Public Records

People Phone License Plate VIN
People Phone License Plate VIN

Public Records Definition

Public records in the United States are any publicly collected and archived record by the government. Most types of public records are public domain which means anyone can see them. Some people choose to search public records in person at a government agency and other authorized facility but most use online public record resources like Obtaining someone’s public record is totally legal and is made possible by the Freedom of Information Act of 1966.

Types of Public Records

  • There are various types of public records that are available to the general public. Some of your information that could be considered public record includes:
  •  Civil and Vital Records
  • Birth and Death
  • Marriage & Divorce Records
  • Lien and Judgment Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Court Records
  • Government Records
  • Bankruptcy Records
  • Driving and Traffic Records
  • Phone and Address Information
  • Naturalization and Immigration Records
  • Warrant and Probation Records

Most any Government Public Information

Even though these records are considered “public records,” they could be kept confidential or private under federal, state, or city law.

How are Public Records Accessed?

Generally speaking, public records are kept within a federal, state, city, or county government agency, and can be viewed by the public. In most cases, public records are documents, but they can also be in the form of:

  • Internet
  • Books
  • Letters
  • Maps
  • Software
  • Films
  • Recordings
  • Tapes

To access a public record, you will simply need to contact the government agency that has a copy of that record. For instance, if someone just moved into your neighborhood, and you want to find out more information pertaining to them, do some research on where they resided before moving into your community. If your neighbor was convicted of a burglary, you could find out. To access this information, you could request a copy of the case records from the courthouse in the county where the crime was committed. It is that simple. Submit a request, and if the information is authorized for public viewing, you can access it.

Semi-Public Records

Depending on the state or county, in addition to the type of record being requested, some information is considered “semi-public.” This means that while the information is public, there is a limit as to what you can view. For instance, some states allow you to order transcripts from court cases, regardless if they are civil or criminal. However, documents pertaining to domestic violence are kept confidential, whereas divorce proceedings are considered public record. Examples of semi-public records include:

• Credit reports
• Employment information
• State statutes
• Medical information
• Business policies
• Legal dictates

Closed records are maintained by the federal government, and only accessible by court order.

Public Records Information Resources

State and Federal Public Offices

Public Records History

Freedom of Information Act

Public Records Search

Public Records
Public Records
Author: SQAdmin
Last Updated: December 16, 2017

Please be aware that the information obtained using searches may not always be accurate and up to date as we do not create, verify, or guarantee the accuracy or the amount of information provided through our service. Data availability is largely dependent on various public sources from which the information is aggregated. is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by Fair Credit Reporting Act and should not be used to determine an individual’s eligibility for personal credit or employment, or to assess risk associated with any business transactions such as tenant screening. By using the services offered through this website you agree to comply with all of the conditions set forth in our terms and privacy disclosure. The information obtained from our searches is not to be used for any unlawful purposes such as stalking or harassing others, or investigating public officials or celebrities. Violators may be subject to civil and criminal litigation and penalties. All searches are subject to our terms and applicable laws.