What Are Public Records And What Do They Tell You?

There is a wealth of information available at your fingertips — known as public records. The key to accessing that information is to know how to search for it and what information you are allowed to obtain.

The following is a brief guide to public records. It will explore what public records are, how you can view them, and how retrieving this information can benefit you.

What are Public Records?

Certain information may not be considered confidential. When these pieces of information are not classified as confidential, they are known as public record, which means this material can be easily obtained by anyone who requests it.

The type of information that is considered public record will vary depending upon the city, state or county in which the information was filed. Every location may have different laws regarding what is classified as public record.

Some examples of public records include:

  • Ownership records: property ownership, real estate holdings, real estate transfers
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage licenses
  • Death certificates
  • Criminal records
  • Court dockets
  • Transcripts and minutes from public meetings and forums

How are Public Records Accessed?

Making a public records request online is often the easiest and fastest way, but not every county, city or state offers this as an option. When there is no option to search public records online, you may have to make the request in person or in writing. This will require you to send a letter to the county/city/state requesting a copy of the documentation.

If you are going to make a public records request, be prepared to answer some questions. Almost every public records office will require you to answer basic questions, such as name of the individual, address and date of birth/death/marriage, to obtain any information that is available as public record.

Just remember that every state, city and county may have individual rules and procedures for releasing information that is available as public record. Before making a request for information, it is important to know the process used to release information to the public. This information is usually available by visiting the court’s official website, which often will outline the process required to submit a request for access to court records or other documents.

What Situations can be Helped with Access to Public Records?

The information obtained by accessing public records can prove to be invaluable to certain individuals. This could include people who are in the middle of a divorce or child custody case, those looking for assets of a recently deceased individual, or anyone conducting a background check on someone.

In addition to searching for assets or criminal background information, lawyers and attorneys may find some information found as public record helpful when creating a case.

For example, an attorney may search case records to find information about previous litigations or settlements filed against a specific company or consumer organization. This information will prove invaluable to the attorneys as they create a case to take before a judge/jury.

While there is public access to court records and other information, it is not always easy to find and/or access this type of material. A private investigator can help with the complex process of searching and obtaining public records.

Don’t spend valuable time searching for public information without help. Call Arkus, Inc. today to learn how our private investigators can help with your search for information available through public records.