Public Records Information
Texas Public Information Act (PIA) or the Open Records Act was enacted in 1973 and gives people the right to request records from state agencies. The federal first freedom of information act began in 1966 and was signed into law by President Johnson. Requests for records and information are often made by journalists, researchers but can also be utilized by private entities and companies.
Also known as the lone state state, Texas became the 28th U.S. state in 1845. It has the 2nd largest economy as well as the 2nd largest workforce in the U.S. and leads the country in cattle, oil, chemical products and recently electronic equipment production. As with other states, Texas state government is comprised of 3 branches, the executive, legislative, and judicial branch.
The state of Texas is the second largest state by population and territory in the United States. It is comprised of 254 counties, the most in the U.S. and 1,208 cities with a population of approximately 25 million residents. There are no townships in Texas and areas are either incorporated or unincorporated. Texas does not have metropolitan cities or a city and county consolidated government. Counties run on a commissioners court system which is made of four precincts in each county with an elected commissioner. County government serves and functions as an arm of the state. Duties and responsibilities of county governments are land recordings, ownerships, local courts, tax collections, law enforcement and recording of birth and deaths of its residents amongst other local services. City government officials include the city's mayor, city manager, city council, commissioners, and other city official in departments and offices.
The state’s law enforcement agency is the Texas Department of Public Safety. By accessing their online site you request services that include driver license services, criminal history search and other law enforcement roles. The state judicial system has over 2700 courts broken down into district, county level and municipal courts in addition to appellate courts. The Texas court online provides information regarding obtaining court records and services. Vital records such as birth, death, divorces and marriages are kept at the Texas department of state health services, vital statistics unit. Orders can be placed directly through their official website and certified copies can be obtained via mail.
Conduct a background check on anyone in Texas by ordering a criminal history search. Access public information of convictions from class B misdemeanor violations to felonies directly from the Texas Department of Public Safety. A good starting point to maximize your results is by searching a free people locator database which can reveal current as well as past residences and addresses. This will show you where the search should cover. When residences are found outside the state of your search, you may need to expand your probe to other states. Residents are not required to present an agency with a reason when requesting records that are made public and not classified as private or confidential information.
Court Records Information
The Texas courts of appeals must hear, i.e., have "mandatory jurisdiction," cases that involve civil, non-capital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, original proceeding, and interlocutory decision cases. These courts have no discretionary jurisdiction. Texas courts of criminal appeals have mandatory jurisdiction in capital criminal, criminal, and original proceeding cases. Texas' courts of criminal appeals have discretionary jurisdiction in non-capital criminal, original proceeding cases and certified questions from federal court. The Texas district courts are the state's trial courts. The district courts have jurisdiction to hear cases that involve tort, contract, real property rights from $200 and up, estate, and other miscellaneous civil matters. District courts have exclusive jurisdiction over administrative agency appeals, domestic relations matters, juvenile matters, felony and misdemeanor matters, DWI or DUI matters, and other miscellaneous criminal matters.
Jury trials are available in these courts. Texas' criminal district court hears various felony, misdemeanor, DWI or DUI, and miscellaneous criminal cases. Texas' county courts at law have jurisdiction to hear cases that involve tort, contract, real property rights from $200 to an unspecified "varying" amount, estate, mental health, civil trial court appeals, and other miscellaneous civil matters. Additionally, these courts hear juvenile matters, misdemeanors, DWI or DUI matters, criminal appeals, moving traffic violations, and other miscellaneous traffic violations. Texas' probate courts hear estate, and mental health matters.
Texas' Constitutional county courts have jurisdiction to hear cases that involve tort, contract, real property rights from $200 to $5,000, estate, mental health, civil trial court appeals, miscellaneous civil matters, juvenile matters, and domestic relations matters. Additionally, these courts hear various misdemeanors, DWI or DUI matters, criminal appeals matters, moving traffic violations, and other miscellaneous traffic violations. Texas' justice of the peace courts have jurisdiction to hear cases that involve tort, contract, real property rights from $0 to $5,000, small claims up to $5,000, mental health matters, misdemeanors, moving traffic violations, parking violations, and other miscellaneous traffic violations. These courts hold venue to preliminary hearings. Jury trials are available in these courts. Texas' municipal courts have jurisdiction to hear cases that involve various misdemeanors, moving traffic violations, parking violations, and other miscellaneous traffic violations. These courts have exclusive ordinance violation jurisdiction, and hold venue to preliminary hearings. Jury trials are available in Texas' municipal courts.
Texas Public Records Questions and Answers