How to Get a Copy of County Courthouse Public Records
County courthouse public records are public records that are available to the general public. The most common way of obtaining courthouse public records has been to go to the courthouse and fill out a form with the records clerk and have a copy printed up. This is still a very viable means of procuring county courthouse records however, with the advent of the internet, this can also be done online.
Obtain County Courthouse Public Records in Person
The rules to obtain courthouse records may vary from state to state. Here are some of the basic steps that apply to most courthouses when procuring court records.
1). Find the appropriate courthouse or county recorder office. Click here for a nationwide directory of courthouses in the United States.
2). Visit the relevant courthouse and locate the recorder’s office. Request a copy of the relevant court record or transcript. Note, there might be a small fee for a physical copy of a court document.
3). Be prepared to give a reason for the request and your personal information in order to obain the copy.
Obtain County Courthouse Public Records Online
When obtaining a copy of a county courthouse record online you will need to have the full name of the person in question as well as the county that person’s court case was processed in. It is important to have multiple pieces of identifiable information so as to verify you have the correct record for the correct person. Many people share the same first and last name and so you’ll want to know the birth date, age, address to verify you’ve found the right person. A couple of the benefits of obtaining courthouse records online are that you can locate the record from the convenience of your home and all searches are anonymous. Make sure to use a verified public record repository to certain that the court record information is up to date and accurate.
Types of Courthouse Records
Unless the Supreme Court, or a specific statute, prohibits you from obtaining the court file, these are the following reports that are generally available for public viewing and copying:
• Civil Division Records – The Civil Division has jurisdiction over any civil action or action in equity. ( ie. temporary restraining orders )
• Criminal Division Records – The Criminal Division has jurisdiction over felony, misdemeanor, and certain infraction violations.
• Family Division Records – The Family Division has jurisdiction over civil/family court records. This includes marriage, divorce, family and adoption court proceedings.
• Municipal Court Records – Municipal Courts handle violations of ordinances, traffic violations and small claims
• Special Civil Court Records – Special Civil Courts handle personal injury, property damage, reputations and civil rights. There is no limit to amount of money that can be claimed in lawsuits with these courts.
Closed and Archived Record Reports
You also have access to court reports that are closed and archived, in addition to documents pertaining to active cases. If you need to receive a court report for closed civil, criminal, divorce (before they have been archived), family, and special civil cases, you can visit the local courthouse where the case was heard for your copies. However, for records that are closed and have been archived, you will need to visit the Superior Court of Clerk’s office for copies. This may include the following archived documents:
• Civil cases
• Divorce cases
• Juvenile cases
• General Equity cases
• State Judgments
• State Liens
Fees For County Courthouse Public Records
Whether you are obtaining a court record report online or in person you will probably need to pay a nominal fee for a certified court record copy. This amount will vary at each courthouse. Some states charge you a fee to search for the record or files in addition to a fee for each page of the record. You might also be charged a fee per certification of the copy and a fee per exemplification.
If you are accessing the court records report online, you will need to print the documents out via the court’s public access website. You also have the option to visit the court in person for certified copies. You can also request copies via postal mail by sending in a written request to the courthouse. If you are accessing the documents online, you will be prompted to pay the fees using a secure website.
If you don’t need a certified court record copy then an online public records repository might be a good option. Here you can search court record from the convenience of your home. Many online repositories charge a fee but currently SearchQuarry.com is offering a 5 day free trial where you can lookup unlimited court records without obligation.