Each and every criminal court in the United States has a unique style in the way they store, report and release criminal court case information. And while the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is federal law, many states have their own statutes pertaining to employment background checks or consumer reports. So of course all these factors have an impact on what information you can and cannot obtain.
The Statewide criminal database in Texas also known as the Computerized Criminal History System (CCH) does have a reporting coverage limitation which means that not all records from individual counties are reported to the state database. There are 254 counties in Texas, and for a variety of reasons, some counties’ jurisdiction report little or limited information. Of all the jurisdictions, according to the Criminal Justice Policy Council, approximately 60 % of the total criminal case dispositions are reported to the CCH. Interesting, considering Texas State law requires that arresting agencies report information on arrests and convictions including Class B misdemeanors and greater to the State Repository. This means approximately 40% of records of arrest and convictions are simply not being reported to the CCH – that’s quite a large amount to say the least.
In addition to a state criminal search, you must search at a minimum the county court of residence where the applicant currently resides. This is critical otherwise the background check report may be inaccurate. Your applicant may have a violent felony record and this may have gone unreported to the state database, or a variety of other offenses.
The State Business and Commerce code pertaining to criminal background check reports has limits on reporting of criminal background check information. In most cases, records of arrest, indictments and convictions must not exceed a 7 year period from the date of release or parole. Like other states, there are exceptions to the law.
Criminal background checking in TX is like all states, not a perfect system but if you hire the right vendor, they can help you to make sure that you implement the most appropriate program. This can make a significant difference in the quality of your background checks, and ultimately, a big difference in the success of your business.