Public Access to Court Records: What You Must Know
There are many reasons to get court records. Court records can help in a lawsuit, reveal an individual’s background, or confirm if a property is free from liens or not. Fortunately, these documents are public records that can be easily accessed. Here are some of the things you must know about public access to court records.
How can I access court records?
One way is to conduct an online search of a district court record using a name, case number or citation number. Some states even have websites that allow for searching court calendars so you’ll have quick access to information on court dates and times. It’s also possible to get in touch with the clerk of the court in the county where the court record is filed. Clerks serve as the “custodian” of court records, and thus are in charge of maintaining, handling and filing records.
How can I get a court record from the clerk of court?
In order to get a court record from the clerk of court, submit your request in writing, providing sufficient information about the record to make the search easier and quicker. The clerk will then respond in writing whether or not your request has been approved. You need to pay a fee for each record you have requested. Fees and rules differ in every state so you need to check in your location to be sure. After you have found the court record, you have the option to get a copy of it. You may ask the clerk to make copies. Again, you need to pay a fee for every copy made.
What types of court records can I access?
Court records, as mentioned earlier, are open to the public with the exception of some records that have been held confidential by either law or court ruling. Some of the confidential court records that may not be accessed include juvenile court proceedings, mental health proceedings, social security numbers, electronic fund transfers, financial account numbers, adoption proceedings, paternity proceedings, domestic violence protection order files, alcohol treatment records, and psychological evaluations.
Court records can help you in various ways. Learn how to access these documents for whatever important purpose they may serve you.
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