July 12, 2024 [Z1A]
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Legislative and DCO updates

Includes information on SB 41 changes, Justice Committee on Information Technology Updates, and DCO Updates.
View the Power Point Presentation or Video Presentation given on December 15, 2021.

eFiling / Re:SearchTX

Includes information to Attorneys on re:searchtx only for civil & family cases.
View the UPDATED Power Point presentation based on the seminar.

Criminal Filing

Seminar: Criminal e-filing Overview: Includes tips on how to avoid common errors, send a file and our new Attorney Kiosk page. View the UPDATED Power Point presentation based on the seminar. You can access the Electronic Filing State Portal by clicking here.

Pursuant to Tex. Const. Art. V, Sec. 31 and Sections 22.004, 22.108, 74.024, and 72.031 of the Texas Government Code, the Supreme Court of Texas, acting concurrently with the Court of Criminal Appeals, amended the Statewide Rules Governing Electronic Filing in Criminal Cases. On February 13 and 14, 2017, the Supreme Court of Texas and The Court of Criminal Appeals adopted amendments to the statewide rules governing electronic filings in criminal cases. Harris County is mandated on January 1, 2018 for electronic filing in all Criminal Courts and restricts us from accepting paper filing from any filer other than Pro Se filers. Please click on the following link to learn more about electronic filing www.efiletexas.gov. We will also be unable to accept any other type of filing other than through EFileTexas.gov which includes any type of Fax Filing.

***Filings received and/or signed by a judge before 4pm in the following areas will be processed on the same business day:

Criminal Customer Service
Non-Disclosure - If filed as a felony, the filer must have contacted the court and receive the court approved future setting date. File using the existing Harris County Case file number. The date must be noted in the Filer "Comments to the Court" section

  • Bond Forfeiture/Cash Bonds
  • PCW - Post Conviction Writs
  • Criminal Appeals
  • Criminal District Courts
  • Criminal County Courts at Law

All documents listed below should be filed as a new case, if the case doesn't already exist:

Occupational Driver's License - Filer must have contacted the court and receive a reset form with the court approved future setting date. The date must be noted in the Filer "Comments to the Court" section.

Bill of Review
All documents listed below should be filed using the existing Harris County case file number. If filed as a felony, the filer must have contacted the court and receive the court approved future setting date. The date must be noted in the eFiler "Comments to the Court" section.

Sexual Violent Predator (SVP)
Out of State Witnesses
11.07 Writs
11.071 Writs
11.072 Writs
11.08 Writs
Felony Expunction Requests

New eFile portal

eFileTXCourts.gov has launched their *new* version of the filing portal. This can be utilized to submit filings to the eFileTXCourts.gov filing manager. This new filing portal is designed in HTML5 and offers a number of added benefits including the ability to access eFileTXCourts.gov on your tablet or phone, enabling copy, paste, sorting and filtering features, single screen data entry, keyboard shortcut navigation, modern web browser support and more!

DCO’s seminar on e-filing

Mastering the basics of the state's new e-filing system
Includes tips on how to send a file, make a payment, avoid common errors

Contacts for filing troubleshooting

Basic filing issues: If you cannot file your documents with an electronic file service provider (EFSP) or are having trouble uploading or downloading documents or choosing titles, please contact your EFSP. (You can consult this list of EFSPs, which also include phone numbers.)

Inquiries for District Clerk’s Office: If you have questions, comments or issues about your filings that the District Clerk’s Office needs to resolve, please send inquiries or comments to eFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. Staff will screen the inbox daily. Please include your name, phone number, case number, envelope box number and/or party names and a brief description of the problem.

Missing files: If you have a case number but it does not come up in the District Clerk’s system when you look for it, please contact the DCO at eFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. Your inquiry will be forwarded to the DCO’s technical staff.

eFileTexas.gov’s EFSP service: If you experience e-filing or technical problems while using eFileTexas.gov’s EFSP service, please contact eFileTexas.gov’s self service website: Self-Service Support.

Right format for e-docs

The state Supreme Court has mandated that e-files in civil and family cases be submitted in specific formats. The District Clerk’s Office also has its own requirements.

Some filers may find meeting the e-doc requirements described below intimidating. There’s an alternative. Some electronic file service providers (EFSPs) will format e-docs to meet requirements. Filers may shop around to see what services EFSPs provide.

When you attach each document for a filing:

  • Description field – enter the exact document title that is listed on your paper document
  • Security field – select the appropriate document type for each document
  • Envelope size is limited to 35 meg
  • Enter any filing comments to the clerk in the Filing Comments

Note: After filing documents for a Criminal Court, the filer must approach the clerk in order for the document to be prepared and forwarded to the judge for review and signature.

Formatting tips

Filers Information: Name, email address and signature must be included on the document. A signature includes a "/s/" and the name typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear, unless the document is notarized or sworn, or can be an electronic image or scanned image of the signature.

Document Name: Filer should place the actual document name in the descriptor field using capital letters (i.e. MOTION TO SUBSTITUTE, ORDER TO KEEP SEPARATE, ORDER FOR HOT MEAL, etc.)

Attorney Pro Tem: All attorney Pro Tem filers are to file documents through eFileTXCourt.gov Submitting a filing through the state portal does not stamp or indicate in any way if a filer is filing for the state or defense. Note: it is not a requirement for you to select a "party" in order to submit filings in a criminal case.

Text-searchable e-docs: Documents must be in text-searchable, PDF format on 8.5 x 11 inch pages. Pages must be appropriately rotated. Use optical character recognition software (OCR) to make documents text searchable. Some scanners and scanning software may have OCR capability, but you may have to buy the software.

Resolution requirements: All black and white scanned documents must have 300 dotsper-inch (dpi.) Color images must have at least 600 dpi. A larger dpi number will increase the size of your files and could cause it to not be accepted by the Electronic Filing Manager. (The average for a 10 page PDF, whether scanned or converted should be less than 1MB.)

Requirements for document file names: File names MUST BE LIMITED to 50 characters. File names should contain only alphanumeric characters that are part of the Latin1_General set. No special characters are allowed.

Multiple e-docs, same envelope: Multiple documents related to a single filing or case number may be filed in the same envelope. Make sure the documents are separated within the filing. Note: Motions and Orders can be filed together.

Criminal filings for the same defendant with multiple cases: Can be filed under one of the case numbers. However, the document must include all case numbers in which the filings are to be filed. If the filing has multiple case numbers, do not file under each case number. Once received and processed, the filing will be available for each case individually.

Multiple cases, same defendant, located in the same court: Filings containing multiple cases for the same defendant are accepted as long as all of the cases are located within the same court. Filings containing multiple cases, same defendant, assigned to different courts will be sent back for correction.

Embedding: An e-filed document may not contain any security or feature restriction including password protection or encryption and may not contain embedded multimedia video, audio, or programming. Documents may not contain package PDFs. PDFs should not be embedded inside of another PDF. Each document must be a single PDF. An appellate court may require that multiple PDF documents be combined into a single PDF document and bookmarks used to separate content appropriately. The content of the document should not depend on bookmarks.

Reasons for returned files

The Harris County District Clerk's Office returns some files that have been improperly submitted. When these files are returned, the DCO will notify you of the type of filing error that occurred. Filers should resubmit files after they have corrected the error. Please take a moment to review common errors:

Sensitive Data: Pursuant to the Texas Supreme Court electronic filing mandate regarding sensitive data, TCRP Rule 21c is effective March 1, 2017. Sensitive data must be redacted using the letter "X." The filing party must retain an un-redacted version of the filed document during the pendency of the case and any related appellate proceedings filed within three years of the date the judgment is signed.

Sensitive Data Includes:
  • Bank account numbers, credit card numbers, financial account numbers.
  • Birthdate, home address, personal phone number and name of any minor unless, under Texas Family Code Section 54.02, a juvenile court has waived its exclusive jurisdiction and transferred the individual to a district court.
  • DL, SSN, passport number, tax ID number, and government issued ID number.

If filings should be submitted in paper or electronic format with any of the numbers, dates, names or addresses specified in this rule they will be returned for correction within seventy two hours to return to retain original filing date. Documents containing sensitive data may be filed with a court when the data's inclusion is specifically required by a statute, court rule, or administrative regulation, or when the data is exempt from redaction under Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.10. If the document is in paper format and has any of this sensitive information in the filing, the following statement must be included on the upper left hand side of the first page of the document, "NOTICE: THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS SENSITIVE DATA."

Sealed documents - Filer must bring into the court the motion and order to seal along with the document that needs to be sealed. Filer will present the paper documents to the judge for ruling. If the judge signs the order, the judge will hand the motion/order and document to the court clerk for processing.

Reasons for rejecting

  • Stand-alone documents not submitted as a separate PDF (exception: a motion and an order can be filed together as one document.)
  • Document is sealed.
  • Duplicate new case filing - the filing requesting a new case duplicates an existing case.
  • Illegible/Unreadable document.
  • Filer requested return of document.
  • By judge's request or order to return document.
  • Name, case number and/or court do not match Case Detail.
  • Missing name, signature and email address of filer.
  • Submitting a locked document.
  • Documents submitted upside down or rotated left or right.
  • Not submitting a text searchable PDF document.
  • Documents received with multiple cases, same defendant assigned to different courts.
  • Business Records affidavit that references an attached CD. Paper documents must be submitted through the state portal. If the CD is audio, then the business records should reflect where the CD is housed and not reference that it is attached to the affidavit.

Contact Information: In the signature block, filers must include their contact information, including name, address, phone number and email address. Documents without signatures will be returned to filers.

Duplicate filings: The district Clerk's staff is not responsible for determining if a filing is a duplicate or deducing the intent of the filer. Unless the attorney contacts the DCO to ask for cancellation of the filing before the DCO accepts it, it will go into the system. If there is cost involved, refunds are not guaranteed.

No attorney signature: Signatures must be entered in accordance with the Supreme Court order. Files without the proper signature will be returned.

Incorrect filing code: Filers can limit their options by entering the wrong code. In addition, codes may determine fees. A wrong code may lead to overbilling or under billing. For example, if you enter "Petition for Non-Disclosure" instead of "Occupational License," the fees are different. If the District Clerk's Office cannot make the change, the file will be returned to the filer.

Incorrect agency or jurisdiction: Both the Harris County District Clerk's Office and Harris County Clerk's Office are subject to the Supreme Court mandate on e-filing. But the offices operate independently and cannot accept filings slated for the other office. If you file documents with the District Clerk's Office that must be filed at the Harris County Clerk's Office, the files will be returned. If you file them in the wrong county, they also will be returned.

Insufficient payment: If your credit or debit card is rejected due to insufficient funds, the District Clerk's Office will return the file and request that you use another card or form of payment.

Missing information pertinent to the filing: Files lacking key information will be returned.

Unreadable or illegible documents: Such files will be returned.

Rejections requested by filing party: Please give your name when you ask the District Clerk's Office to reject a file. Names are needed so the DCO can send rejections to the right parties.

Documents not separate: Filers may submit multiple documents in the same envelope as long as they are related to a single filing or case. But such documents must be separated within an envelope and cannot be grouped together in a large document. So within an envelope, filers may send, for instance, a lead document and motions, an order, correspondence and exhibits that are related to the lead document. But all these items must be sent as separate documents within the envelope. The envelope will be returned if the documents are not separated.

No encryption, password protection: Documents may not contain security or feature restrictions, such as password protection and encryption, and may not contain embedded multimedia video, audio, or programming. The District Clerk's Office will return documents with such restrictions and embedded elements to filers.

Sealed files: If an order has been issued sealing a file a filer cannot file their document electronically. A person trying to file documents will need to bring them to the District Clerk's Office for processing. These documents cannot be filed electronically and will be returned.

No viruses, malware: An e-filed document must not contain a virus or malware. By e-filing a document, filers are in effect certifying that they have checked and made certain that documents have no viruses and malware. Corrupt files will be returned to filers.

Those filings not following these filing instructions will be returned for correction. Questions, contact us at CriminaleFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. Any filings returned for correction and resubmitted within 72 hours of the original filing will receive the original file date. Filings received after 72 hours will receive a new filing date, pursuant to rule 2.6 of the Statewide Rules Governing Electronic Filing in Criminal Cases.

Now that we have begun this transformation, we would greatly appreciate your feedback. If you have questions, comments or issues we need to resolve about your filings we encourage you to contact us at eFiling@hcdistrictclerk.com. We will be screening the inbox daily. Please send your name, phone number, case number, envelope box number and/or party names and a brief description of the problem. We are in this together and we want to work with you to get these issues resolved as soon as possible.