an insurance company, they may perform background checks that detail back to your eighteenth birthday.
Residential delivery services: Employers must conduct background checks that include the last twenty years for felonies and the last ten years for misdemeanor convictions, theft offenses, and public indecency. This is for positions like UPS and FedEx drivers, as well as service technicians who visit residencies (cable installer, the phone company, plumber, electrician).
If arrest didn’t results in a conviction, pleas of no contest, or guilty plea shouldn’t be taken into consideration for employment decisions. Think of the rule of thumb “innocent until proven guilty”. Even though arrests shouldn’t show up on the background check, if the employers finds out about an arrest without a conviction through other methods, that information cannot be considered as part of the employment decision.
Although there aren’t any laws in Texas that prohibit employers from using an arrest to make an employment determination, the EEOC prohibits it based on federal anti-discrimination law. Such policies tend to discriminate against minorities, who are more likely to be arrested than white people. The EEOC might dictate you be less strict than looking at the past seven years. The background check may include information for the past seven years, but there may be situations where you should only review the past three or four year, and only be able to look for specific types of convictions.
If you need additional information on background checks in Texas, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of Google, Strip, and Twilio.