The Texas Department of Public Safety provides criminal conviction data files to businesses who resell access to the data. In many cases, the businesses purchase similar data from a large number of states in order to provide search capability that covers as many jurisdictions as possible. The benefits to the end user are dramatic.
One challenge facing the criminal records industry is in it’s ability to deal with records that have been expunged or sealed since the data was obtained by the reseller. Most of the big players update the data as often as the record holders will allow and have effective processes in place to remove records that should not be reproduced.
Texas House Bill 1303 provides a judicial process whereby all records of an expunged case can be removed from all identified state, federal and commercial databases. The law puts significant burden on the petitioner to identify both public and private holders of an expunged record.
The law became effective in September, 2007. The Texas DPS implementation will begin in March 2008 and will require the each commercial vendor to pay $7 for each expunction reguest transmitted to them. With a backlog of 4000 cases and an anticipated 6000 expunged cases per year, look for costs associated with searching Texas criminal records to rise.