Skip to main content
Jason D. Ray

Jason Ray’s Answers

10 total

  • Who has access to expunged records in Texas

    I know non-disclosure orders may be seen by certain government agencies in Texas; however, I cannot seem to find any info. on who may access expunged records. Expunged records are completely eliminated, but does the FBI and PD's still have access...

    Jason’s Answer

    I worked closely with the Crime Records division at DPS for several years, a decade ago. Your question brings up some interesting wrinkles in the expunction process. The short answer is that, in my experience, any records that are not expunged are accessible to law enforcement because they still exist. Expunction = complete destruction. So the follow up question is: what happens if someone has an expunction order, but the records still exist in some file?

    In my experience, there expunctions rarely results in an absolute irrevocable destruction of all evidence and records related to a conviction, although as a practical matter the records are never seen. Here is why:
    Expunctions are only allowed under limited circumstances. Those circumstances are not always met even though a person may petition for and receive an expunction order signed by a local judge. An expunction order might be signed improperly for several reasons. Maybe the judge is unaware that the petitioner is not legally qualified to have certain records expunged. More commonly, the petitioner does not give notice of his petition for expunction, prior to receiving the expunction order, to all law enforcement agencies that hold the records . Sometimes this is an oversight, but more often it is because the petitioner knows/suspects he is not entitled to an expunction and he knows that notifying DPS or a law enforcement entity of his petition will result in the government opposing his petition for expunction. So it was often the case that I would see a signed expunction order requiring destruction of all records of an arrest or conviction, signed by a local judge, and first delivered to the DPS well after the fact. In those circumstances, DPS will usually go back to the judge, explain that the order was improperly granted, and get the order voided. In that case, the DPS can use its copies of the arrest and conviction records to repopulate the records that may have been improperly destroyed by the local authorities.

    An expunction, once complete, is supposed to require notice to all State and Local law enforcement authorities that may hold the records. In my experience, DPS "deletes" those records as expunged, but I cannot confirm they actually destroy them. They certainly simply do not allow access to them to anyone; DPS will tell any requestor--even the government--that the records are subject to an expunction order. Local PDs will destroy the records. I do not believe State court judges can direct the federal law enforcement authorities (e.g. FBI) to destroy records. but the R-84 form will direct the FBI to destroy records referenced in a State court expunction order. An R-84 requires DPS' agreement that the records can be destroyed.

    See question 
  • I need an attorney that is not afraid to stand up to DPS.

    DPS has put me on the sex registry against legislative law and has been causing me all sorts of problems for the last 8 years.

    Jason’s Answer

    If they continue to list you as part of the sex registry, it is likely that they believe there is a reason to do so. However, the DPS (like any agency) can make mistakes from time to time. As a former DPS attorney who now crosses swords with them from time to time, I have found the DPS to be straightforward regarding its management of the sex offender registry. That doesn't mean they do it right, it just means they will explain to you why they are doing what they are doing.
    Your question does not give enough information to allow me to provide direction. Some questions you might want to answer are:
    1) Do you know why the DPS has you on the registry?
    2) Have you attempted to explain to them in writing why you believe you should not be on the registry? How many times? When? Do you have the names of the people you spoke to or wrote to?
    3) How long has this been going on?
    One thing to remember is that time and money spent on an attorney to fix the problem is generally not recoverable because the State of Texas and its agencies enjoy sovereign immunity from suit.

    See question 
  • I sent a letter by certified mail RRR to the attorney general for an open record request. To this day they have not responded,

    I sent a letter by certified mail RRR to the attorney general for an open record request. To this day they have not responded, it's been more than 10 Business days, nor did I receive a letter that they needed time. What can I do?

    Jason’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I will assume that you sent the request to the AG because you are seeking records from the AG, and not some other state agency. The Texas Public Information Act requires that a requester send his request directly to the governmental body, and that the governmental body respond directly to the requester's request.
    If you were actually seeking information from the AG, I would next give them a call. The AG's Open Records Hotline and explain the situation. 512-478-6736 (478-OPEN) The AG is not in the business of NOT responding to requests, and if they have not responded, there is almost certainly an oversight on someone's part. Perhaps your letter was addressed incorrectly, or the AG may have responded to you by mail and you have not received it. In any event, the Open Records Hotline (you will probably have to leave a message, but they are very good about returning calls promptly) will help you track down the request and determine what happened. If you have a returned green card, the signature on the card can confirm the request address and help the AG find the correspondence.
    There is a small possibility that the AG's office just plain dropped the ball, but if they did, they will definitely be very responsive to your PIA request once they realize their mistake.
    I would exhaust all of these possibilities and attempt to resolve the matter informally before filing a mandamus lawsuit against the AG; it will be faster and cheaper to just make a call and wait a few days. Should you decide to take the route of filing a lawsuit, you can expect that the AG will still quickly provide you the information, and then they will move to have your lawsuit dismissed for mootness. It is unlikely that you will be able to recover any attorney fees or costs, as several cases have held that if a governmental body provides the information, even in response to a lawsuit, that the requestor cannot recover attorney fees,
    (Disclaimer: I worked in the AG's Open Records Litigation Division for several years, prosecuting cases where governmental bodies did not want to disclose/release requested information. I found the AG's office to be very responsive to Open Records requests made to the office.)

    See question 
  • How i can remove my property information from the public record?

    I want to remove my property from the public record, what i should do ?

    Jason’s Answer

    It is impossible to REMOVE/DESTROY public records relating to your property. Records held by Texas agencies are subject to the Records Retention Act and the Public Information Act. The Records Retention Act requires that any agency holding information retain it for a period of time, and it may not destroy the information. The Public Information Act allows access to public information for anyone who requests it. The definition of "public information" is very broad, and includes any information or documents collected, assembled, or maintainedunder a law, or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental body, regardless of whether the agency/commission/district/board is state or local.

    However, I will assume that you don't want your info to be posted on the Central Appraisal District Website. There is no law requiring CADs to post the info online, but most do so out of public convenience. I know that some Texas counties will honor requests to have personal information removed from the online publication. However, even if your info is removed from the online database, it is still held by the CAD and would be available to someone who made a public information act request to the CAD.

    The only time that the CAD would decline to provide your information in response to a PIA request would be if you are exempted from having your home address and limited info disclosed under the PIA. Certain individuals (such as peace officers, certain elected officials, etc.) can choose to have their information made non-disclosable in certain circumstances.

    I might be able to provide a more complete answer with more information from you. Where is the info you seek to remove? What part of it do you want to protect from disclosure? Just your name? or your address? or your property value?

    See question 
  • Can you have two Texas state I.ds?? If u lost one then got a new one then found the one u lost,can u use both of them or just

    Just the new one

    Jason’s Answer

    I used to work as an attorney at DPS, and I can tell you that DPS requires that you destroy any old license. The official DPS website says as much:
    https://txapps.texas.gov/tolapp/txdl/faq.dl?locale=en_US#question17

    Actually, the specific Texas statute that requires you surrender your previous license reads:
    Sec. 521.182. SURRENDER OF LICENSE ISSUED BY OTHER JURISDICTION. (a) A person is not entitled to receive a driver's license until the person surrenders to the department each driver's license in the person's possession that was issued by this state or another state or Canadian province.

    There is a different section of the statute that permits the DPS to issue you a license if you lost your previous license/ID card.
    Hope this helped!

    See question 
  • Parking in handicapped spots in tx

    At my high school in texas, they have handicapped parking spots. There is no sign posted, it is just painted on the concrete. I have heard rumors that it has to be a sign posted for it to be valid. Is this true? Can i still get towed or get a ticket?

    Jason’s Answer

    The standards for handicapped accessible parking are set by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The specific provision you are looking for is here:
    http://www.license.state.tx.us/ab/2012abtas5.htm#502
    excepted here:
    502.6 Identification. Parking space identification signs shall include the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with 703.7.2.1. Signs identifying van parking spaces shall contain the designation "van accessible." Signs shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground surface measured to the bottom of the sign.
    So the answer to your question, "is it a valid handicapped spot" is unclear. All I can say is that it is not marked as required by the standards adopted by the TDLR. Whether it is legally invalid is a different question. By the way, those standards don't apply to private property; that is, your apartment complex can rightfully tow you even if the handicapped parking space does not have a sign. See Texas Transportation Code 681.009(b):
    (b) A political subdivision must designate a parking space or area by conforming to the standards and specifications adopted by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation under Section 5(i), Article 9102, Revised Statutes, relating to the identification and dimensions of parking spaces for persons with disabilities. A person who owns or controls private property used for parking may designate a parking space or area without conforming to those standards and specifications, unless required to conform by law.

    So does that mean you won't get towed or ticketed? If the space is prominently marked, you are likely to get towed, ticketed, or both. Of course, you could try to fight the tow or ticket by citing to the statute and adopted standards cited above, but remember the old police officer adage: "you might beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride." That means you might ultimately win your case, but not before you are faced with towing charges and big fines.

    See question 
  • Is deferred adjudication acknowledged by the federal government?

    I know that Texas doesn’t view a DA as a conviction, but will the federal government count it as a conviction?

    Jason’s Answer

    Many Texas agencies consider a deferred adjudication to be a conviction for the purposes of occupational licensing. Also, the concealed handgun license statute treats deferreds and probation as convictions.

    See question 
  • Can you get an insurance license in Texas with a 2nd Degree felony conviction?

    I'm looking (due to my charges) to change careers. Note that I haven't been convicted, nor a plea agreement reached as of yet. I've been advised that an agreement may be reached by next court setting, and that it will most probably be a non-convic...

    Jason’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You face an uphill battle. It depends on the facts, but finding the answer is not particularly difficult. First, what will you be doing in the insurance world- acting as an agent, an adjuster, etc? It makes a difference, because different licenses have different standards. Second, you should know that for many occupational licenses in Texas, a deferred adjudication or probation is considered the same as a conviction by the agency. A felony conviction is grounds for the TxDeptIns to deny a license, as is any crime related to fraud or dishonesty. See Insurance Code 4005.101(b)(8). Whether a straight-up conviction, probation or deferred adjudication, you'll be required to disclose the offense in your application, and the Department will run a criminal history on you.
    Here's a shortcut that might work for you: Call the agency and ask for a "criminal history evaluation" application. That is an application that you fill out requesting that they give you a pre-licensing decision on whether your criminal offense would disqualify you for a license. They will most likely say that you are disqualified, but that's when the fun starts. You need to dig deeper and determine whether your criminal offense is a mandatory or discretionary disqualifier; that is, is the agency REQUIRED to deny you a license, or do they have the DISCRETION to deny you a license. If your offense is a mandatory disqualifier, you are sunk. If it is discretionary, then you should hire an administrative law attorney to review the facts of your case and determine what your chances of winning an administrative hearing would be. DUIs are not generally considered to be mandatory disqualifiers, unless the applicant is in the health care field. Good luck!

    See question 
  • Anyway to look up propeller accidents/ deaths from 1980's dfw area?

    just need to view some old records of old friends dad. strange situation. want information.

    Jason’s Answer

    You should start with the National Transportation Safety Board website, which allows you to access documents related to aviation accidents.
    http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/index.aspx
    Records from the 80's may not be available in electronic format through the website, though, so if they aren't I would consider making a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the agency for the records you want. FOIA requests can be simple and straightforward requests for records, documents and other information, but the more information you can give the NTSB, the better off you will be. Call the local Arlington, Texas office at:

    NTSB
    624 Six Flags Drive
    Suite 150
    Arlington, Texas 76011
    Phone: 817-652-7800
    FAX: 817-652-7803

    They can tell you where to address your FOIA request, and may let you know that there is an easier way to get the info you want. Good luck.

    See question 
  • Can a RPh file an injunction to regain Temp Pharmacy license that has been mandated to be surrendered with out due process. TX.

    This case will go to administrative hearing at some time, How long does the texas pharmacy board have before they are Mandated to Seek a court docket date? Is there a time limit? Can I file an injunction prior to the administrative hearing? ...

    Jason’s Answer

    Any occupational license, such as an Pharmacist license, is considered property. The Texas Constitution, like the US Constitution, prevents the deprivation of property without due process. Generally, any agency, such as the State Board of Pharmacy , must provide due process in order to suspend or revoke a license, and the process for that is outlined in the Pharmacy Act (Chapters 551-569, Occupations Code) and Board rules. (22 Texas Administrative Code, Chapters 281-311). However, without more specific information, it is difficult to gauge why the agency required you to surrender your license. For example, the rules permit the Board to grant a pharmacist a temporary license under certain circumstances, not to exceed a year. In that case, the license is not surrendered, but will expire on its own. I have worked with the legal division of the State Board of Pharmacy, and I believe that they usually operate within the authority granted to them by their statute and rules., but mistakes do happen. You should contact an administrative lawyer to discuss the facts of your case. Most likely, either the Board staff made a mistake, or if they didn't, the license expires by operation of law (that is, on its own, or by its own terms). Another option is that you have a right to a hearing on the Board's action to take your license, and in that case, you certainly would want an attorney to help you exercise your right to due process so that you can explain why you should keep the license.

    See question