Court Records

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Find the information you need with a court records search

Court records include dozens of different types of documents that are filed at each level of every court system, including bankruptcy filings, divorce decrees, criminal convictions, and much more. Courts document every action that takes place under their jurisdiction, including court cases, legal filings, and court docket activity, which are critical for future legal actions such as appeals.

Court records fall into two general categories. Civil court records include all legal actions that are not criminal in nature. Criminal court records include all legal records related to criminal activities.

Civil court records can be classified as either county court records or federal court records. County civil court records deal with judgments, lawsuits, and claims that are made by plaintiffs against respondents. This includes traffic accident reports, divorce proceedings, nonpayment claims following business transactions, consumer complaints, and product liability claims. County court records also include adoption, divorce, estate, bankruptcy, probate, and tax court records.

At the federal level, civil court records include business and personal bankruptcy cases, civil rights abuses, disputes among banks and financial institutions, interstate commerce claims, and any issue involving federal government agencies. The vast majority of these court records are available online through the U.S. District Court system.

Criminal court records are kept at the federal, state, and county levels, depending on the crime and the court of record.

Criminal court records are frequently used to perform employee background checks. Criminal history searches of state and federal court records are an important step in the hiring process because they reduce employer liability and ensure a safer work environment. Most court records also contain police records that aren't available from law enforcement agencies through public record searches.

Public records searches are faster and easier when you know which kind of court possesses the records you need. This website provides you with the tools to easily perform a court records search.

Why search court records?

Court record searches are important for a wide variety of reasons. They can provide information about every kind of crime, complaint, or dispute in any community.

Court records can help you perform background checks. If you're a business owner or manager, you can use background checks to learn more about job candidates, including their arrest records and other criminal court records.

By looking closely at the results of background checks during the employee screening, you can see whether a person has any criminal convictions, as well as the types of crimes shown on the arrest reports. Performing a background check before agreeing to hire a prospective employee can protect you and your business's interests.

Criminal and civil court records searches can also help you:

  • Screen prospective business partners
  • Check out new neighbors
  • Find out if your boss has discriminated against or harassed someone
  • Check the background of your daycare center or childcare provider
  • Screen new friends and romantic partners

Court records can protect you from becoming involved with people who have criminal histories. They can also help you avoid people who have a history of sexual harassment or who don't pay their bills on time.

Judges, police departments, sheriffs, and prosecutors use court reports every day, and you can, too. Anyone can look up court records as long as they follow proper request protocols.

How do I request court records?

The methods for requesting court records vary according to the type of record and the court that maintains it.

For federal court records, you'll need to visit the National Archives Order Reproductions site online and perform a search for court records. Be sure to select the exact type of court record you wish to receive.

For example, if you want to search bankruptcy court records, select the appropriate options to do so. You can search for personal bankruptcy or business bankruptcy cases by name or location. Once you find the right court record, you can order it.

For local or county court records such as transcripts, you'll need to file an application with the office of the circuit clerk. You must provide the name of the case and the case number to retrieve the relevant file. If you don't know the case number, you can search court records by name at the clerk's office.

Some transcripts of court records can also be ordered by mail. Contact the appropriate court clerk online, by phone, or in person to request physical copies of court records.

The in-person ordering process is nearly the same as searching for court records online. You'll need to know the name of the person involved in the case and the case number.

How to get the best court records search results

It's important to know which kind of court records you need. Court records include but aren't limited to subpoenas, indictments, jury lists, summonses, warrants, writs, injunctions, foreclosures, and judgments.

In the case of criminal court records, keep in mind that many arrest records share the same common names, such as John Smith. You will need to provide as much information as possible to perform a successful public records search. Similarly, if you're performing an inmate search or criminal court records search, make sure to use the correct name, jurisdiction, and inmate identification number to obtain the best results.

Whenever you're running background checks, it's a good idea to look up your own personal criminal court record. Doing so can eliminate false positive results and ensure that nobody confuses you with a similarly named criminal during their record searches.

The right court records provider can give you accurate and complete data, and help you find the information you want from any county, state, or federal court. This site can help you find the right court records quickly.