Whether searching for public records or seeking more information about Records Page, the frequently asked questions and answers below provide further insight.
To learn more about who we are, our mission and Records Page as a whole, please visit our About Us page.
If a question is not addressed here, please contact us for assistance; we’re happy to help.
This resource has been reviewed by Robert Bailey Jr..
What Are Public Records? What Information Is Publicly Available?
Public records refer to information made available to citizens through federal, state, and municipal agencies per local laws and regulations.
This information is made available through the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and associated State-Based Freedom of Information statutes and Public Record Acts, often referred to as sunshine laws, for the sake of transparency and accountability.
Depending on the jurisdiction in question, public records about citizens may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Criminal records (felonies, misdemeanors, motor vehicle infractions, probation, parole, background checks, warrants, prisoners, violent offenses, habitual DUI registries, violent offender registries, drug manufacturing registries, sex offender registries, and more)
- Arrest records (inmate logs or recent arrests, mugshots, police reports)
- Court records (litigations, estate probate, marriage and divorce records, and criminal history)
- Vital records (marriage, divorce, birth, or death certificates). Archived records for family heritage, genealogy and lineage
- Property ownership and property tax records
- Tax records such as bankruptcy
- License plate numbers
- Occupational licenses
The availability of this information depends on the state’s sunshine laws or public record acts, and the accessibility of it, or lack thereof, is dictated by resources and funding of a jurisdiction and an agency’s process to obtain said information.
Furthermore, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, public records about the government may be requested more often than not.
Government records that are made publicly available include but are not limited to the following:
- Legislation such as bills, statutes, resolutions, meetings and hearings
- Court documents about the government
- Budgets and financial documents like assets, expenditures and audits
- Government property ownership and land and surveying information
- Environmental impact and health inspection reports
- Federal employee records
- Government contracts and bids
- Various correspondence such as letters, emails and other forms of communication that are not sensitive or classified information
- Statistical data such as census reports surrounding demographics, economics, public health and more
- Police misconduct records
- Criminal datasets such as the number of people on parole, probation, types of crimes, locations of crimes and more in a given region and timeframe
Beyond this, there are several other record types available which include:
- Aircraft ownership and registration through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Stock and security trades made the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) for ownership exceeding 5% per the Section 13(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and politicians to mitigate insider trading per the STOCK ACT
- Tax-exempt organizations like non-profits, churches and other charitable organizations provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Business ownership is made available by the Attorney General in every U.S state
- Police records are available in some jurisdictions such as the City of Oakland, California
If there is a necessity for governmental documentation, the information may be available for public viewing either online, in-person, by mail, or through an official request via the appropriate agency.
Can Records Page Help Me Find Information on Another Person or Myself?
Through our resources, Records Page’s details which agencies host and distribute various types of public records in every U.S. state and several counties.
Depending on the state where the record originated, searchers can find public information through agencies whose processes are outlined in the state-specific resources below.
On the other hand, the process to see if someone has a criminal history (offenses, probation, parole, warrants, imprisonment, sex offender, violent offender etc.) or if they’ve been arrested requires searchers to check with specific agencies who host this information.
The following resources offer step-by-step guidance about the agencies who host and distribute criminal and arrest records in a given state and their processes to retrieve a given record.
Can Anyone Look Up Public Records Legally & Without Consent? What Can Public Records Be Used For?
Public records can legally be accessed for personal and professional uses, but due to local, state, federal and international laws, there are limitations in both use cases. Additionally, these laws dictate whether consent is required to obtain public records for a particular use.
Personal Uses: When public records are accessed for personal uses such as curiosity, ensuring safety, verifying online sellers or buyers, vetting a roommate, etc., state’s sunshine laws allow this information to be obtained without the other person’s consent.
However, public records cannot be used to stalk, intimidate, harass, steal individuals’ identity, discriminate in the workplace or per the conditions set in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), establish consumers’ eligibility or credit worthiness. Furthermore, public records cannot be used in violation of any local, state, federal or international law.
Professional Uses: Public records may be sought out during background checks to determine an individual’s eligibility or credit worthiness for employment, insurance, credit, education verification, adoption, in-home services, business transactions and more, but these screenings require consent in most industries and must be done through a Consumer Reporting Agency per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
As Records Page is not a Consumer Reporting Agency, information found through our site and our third party-run services can only be used for the permitted reasons detailed in our Approved & Forbidden Uses page.
For further context, our Citizens’ Rights & Responsible Use resource depicts what’s considered ethical and wrongful use, the protections in place and the agencies to notify if information is used illegally or discriminatorily.
Whether they’re accesses for personal or professional uses, public records cannot be used in violation of any local, state, federal or international law.
Is Records Page Affiliated With a Government Agency?
No, Records Page is a privately owned organization with no affiliation to any governmental body, including federal, state or municipal agencies.
Our resources are available to promote transparency and safeguard civil liberties by detailing what types of public information are available and what’s considered responsible and ethical use.
How Do I Remove My Information From Public Record Databases & Your Site?
Records Page’s mission is to promote transparency and uphold civil liberties – we take these matters very seriously and ask that we’re given a fair chance to rectify any questions or concerns.
If a person’s information is found through public databases hosted by government agencies, citizens may seal or expunge their record, or request that it be removed by obtaining legal counsel or contacting the agency directly.
By submitting the necessary documentation or obtaining legal counsel, expunging or sealing records is allowed if a given state permits it for a given charge. Some states even auto-seal records depending on the severity of the crime. Searching the web for ‘[State] sealing and expunging process’ (I.e. Texas seal and expunge process) and navigating to government resources can provide further insight
Beyond this, contact the appropriate agency directly and requesting they remove the record from the public domain may be possible if the criteria set by the specific agency and jurisdiction permits
Records Page and our partners are not affiliated with any government agency and have no control over the information they place in the public domain.
To manage and remove data displayed, collected and shared by our third party run search service or Records Page, please visit our Opt Out page.
For all other third party search services, please contact them directly.