Access your Texas criminal record in two primary ways. Go to the Texas Department of Public Safety website and do a Criminal History Name Search, or send the TDPS your written request along with your authorized fingerprint card. The department will mail you a PDF of the record. Alternatively, you can pick it up at any FAST location.
Reasons You May Want a Copy of Your Record
There are several reasons why you may want an accurate copy of your criminal conviction record.
- To determine that the criminal conviction record is accurate.
To apply to have a criminal charge or conviction expunged or sealed. Both processes prevent anyone from accessing your criminal record. After an expungement –
which completely destroys any record of that charge –
you are legally entitled to say that you have neither been charged nor convicted of that crime.
* To apply for a job that requires you to state any criminal charges or convictions on your application. Inaccurate responses to this question diminish your chances of getting the job.
Accessing Your Texas Criminal Record Online
Access your Texas criminal record online using this search phrase: "TDPS Criminal History Name Search." The top search results will be titled "Criminal History Name Search – TxDPS Crime Records Service." Click on the search button "Criminal History Search" to bring up the TDPS criminal records search application page.
The page is also included in this article's references, which, somewhat confusingly, titles it Texas Department of Public Safety: Criminal Conviction Search. TDPS use of names for these various webpages is inconsistent.
The application page describes how to sign up and offers detailed information on seting up a payment account to purchase credits for each search you perform. Each search costs $3.00. To pay with a credit card, you will be charged an additional $2.25.
Requesting Your Criminal Conviction Record in Writing
To make a written request for your Criminal Conviction Record to the Texas Department of Public Safety, provide the same basic information that you would enter for an online search. However, the written search method also requires you to submit an authorized fingerprint card obtained from a Fingerprint Application Services of Texas (FAST) location.
In the References, you'll find the TDPS' Procedure for Review of Personal Criminal History Record Information which steps you through this process, including scheduling your FAST appointment. FAST charges vary, but generally cost less than $50.00. Getting fingerprinted at a FAST location requires making an appointment beforehand and providing necessary identification.
The online record search method provides the same information the TDPS provides when you make a written application, and is a simpler process that costs less. The written application process, however, has two advantages:
- Because you submit your fingerprint with your written application, it provides greater certainty that the record you'll receive is your own and not another person's with the same name.
- When you make written application, you can also request that the record you receive be certified and notarized. There's no additional charge for this service.