Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-435 Page: 4 of 5
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The Honorable Tim Curry - Page 4
construing section 58.001(c) not to require the destruction of information relating to a
child who has completed a first offender program before the 90th day after the date the
child completes the program.
Next, you ask about the effect of the destruction of information under section
58.001(c) on a law enforcement agency's ability to administer a first offender program.
You state that if information
on a juvenile is destroyed upon completion of a first offender
program or informal disposition, there will be no way for the [law
enforcement agency] to determine if a child has been [a] first
offender or not. In effect, a juvenile could possibly have the option
to participate in a first offender program on more than one occasion
without the existence of the records to demonstrate to the contrary.
Your question assumes that a child who has successfully completed the first offender
program or informal disposition is thereafter ineligible for referral to the first offender
program. Section 52.031(dXI) provides that a law enforcement officer may refer a child
to the law enforcement officer or agency designated to process children under the first
offender program for disposition under the program if "the child has not previously been
adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct." Nothing in section 52.031 (with
the exception of the limited circumstances set forth in subsection 0) as discussed above)
suggests that a child who has successfully completed the first offender program or
informal disposition is ineligible for referral to the first offender program. Section 52.031
is plain on its face. It is within the province of the legislature, not this office, to amend
section 52.031 to tighten the eligibility requirements for the first offender program.
Finally, you express concern that the destruction of information under section
58.001(c) will negatively affect various operations of law enforcement agencies.5 You
point out, for example, that the destruction of information could affect law enforcement
agencies' ability to evaluate juveniles' continuing contacts with police and to pursue leads
in investigations of major crimes. As noted above, section 58.001(c) does not require a
law enforcement agency to destroy all information in its possession relating to a juvenile,
but rather all information relating to the juvenile created pursuant to the particular arrest.
Furthermore, although we understand your concerns about the impact of section
58.001(c), in enacting this provision the legislature appears to have balanced the privacy
interests of children and law enforcement interests. It is for the legislature, not this office,
to evaluate the effectiveness of this balance and to amend the statute if necessary.
5You list 11 areas of concern. It is not clear from the items on this list whether you intend to ask
about the interaction of section 58.001(c) and other particular statutory requirements or merely to express
your concern about the effect of section 58.001(c) on law enforcement operations in general. In the event
that you have questions about the implications of section 58.001(c) for particular statutory requirements,
please present and brief those questions specifically.
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-435, text, 1997; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth274244/m1/4/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.