Texas Court Records
Accessing Texas Court Records
The trial court system in Texas has 4 broad categories which include County courts, District courts, Justice courts and Municipal courts. The District court has jurisdiction over all cases, both civil and criminal. The other three courts have limited jurisdiction over certain cases.
As there are various types of courts in Texas, the types of records maintained also vary. Hence, when looking for court records, you need to know the court that you must approach.
Court records are public records, and the state is obliged to share this information with you. However, you may be barred from obtaining certain types of records.
Different Ways in Which You Can Access Texas Court Records
You may access court records in Texas in a number of ways. You may directly approach the Clerk of the appropriate courthouse for the record you need. However, you might have to stand in the queue for a long time, as a number of applicants visit the courthouse for filing their applications. If you however, do not want the wait, you can call up the courthouse and place your request. This will cost you some money of course. There is a waiting time involved here too. Once your request has been received, it takes some time to process it, and once found the report will be posted back to you, which will again take some time.
There is a simpler, and a hassle-free way of accessing court records and that is through the Internet. Earlier, records used to be stored as a hard copy, but now all records have been digitized and they are stored on a centralized database that can be accessed from anywhere.
Both state websites, as well as, private websites can help you here. Accessing records online is less time consuming and hassle-free too. You need to provide the social security number of the person to access the record. However, if you do not have access to the social security number, you will have to head to the public library to search the record.
Some Things You Should Keep In Mind When Accessing Texas Court Records
To access a court record, you need to find out the court that handled the particular case. For instance, if you stay in Texas and try to find out more about a neighbor who has just arrived from Ohio, you will not find any record pertaining to the person in the courts of Texas. You may only be able to get more information about him or her by contacting the state or county where a lawsuit was filed against the person. If you cannot find the right court, your record search may be difficult.
In the past, accessing court records used to be very difficult. But now, it is much easier due to the availability of advanced technology. Technology has made storage, access and retrieval of records much simple.
Texas Court Records
About Texas Court Records
In most states in the U.S., court records are public information by state law. In Texas, the law does indeed grant public access to court records since they are considered public record.
Online Access to Texas Court Records
The Office of Court Administration has developed and created the Texas Courts Online to help facilitate public knowledge about Texas courts. While this is a helpful system, the Office of Court Administration does not provide a central online portal to search and access court records. The reason is that the Texas court system is highly localized at the county level. Thus, the Texas Courts Online resource does present links to those counties who do provide their court records online.
Do All Texas Counties Provide Court Records Online?
Not all counties present their public court records through online portals. A list of those that do provide online access to records is found at the Texas Court Online website. A list of all Texas counties and their Clerks of Court can be found at TexasCounties4U, where you can contact the Clerk of Court directly.