Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-435 Page: 2 of 5
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The Honorable Tim Curry - Page 2
successful completion by the child of a first offender program under
Section 52.031 or informal disposition under Section 52.03, the law
enforcement agency shall destroy all information, including
photographs and fingerprints, relating to the child. [Emphasis
You are particularly interested in the requirements of subsection (c). The language
of subsection (c) was added in 1995 by the Seventy-fourth Legislaturel in conference
committee. See S.R. 1173, 18, 74th Leg., RS. (1995) (suspending Senate Rule
12.03(4) in order to add subsection (c) to section 58.001 in conference committee).
Because this language was not considered by the legislature until the very end of the
legislative process, we have not been able to find any legislative history that would shed
light on the legislature's intent. At any rate, subsection (c) is not ambiguous. It plainly
requires a law enforcement agency to destroy all information relating to a child who has
been taken into custody created pursuant to that arrest if the child is not referred to
juvenile court within ten days, unless the child is placed in a first offender program under
Family Code section 52.031 or on informal disposition under Family Code section 52.03.
In the event a child is placed in a first offender program or on informal disposition, the law
enforcement agency must destroy all information relating to the child created pursuant to
that arrest if the child successfully completes the program or informal disposition.
Your first questions focus on the meaning of the phrase "all information" in the
second and fourth sentences of subsection (c). First, you state that a juvenile and an adult
may be arrested at the same time for the same offense, and that the arrest report will
include the names of both individuals. In other cases, two or more juveniles may be
arrested and the arrest report will include all their names. In the event the child (or, in the
latter case, one of the children) is not referred to juvenile court or successfully completes a
first offender program or informal disposition, you ask whether subsection (c) requires a
law enforcement agency to destroy the entire arrest report. Subsection (c) speaks in terms
of information rather than documents or records. For this reason, we do not believe it
requires the destruction of the entire arrest report. The redaction of the report to remove
any information identifying the child who was not referred to juvenile court or who
successfully completed a first offender program or informal disposition would appear to
satisfy subsection (c). We note, however, that section 58.007 requires that law
enforcement records and files concerning a child shall "be kept separate from adult files
and records." This would appear to require that separate records, including arrest reports,
be made for a juvenile arrestee in the first situation you describe.2 Finally, we stress that
ISee Act of May 27, 1995, 74th Leg., R.S., ch. 262, 53, 1995 Tex. Gen. Laws 2517, 2549-50.
2After redacting information relating to the arrest of a juvenile from an adult arrest record, we
believe it would be permissible for a law enforcement agency to indicate in the adult arrest record that the
adult was arrested with a juvenile, if the identity of the juvenile is not disclosed, or, alternatively, to list
the juvenile as a witness to the offense, if there is no indication that the juvenile was arrested. We also
note as a general matter that the requirement in Family Code section 58.007 that law enforcement records
n 1 9/ 9L
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-435, text, 1997; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth274244/m1/2/?rotate=90: accessed January 15, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.