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Court Records

This guide explains where to find Texas and federal court records.

Where can I find Texas court records?

Texas doesn’t have a single database where you can search all court records for the state. Each court is responsible for keeping their own records. Some courts make their records available online, but you may have to contact the court clerk to get access and pay a service fee. 


Re:SearchTX offers a free subscription plan that lets you search records from multiple counties and courts. It includes civil cases from district, county, and probate courts, but it may not have all records from all counties in Texas. 

You can find case information and preview certain documents. Access to full documents and other features may be available for a fee.

TAMES Search

Cases from the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, and courts of appeals are searchable through the Texas Appeals Management and eFiling System (TAMES) Case Search. Files that are available online can be viewed for free.

To access records that are not online, contact the specific court. The library also provides a Document Delivery Service and an Inmate Copy Service for records from the 3rd Court of Appeals (criminal only), the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Texas Supreme Court. 

District Clerk's Office

Some counties make their district court records searchable through the district clerk's website. Larger counties with online databases include BexarCollinDallasDentonHarrisTarrant, and Travis counties. The district clerk keeps case files from district courts, including:

  • civil cases
  • criminal cases
  • family and child custody cases
  • divorce cases
  • legal name changes

For records not available online, you'll need to contact the district clerk's office. 

County Clerk's Office

Some counties make their court records searchable on the county clerk's website. Larger counties with online databases include BexarCollinDallas, DentonHarris, Tarrant, and Travis counties. The county clerk keeps case records from the county courts, county courts at law, and probate courts, including:

  • civil cases
  • criminal cases
  • probate cases
  • appeals from justice of the peace courts 
  • appeals from municipal courts

A separate database may let you search property records and other documents recorded with the clerk, such as:

  • real estate records
  • marriage certificates
  • assumed name certificates (DBAs)
  • miscellaneous filings

Larger counties that have county recordings databases include Bexar, CollinDallas, DentonHarris, Tarrant, and Travis counties. To access records that aren't online, please contact the county clerk's office.

Justice of the Peace Courts

You'll usually have to contact the specific court to access justice of the peace (JP) court records. Some counties, like Denton and Tarrant County, allow searching JP records online. Cases appealed from JP courts may be transferred to a county court as part of a new trial. 

Municipal Courts

Municipal cases are sometimes searchable on the municipal court's website. This can include cases like traffic tickets and city code violations. You may have to contact the court to access case files that are not online. Cases appealed from municipal courts may be transferred to a county court as part of a new trial. 

Legal Databases

You can access various court records through legal databases like Lexis, Westlaw, and Fastcase. State Law Library patrons can use Fastcase remotely to find final opinions for select Texas and federal appellate cases. Lexis and Westlaw are available at the library in person. 

Other records such as petitions, briefs, and opinions from lower courts are only available through the add-on services. The library doesn't subscribe to the add-ons, but other law libraries might have access.

Searching by case number

Appellate case numbers

Cases from appellate courts have consistent cause numbers. A cause number can help you determine which court has your records. See TAMES search for information on how to access records held by appellate and higher courts.

Cause no. Example Texas court Additional information
##-##-#####-CR 03-18-00001-CR Texas Court of Appeals (COA) This is a criminal case. The first set of digits refers to the COA court number. The second set of digits refers to the year the case was filed.
##-##-#####-CV 14-23-00215-CV Texas Court of Appeals (COA) This is a civil case. The first set of digits refers to the COA court number. The second set of digits refers to the year the case was filed.
AP-##,### AP-14,459 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA)  
PD-####-## PD-0001-24 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) This is a petition for discretionary review (PDR). The last two digits refer to the year the petition was filed.
WR-##,###-## WR-77,888-01 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) This is a writ file. It may be a writ of habeas corpus or a writ of mandamus. The last two digits refer to the application number submitted by a specific applicant. 
##-#### 22-0001 Texas Supreme Court

The first two digits refer to the year the case was filed. Cases before 1994 follow a different numbering system. 

Case numbers in trial courts

If your case has a different cause number, it is likely from a trial court, such as a district court or a county court.

Lower courts have their own numbering systems, with significant variations from county to county and from court to court. Some courts use numbers that look like appellate case numbers. Examples of what trial court case numbers may look like include: 

  • 912448-A (Harris County)
  • F19-76545 (Dallas County)
  • 1740511 (Tarrant County)
  • D-1-DC-18-003616-B (Travis County)
  • 2018CR13056 (Bexar County)
  • 15-12-01313-CR (Montgomery County)

It can be difficult to say where the case is from without having additional information. You may want to contact the courts in the county where you think the case was filed. 

How long are court records kept?

The amount of time that a court keeps case files varies depending on the court and the type of record. Some records are kept permanently, while many are destroyed after a certain number of years from the time the case is closed.

The Texas State Library and Archives has published a records retention schedule for local governments. This schedule has recordkeeping recommendations for district courts, county courts, and justice and municipal courts. Each court's timeline may look a bit different from what's listed in the recommendations, so contact the court directly with any questions. 

Where can I find older court records?

Some courts keep their older records. Others may have been transferred to the Texas State Library and Archives (TSLAC) or the Texas Supreme Court Archives. TSLAC's Archives & Reference service can help you track down archival court records. 

The library's Historical Texas Cases guide has resources for finding case reporters from 1840 to the present. 

What court records are accessible to the public?

Most case files, court records, docket sheets, trial dates, etc. are considered public records. Anyone can access them, but the court may charge a service fee to retrieve or copy the files.

Some records may be sealed or accessible only to the parties involved. This typically includes family cases and cases involving minors. Documents may also be redacted for privacy or made confidential for other reasons. The standard process to request the sealing of court records is in Rule 76a of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, but other laws may apply. 

Some criminal records can be sealed through orders of nondisclosure or completely removed (expunged). The library's Expunctions and Nondisclosure Orders guide has more information about sealing criminal records.