How Public is the Information About My Arrest? Who Can Find Out About It?
When a person is placed under arrest in Texas, information about the incident can be stored in a record. Although this information is not always freely available to the public, it may still be available under certain circumstances. This type of information may be stored in several different locations.
In many cases, a copy of this record will be kept on file at the county courthouse and local law enforcement agencies may also have a copy. This information is used to assist law enforcement with identification and record keeping. Employers, landlords and some other people may have access to arrest information under certain circumstances.
What Information Is In An Arrest Record?
The primary type of information that can be found in an arrest record includes the specific details of any encounters with law enforcement. For example, after an arrest a police officer will complete an arrest report that covers:
- The date, time and location of the arrest
- The charge for which the arrest was made
- Identifying information about the person who was arrested
- Any possessions that were found or confiscated
The report may also include the arresting officer’s account of the incident. This information may be used in a court case to determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence. In many cases, only court officials, police officers, the defendant and the defendant’s attorney will be able to get an actual copy of the police report. The defendant may be entitled to a copy of their personal arrest record or they may have to pay a small fee to get a copy.
It’s important to note that a person can have entries on their arrest record even if they are never convicted of a crime. For example, if a driver is arrested on suspicion of DWI and is later allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense, they may still have a DWI arrest entry on their record. In some situations, a background check can uncover this information.
Who Can Find Out About My Arrest Record?
Arrest information may be more public than most people realize. While actual police reports are not available to the public, court records are fairly easy to obtain. These records contain summarized information about a person’s arrests and convictions. They may not contain extensive details and will usually simply list any charges filed against a defendant and the outcome of their case. These records can be obtained online directly from the state government or through a third-party organization.
These records are most often accessed by:
- Credit reporting agencies
- People who are curious about their records
It is fairly easy to obtain a copy of an arrest record on the Internet. Usually, a person will only need to enter a full name and a date of birth and pay a small fee to get a digital copy. It’s important to note that these documents are an informal copy of a person’s arrest and conviction history. They are not the actual court records, they are simply reports issued by the state. However, they can still be very useful for finding information about past arrests and convictions.
Employers, landlords and credit reporting agencies often use a similar method to conduct a background check. They will usually pay a third-party organization for a copy of an applicant’s court records. There are many different background check companies and they may each provide a different type of report. They may even include incorrect or outdated information in the report.
For example, a person who is arrested for a crime but never charged or convicted may still be flagged by a background check. This is because the arrest was never expunged from their record.
In some cases, records of arrests or convictions can cause a person to lose potential job offers or rental contracts. A lawyer may be able to help obtain an order of expunction or an order of non-disclosure. An expunction will erase most records of an arrest and an order of non-disclosure will prevent many employers from finding arrest records with a background check.
Printing out a copy of a court record and discussing it with an attorney is the best way to find out if getting an expunction or non-disclosure order is possible.
Do you have questions about your public record? Contact the law office of Rand Mintzer today. We will fight hard to protect your rights and future. Call (713) 862-8880 or email for a free, confidential consultation.