Chapter 3: Criminal Conviction Records

3.1 Introduction

In administering BEI program rules and policies, DARS DHHS may perform criminal conviction records checks of

  • applicants for BEI certification, and
  • BEI certificate holders.

The purpose of the criminal conviction records check is to determine whether there are any criminal convictions that might disqualify or make the individual ineligible to hold BEI interpreter certification, or warrant suspension, revocation, or other disciplinary action against current certificate holders. Any offense punishable as a Class C misdemeanor does not apply.

As appropriate, a DARS DHHS staff member performs the following tasks in connection with criminal conviction records checks:

  • initiates a criminal conviction records check;
  • indicates clearance for staff to complete the application or renewal process if a conviction records check reveals no criminal convictions;
  • consults with DARS Legal Services if the conviction search reveals a criminal conviction that would or could be grounds for denying an application for certification or revoking, suspending, or otherwise disciplining a certificate holder, as set forth in the following DARS administrative rules:
    • 40 TAC Section 101.1211 concerning grounds for denying, suspending, or revoking an interpreter's certificate; or
    • 40 TAC Section 109.227 concerning disciplinary actions;
  • offers the applicant an opportunity to submit relevant details concerning the convictions; and
  • may present information to the BEI Advisory Board for its review and recommendation.

3.2 Obtaining Criminal Conviction Records

DARS DHHS performs criminal conviction records checks

  • when a person applies for DARS DHHS interpreter certification,
  • when a person who is a DARS DHHS certificate holder applies for his or her five-year recertification,
  • when DARS DHHS staff member initiates a periodic review of the criminal conviction records of DARS DHHS certificate holders,
  • when DARS DHHS staff learns that an applicant or certificate holder has or is alleged to have a criminal conviction record, and
  • at DARS DHHS discretion.

3.3 Agency Procedures for Review of Criminal Conviction Records Check Information

The DARS DHHS staff member completes the criminal conviction records search.

3.3.1 Actions Based on Information

If the criminal conviction records check reveals no criminal convictions, a DARS DHHS staff member completes the application process by sending the applicant information on testing or certification renewal.

If the criminal conviction records check reveals that the applicant or certificate holder has a criminal conviction record that would or could be grounds for denying an application for certification or revoking, suspending, or otherwise disciplining a certificate holder, a DARS DHHS staff member

  • informs the DARS DHHS director or DARS Legal Services of the need for further review, research, or consultation, and
  • forwards the relevant information, including the completed application and the criminal conviction check results.

3.3.2 Notifying Individuals of Results and Follow-up Procedures

A DARS DHHS staff member will notify all applicants and certificate holders in writing, by certified mail, of the results of criminal conviction records checks that reveal a criminal conviction, within 30 days of the results.

Individuals with criminal conviction records will be required to provide DARS DHHS with additional or supplemental information regarding the conviction, within 30 days of any request from DARS DHHS to do so.

A DARS DHHS staff member will review information regarding the convictions from all sources and will make a determination of the appropriate action based upon all information provided.

3.4 Use and Analysis of Criminal Conviction Records and Related Information

3.4.1 Use of Criminal Conviction Records in the BEI Certification Process

Criminal convictions, as evidenced by criminal conviction records, may be used to deny an application for DARS DHHS interpreter certification or as a basis for a disciplinary action against a DARS DHHS certificate holder, in accordance with DARS rules 40 TAC Section 101.1211 and Section 109.227. In such cases, individuals will be given notice of the alleged violations and opportunity to respond and to request a hearing on the allegations and proposed action.

3.4.2 Analysis of Criminal Convictions Records

The decision of whether an applicant or certificate holder is qualified to be certified as a DARS DHHS certificate holder or to maintain a DARS DHHS certificate, in light of the convictions specific to that individual, may be based on any of the following factors:

  • the recommendation of the BEI Advisory Board;
  • the nature and seriousness of the crime;
  • the relationship of the crime to the purposes for requesting to become a certified interpreter;
  • the extent to which being a certified interpreter might afford an opportunity to repeat the crime;
  • the relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, or fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of a certified interpreter;
  • the age of the person at the time of the crime;
  • the amount of time that has passed since the person's most recent criminal activity;
  • the conduct and work activity of the person before and after the crime;
  • evidence of the person's rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or following release;
  • other evidence of the person's present fitness, including letters of recommendation from
    • prosecution, law enforcement, or correctional officers who had responsibility for the person; and
    • sheriff or chief of police in the community where the person resides; and
    • any other individual in contact with the person; and
  • any other factor that it is reasonably determined is relevant to the individual's qualifications to serve as a BEI certified interpreter.

3.4.3 Requests for Additional Information Regarding Criminal Convictions

In reviewing, investigating, or analyzing criminal conviction records, a DARS DHHS staff member may request information from the applicant or certificate holder regarding the convictions, circumstances relating to the convictions, and any information relating to the individual's circumstances since the convictions.

Applicants and certificate holders with criminal conviction records are required to report such conviction records to DARS DHHS at the time of application for testing or for certification, including at the time of five-year renewal or annual maintenance. Additionally, such individuals must report any criminal convictions to DARS DHHS in a timely manner whenever they occur.

Individuals must provide DARS DHHS with any requested information related to criminal convictions within 30 days of the date of the written request from DARS DHHS for that information. Failure to submit the information within the stated deadline may result in DARS DHHS denying an application or proposing disciplinary action against a certificate holder under 40 TAC Section 101.1211 or 40 TAC Section 109.227.