Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Good Expunction News

On September 1, 2007 HB 1303 amended the Texas Government Code giving Texas expunction and non-disclosure laws more teeth. The amendments attempt to solve the problem when private companies continued to maintain criminal record information and disseminate it even though it was ordered destroyed, or sealed by an order of expunction or non-disclosure. These important amendments prohibit the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) from selling criminal records to companies who fail to honor expunction and non-disclosure orders. They also create a duty for companies to update criminal history information to reflect orders of expunction and non-disclosure.

New section 411.0835 of the Government Code directs DPS not to release any new criminal history information to a company, for a year, if the company purchases criminal history record information from DPS but continues to disseminate it after the information was expunged or ordered non-disclosed. This will supposedly hit the company in the pocketbook by making their records obsolete for at least one year.

New section 411.0851 creates a duty for a company who disseminates criminal history information for a fee. The company must destroy and not disseminate information in their possession after they've received notice an order of expunction, or non-disclosure, has issued for that information. The section also allows for money damages and attorney's fees if the company is held liable for disseminating information in violation of this law.

These amendments are good news for persons taking advantage of the Texas expunction and non-disclosure laws. Hopefully, they will make folks more secure knowing that private companies have an economic incentive to make sure their records are accurate.

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