Public Records in the United States
In a hurry? Search here. The definition of “public court records” is the collection of information that is not considered confidential or has been marked as accessible by the public. Over the years new legislations have made public access to court records easier. For example, in California when couples fill out a marriage license they have the option of checking a box whether to allow the public to access information regarding this marriage.
The Public Records System in the United States
Within the United States the free public access to court records is controlled by the government within the state with all of them having different policies in regarding who and what can be accessed by the public. However a majority of time accessing information on marriages, criminal cases, real estate cases or even divorce cases are available with some restrictions on private information like SSN, date of birth, financial account numbers and home address which would not be available when you access the information.
Much of it can be located through online services like PACER (acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records) which allows registered users to view cases and docket information for a one-time fee or even a monthly subscription. It is important to note that several online websites that provide court records will normally specialize in one specific area so it is recommended that you search through several websites until you are satisfied with what you have found.
Different kinds of public records.
As mentioned there are several types of records that can be accessed by the public for viewing: Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the records that are available:
- Land records which contain information of property or land transfer from the U.S government to a private ownership.
- Public criminal court records are the most widely searched records because it provides a sense of safety for the person searching the information. People who use these records are employers, tenants and even couples as a backround check.
- Civil records with many of them consisting of information regarding people living in the state or district. A public record includes marriage, divorce, birth, death and background check.
- Bankruptcy records: These include records regarding a bankruptcy filed on behalf of the person you are searching. You can find out information regarding what type of bankruptcy and when it was filed.
- Traffic violations: Insurance companies mainly use these types of records to determine the persons driving record. They would search for such data if the person has applied for insurance through them.
In some cases if the case log is a criminal or civil trial than for the record to be available it would have to be signed off by the presiding judge. Nowadays even federal, supreme or superior court records are accessible.
Why use court records?
Over the years there have been several uses of case logs mainly because they are so widely available. For example land records can include historical information regarding family history, ancestry and most important ownership. Some of these records are even accessed to show military service of a person establishing the fact that they were present at that location during the specified time and date.
As mentioned the most searched records are criminal which included background checks that are used to check creditability of the person applying for a position. Typically companies that require high security clearance would only do a complete background check like financial institutions and working within the police force or government agency. Closely related to public criminal records are civil records because they are used to check the status of the person by checking birth and death while looking into marital status. Many lawyers have accessed such records for legal purposes during divorce proceedings or fraudulent claims when someone is either hiding assets or filing a life insurance payout claiming death of spouse or close relative.
If you’re applying for credit then you’ll be asked this common question: Have you filed for bankruptcy before? And the answer would normally be followed up by a bankruptcy record check to confirm validity of the answer provided. The government and lawyers will also use this information to confirm information on your tax form if you’ve indicated no profit earned due to bankruptcy.
Whenever you purchase a vehicle and apply for insurance there is usually a gap between the time you have applied for the insurance policy and when the application is either approved or denied. During this time the insurance company is looking through the traffic records. Court cases offer information about your driving history. Depending on what’s found in the traffic record this will influence your insurance premiums or if you have a history of traffic violations you will probably be denied insurance. It not just insurance companies but if you are ever convicted of a driving offense and facing a trial, then the lawyers will use the records to bring up your driving history to make a case towards you and your lawyer will use the same information trying to earn you a lighter sentence if you have impressive driving records.
Looking for records? Your data is only a few clicks away.
If you are looking for records Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida or anywhere in the US, your data is only a few clicks away. There are several online services available that will provide you with a public court record within the United States. Many of them will niche target a specific category however several of them will provide you with a complete back ground check, however another thing to keep in mind before starting is to always have a good idea of what your specific needs are before starting. Many of these online services offer a free public records search or will charge you a small fee before you get started either monthly for unlimited searches or per search.
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