Access Online Public Records
The Freedom of Information Act adopted by the United States federal government makes it mandatory for all states to make accessible all records that are considered appropriate to be put up on the public domain. While conforming to the dictates of this law, the states have formulated their own acts regulating the classification and disclosure of public records. The laws pertaining to the various states are known by various names like Open Records or Public Records acts. Essentially these laws decree that all records that are not considered sensitive, have not been declared confidential by the court, or whose disclosure will not threaten national security, will be accessible to all citizens.
The public records are vital records like birth, marriage, divorce and death information, court case records, criminal records like arrest and conviction information, data on sexual offenders, and records of drunk driving offenses. When searching public records, online is the most preferred way to go.
Online Public Records Search
The Internet is dotted with countless commercial websites housing online public records. Some allow you to access the records for free while some others require that you register and tender a subscription charge to view and obtain copies of these online public records.
These websites secure information from government sources or third-party information providers. But you cannot vouch for the veracity of their records. So it is always a good idea to search online public records amidst government databases.
The department of corrections of a state or a county usually hosts information about currently incarcerated inmates on its official website. Some departments also archive information on past inmates and put these up on their websites. Sometimes the department of public safety is the custodian of such records and may stock these records on its website.
The department of motor vehicles in a state or a county usually stores information on the driving license status of drivers registered within its boundaries. The online public records related to drunk driving offenses are also usually maintained by the department.
The vitals records office or the Municipal office of a state or a city is the custodian of such records like birth, marriage, divorce and death and their archives can be accessed on its website. Sometimes the health department maintains the records on births and deaths.
Many government websites let you access their online public records absolutely for free while at some times, you may need to pay a service and processing charge. In most cases, you will have to pay to obtain certified copies of these online public records.
In some public records websites, like those hosting information on sexual offenders, search results are available right after you key in the name of the offender. Some websites like those stocking driving records, ask you to fill out an online form requesting a search, attach an identity proof, and submit it before they provide the details of possible matches.
Using Online Public Records
When you search public records online, you are saved many trips to the office of the government agency that holds these records. You are also spared many hours of sifting through dusty files. Searching public records online is a fast, effective, and cheap means to lay your hands on these records.
Now that you how to find public records online, you should be careful in using them. Most of these records have been made accessible as a public safety measure and you cannot use these records for commercial purposes or threaten or discriminate against a past offender.