What is a background check?
A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history.
Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.
For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.
How do I run a criminal background check in Texas?
The Texas Department of Public Safety hosts a Criminal History Name Search that can be used to search for criminal record history information in the Conviction Database of the DPS Computerized Criminal History System (CCH).
You can use the search to find Class C, Class B misdemeanors, or greater violations of anyone in the state existing in the database.
Here’s some important information on how the CCH Name search works:
- Users pay for searches with credits that can be purchased for $3 plus an added fee depending on the payment method.
- Credits can be purchased using a credit or debit card (with a $.25 transaction fee) or a personal check.
- Each search performed costs one credit.
- Every search result that you view costs one search credit.
- If your search yields no results, you will be refunded one search credit.
To use the search, follow these steps:
- Create a new account.
- Purchase as many credits as you need (the cost is one credit per search)
- Perform a search. The more personal information you include, the more accurate the result will be.
What can I do if my Texas criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?
In Texas, you can challenge incomplete or inaccurate information on a criminal history document by filling out an Error Resolution Form and mailing it to:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Crime Records Service
Error Resolution Unit
P.O. Box 4143
Austin, TX 78765-4143
If you have any questions or concerns about the process, you can contact the Error Resolution Unit at [email protected].
How do I search Texas court records?
The Texas Judicial Branch maintains a searchable database of court records, however, some records may be withheld from the general public depending on the nature of the court case or the identity of the defendant or plaintiff.
Visit the Texas Judicial Branch website to perform a search and to find more information about the Judicial Branch’s Open Records Policy.
Often, court records that cannot be found online can be obtained by directly appealing to an individual court in Texas that holds the record. Click here to contact the Texas Judicial branch with your specific request.
Where can I find Texas driving records online?
The Texas Department of Public Safety makes driving records available online through their Online Driver Record Request System.
Individuals can choose between ordering the following types of records:
- Status Record – $4.50
- Uncertified 3-year History Record – $6.50
- Uncertified List of all Accidents and Violations on Record – $12
- Certified 3-year History Record – $7.50
- Certified List of All Accidents and Violations on Record – $12
- Certified Abstracts of Driving Record – $22
To use the Online Driver Record Request System, you will need:
- A Texas driver’s license
- An audit number
- A valid debit or credit card
- A PDF viewer
- A printer able to print PDF files
Click here to begin the request process.
How do I look up Texas vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?
Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request.
Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check.
The Texas Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics Section enlists the services of the third-party vendor Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories.
Available vital records include:
- birth certificates
- death certificates
- marriage records
- divorce records
Click here to place an order with Vital Chek.
Individuals can also order online through the Texas.gov Vital Records Application, however, orders may take up to 25 days to be processed.
For more information, contact the Texas Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics Section at 888-963-7111.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Texas?
Those in Texas convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against minors must register as sex offenders in the state. The Texas Department of Safety makes the Texas Sex Offender Registry available to the general public in the interest of public safety.
Users can search by the following criteria:
- Area search
- Name Search
- Institute of Higher Education
Additionally, individuals can download the entire Public Sex Offender Registry if they wish.
How do I perform a credit history background check in Texas?
Performing a credit check in Texas follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:
In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social security number