Restrictions on Convicted Felons in Texas

Time in prison may not be the only consequence of a felony conviction in Texas. There are also many statutes, administrative rules, state court rules, and federal court rules that place further restrictions on convicted felons in Texas. This collection attempts to bring together many of these restrictions for easier access by the public.

The creation of this collection was prompted by a request from the Austin Public Library for a listing of restrictions on convicted felons. Texas State Law Library staff was surprised to find that there did not exist a comprehensive list and so began to compile one with the assistance of the Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney.

First published in 2002, the resulting list covered over 165 statutes, administrative rules, and court rules, but it was only available in print. This revised online edition has been expanded to include over 300 restrictions, and we feature the most current text of the laws as published on Texas Legislature Online and the Secretary of State's website. In this online edition, we have also annotated each restriction with tags that can help users easily identify the restriction's subject matter as well any professional, occupational, or business licenses that may be affected by a felony conviction.

Please note that we do not warrant this collection to be a comprehensive and complete listing of all restrictions on convicted felons. We include here only those that the library has been able to identify. We recommend you also consult the American Bar Association's National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction, a searchable online database containing the results of a study aiming to collect the consequences that ex-offenders face in various U.S. jurisdictions. That study was conducted by the National Institute of Justice as directed by the U.S. Congress.

Also note that the terms felon and conviction of a felony vary by context, and we caution that restrictions may vary by the nature of the conviction. We have included restrictions that do not explicitly use the term felony but that include acts often classed as felonies or that may be classed as felonies under certain circumstances (e.g., enhancement). We also include restrictions that refer to criminal history or criminal background checks as well as restrictions that refer to acts that may be interpreted as deceptive or fraudulent even if there is no explicit mention of a felony conviction in the language of the law. Our aim was to be inclusive rather than exclusive.

Whether a conviction is subject to a particular statute may be determined not only by the language of the statute but also by court interpretation. Determining the impact of one's criminal record is complex. For example, consider a convicted felon whose conviction has been "set aside" pursuant to Article 42.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 20. Because the conviction has been "set aside," it is possible that the person is not prohibited by Section 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code from possessing a firearm. However, that same person may be disqualified from serving as a licensed county jailer or peace officer because of the language contained in Section 1701.312 of the Texas Occupations Code. Because of these complexities, we urge you to seek advice from an attorney if you have any questions about a restriction.

If you have questions about this collection, please contact the library via our Ask a Librarian service.

» Access the restrictions on convicted felons

page last updated on 29 May 2015