POLICE Department

Auto Dealers Detail - Criminal Background Checks


Per City Ordinance, all licenses (except Retail Supply Dealers) issued by the Auto Dealers Detail require a State and National criminal background check.  Although the requirement for a criminal background check has been in City Ordinance for numerous years, the Houston Police Department was recently mandated to implement changes regarding the background check process.  Effective September 1, 2013, new processes are being implemented regarding criminal background checks.  In July of 2013, notices were sent to all currently licensed businesses advising of the process change.  The process change will now require most applicants to have their State and National criminal background check conducted at a Identogo location at a cost of $37.00.  To view the notice specific to your type of license, please go to Wrecker Driver, Retail Supply Dealer (RSD) or All Businesses (except RSD).  If completing a background check at a Identogo site, each applicant must bring a FastPass form to the appointment.


Wrecker Drivers

  • Private Property – All applicants (new and renewal) must obtain a criminal background check via Identogo at a cost of $37.00. Please refer to the Wrecker Driver letter and FastPass form for instructions.

  • Police Authorized Tow Service Agreement (PATSA) – If working under a PATSA, all applicants will have their criminal background check conducted by the Houston Police Department.

All Businesses (Except Retail Supply Dealer)

  • All applicants (new and renewal) in this category must obtain a criminal background check via Identogo at a cost of $37.00.  Please refer to the All Businesses letter and Fast Pass form for instructions.

Retail Supply Dealer

  • Applicants (new and renewal) will have a local background check performed for wants and warrants.  Please refer to the Retail Supply Dealer letter for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I have never had my criminal history checked by the Auto Dealers Detail for my license.  Does this change apply to me?

A. Yes, all licensees listed in Chapter 1-9 and 1-10 have had a criminal history background check conducted.  As an applicant for a license, you are subject to a background check based on the type of automotive license you hold/request.  Previous background checks were free and completed by an Auto Dealers officer based on the application information.  Due to the free status and internal systems utilized, most licensees didn’t realize the check was already conducted as required for compliance per City Ordinance.

Q. What are the criminal history background check standards?

A. Please refer to Chapter 1-10 Same-Specific permits and licenses of the Municipal Code of Ordinances for specific background check standards.  https://library.municode.com/tx/houston/codes/code_of_ordinances

Q. What Automotive licenses fall under the criminal background check?

A. Automotive Repair Facility, Motor Vehicle Dealer, Automotive Rebuilder and Dismantler, Automotive Parts Rebuilder, Used Parts & Used Accessory Dealer, Motor Vehicle and Retail Supply Dealer, Wholesale Jobber and Retail Supply Dealer, Body Shop Facility with Storage Privileges, Wholesale Automotive Jobber & Supply Firm, SL, Salesman, Wrecker Driver licenses

Q. Why is this change necessary?

A. The Houston Police Department was mandated to change in order to remain compliant with Federal Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) policy.

Q. How much will this cost?  How much of the fee is going to the City of Houston or to the Auto Dealers Detail?

A. The background check will cost $37.00.  The City of Houston and the Auto Dealers Detail receive no money from this process.  The $37.00 fee is set by DPS, FBI and Identogo and they receive the proceeds.

Q. If Identogo has my fingerprints from another background search (Ex: Concealed Handgun License, etc) can Auto Dealers just use that search?

A. Unfortunately, due to CJIS policy, the Auto Dealers Detail is not allowed to view criminal background searches that did not originate with the Auto Dealers Detail. 

Q. When does this take effect?

A. September 1, 2013

Q. Will all license holders have to go for a new background check on September 1, 2013?

A. No.  In fact, we do not want all license holders to report on September 1, 2013.  Applicants will only complete the process during renewal or when applying for a new license.