Who can access sealed criminal records in Texas?
Law enforcement has access to all sealed criminal records and any person can access his or her own sealed criminal records.
There is also a growing list non-criminal-justice agencies and entities that are allowed access to sealed criminal records. It seems like every time the state legislature meets, they amend the nondisclosure law to add more exceptions.
Important: The information on this page only applies to adult criminal records sealed by an order of nondisclosure. It does not apply to records destroyed by an expunction, sealed juvenile records, documents sealed under Rule 76(a) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, or to sealed Family Law records.
Below is the list of exceptions after the 2017 amendments:
- the State Board for Educator Certification;
- a school district, charter school, private school, regional education service center, commercial transportation company, or education shared service arrangement;
- the Texas Medical Board;
- the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
- the Board of Law Examiners;
- the State Bar of Texas;
- a district court regarding a petition for name change under Subchapter B, Chapter 45, Family Code;
- the Texas School for the Deaf;
- the Department of Family and Protective Services;
- the Texas Juvenile Justice Department;
- the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;
- the Department of State Health Services, a local mental health service, a local intellectual and developmental disability authority, or a community center providing services to persons with mental illness or intellectual or developmental disabilities;
- the Texas Private Security Board;
- a municipal or volunteer fire department;
- the Texas Board of Nursing;
- a safe house providing shelter to children in harmful situations;
- a public or nonprofit hospital or hospital district, or a facility as defined by Section 250.001, Health and Safety Code;
- the securities commissioner, the banking commissioner, the savings and mortgage lending commissioner, the consumer credit commissioner, or the credit union commissioner;
- the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;
- the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation;
- the Health and Human Services Commission;
- the Department of Aging and Disability Services;
- the Texas Education Agency;
- the Judicial Branch Certification Commission;
- a county clerk’s office in relation to a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian under Title 3, Estates Code;
- the Department of Information Resources but only regarding an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer who provides network security services under Chapter 2059 to:(A) the Department of Information Resources; or(B) a contractor or subcontractor of the Department of Information Resources;
- the Texas Department of Insurance;
- the Teacher Retirement System of Texas;
- the Texas State Board of Pharmacy;
- the Texas Civil Commitment Office;
- a bank, savings bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or mortgage banker, a subsidiary or affiliate of those entities, or another financial institution regulated by a state regulatory entity listed in Subdivision (18) or by a corresponding federal regulatory entity, but only regarding an employee, contractor, subcontractor, intern, or volunteer of or an applicant for employment by that bank, savings bank, savings and loan association, credit union, mortgage banker, subsidiary or affiliate, or financial institution; and
- an employer that has a facility that handles or has the capability of handling, transporting, storing, processing, manufacturing, or controlling hazardous, explosive, combustible, or flammable materials, if:(A) the facility is critical infrastructure, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 5195c(e), or the employer is required to submit to a risk management plan under Section 112(r) of the federal Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. Section 7412) for the facility; and(B) the information concerns an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, or subcontractor whose duties involve or will involve the handling, transporting, storing, processing, manufacturing, or controlling hazardous, explosive, combustible, or flammable materials and whose background is required to be screened under a federal provision described by Paragraph (A).
Important: You should consult an attorney that practices Texas “administrative law” or focuses on “professional licensing” issues if you have important dealings with any of the entities listed above. Do not rely on the advice of your criminal defense attorney or internet research, especially if your career is at stake.
Nondisclosure does not seal criminal case information in wanted posters, police blotters, appeals court decisions, administrative opinions, etc. This can lead to some unfortunate consequences. For example, a case sealed by nondisclosure could be mentioned in a public disciplinary opinion published by the Texas Board of Nursing.
Call (512) 480-9020 to hire us for Expunction or Nondisclosure in Travis County.