Public Records Search In The United States
Public Records are documents kept by the court and different government agencies in their database. These documents contain information about every citizen. The Freedom of Information Act of 1966 ( FOIA.gov ) makes most government collected information available to the general public. This means that anyone can perform a public records search on most public information. Use the above form to begin your public records search, enter a name and select a record type to begin.
What Is A Public Records Search?
If you are like the majority of the people out there, it is likely that you might not even know about the existence of public records. Even if you have heard about them, you may have never accessed them. In that case, you must be surprised to know how much information (including some personal information too) about every citizen is available to everyone in the form of public records.
Public record keeping is not something new. Their existence, in some form, can be traced back to the time when the States were first formed.
What Are Public Records?
Public records are documents kept by the court and different government agencies in their database. These documents contain information about every citizen. According to the Freedom of Information Act, public records are defined as “all those records, reports, forms, letters, writings, papers, books, memorandum, tapes, cards, recordings, microfilms, photographs, electronic communications, recorded information, electronic data processing records and all other documents pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of characteristics or physical form, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.”
In simple words, public records can be understood as the government’s assets that work like its memory and evidences of peoples’ past. They may also be the basis for future actions. For example, a person with a criminal background may fail to get a job at a reputable company or a student charged for DUI or sex crimes may lose the opportunity to get financial aid from the government or from the university.
What Documents Are Included In Public Records Search?
Since different states have different laws, the documents that constitute public records vary from state to state. However, there are some records that are considered public all over the country and they include:
- Criminal records
- Driving records
- Arrest and Incarceration records
- Birth and death records of all citizens
- Marriage and divorce records
- Information regarding lien and bankruptcy
- Sex offenders
Unemployment claims, census records and information regarding tax and real estate transactions are also considered to be public records in some states.
How to Perform a Public Records Search?
Public records have been in existence since ages and they could be easily obtained by contacting the concerned department and asking them to release the records of a particular person. The process has been further simplified by the internet. Now, there are several online databases available, such as www.searchquarry.com, that allow anyone to perform a public records search with the person’s name, phone number, license plate number or VIN.
Many of these online databases are free but some require you to be a member by paying a fee in order to access the detailed information.
Are These Records Updated?
Yes, the government agencies regularly update all their records and so do the online databases. Most of the online records are updated on a daily basis.