Legal records can indicate a wide range of documents pertaining to the legal system and the courts that rule over it. Legal records can contain sensitive and hidden information about anyone in the United States. For the most part, these records can be viewed by the public at any time -- they just need to request them.
Much like there are laws that require the federal government to release information to the public, most states have their own laws about releasing records to the public. Since state and local courts deal with a lot of records pertaining to the citizens, this information is quite easy to find.
You'd be surprised at what can be found about you, as well as what you're able to find out about the people close to you. Legal records can contain someone's criminal history, judgment history, driving records, bankruptcy records. All you need to do is search the court's database where the records are kept. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can contact the county clerk's office for a better search.
You're probably wondering what exactly is included in legal records found online. The short answer is: anything that has ever gone through a state, city, county, or local courthouse is likely at risk of being found by the public. There are some situations that will require legal records to be sealed, at which point you won't be able to view them.
Let's take a look at the information included in legal records.
When someone gets arrested, the documents must be filed by the court system that receives them. When searching for legal records, their arrest history will be included with details regarding each arrest. This will even include arrests that don't lead to a conviction.
An arrest history in legal records might show the name of the person in question, the date of the arrest, the court that processes it, the charge or offense, and any supporting information related to the arrest. You should always do further digging to find out the outcome of the arrest. It's common for people to get arrested for something they didn't do, so don't be too quick to judge or assume.
After an arrest is made, the suspect will have to go through the legal process of determining guilt or no guilt. If the arrest led to a conviction, that information can be shown on their criminal record. These will be crimes that they were found guilty of.
Legal records can show what they were charged with, whether it be a felony, misdemeanor, or infraction. A felony would indicate a serious crime, a misdemeanor a less-serious crime, and an infraction is more of a slap on the wrist. Legal records can also detail whether they were fined, incarcerated, placed on probation, or any other outcome of the conviction.
If something shows up on someone's criminal record, you can assume there was wrong-doing by the person in question.
A lien can be placed on someone's property if they fail to pay a debt or taxes. A lien gives the creditor or lending company a guarantee that their money will be returned before the house or property goes up for sale.
Liens require a court judgment against the defendant and therefore can be found in public legal records. This can include the address of the property, the lien amount, the lien serial number, the issuing agency, the date it was filed, and information about the courthouse.
Bankruptcy records are exclusively handled by the federal courts, but this information can still be found publicly in legal records. If you wanted to find out if someone you know has ever filed for bankruptcy or to confirm your information is correct when you filed for bankruptcy, you can do so with legal records kept by the courts.
In regards to bankruptcy, legal records can contain the name or business identity filing, the date it was filed, the chapter they're filing for, the court case number, and even the court that handled the case. You can take the court case number to the court and request more detailed information about the case.
If you've ever been evicted or has your home put up in foreclosure, you know about the legal process that will ensue. Having these legal records public can be embarrassing and shameful to those involved, but it's required to be released in most situations.
Evictions and foreclosures in legal records can include the address involved, the name or business identity, the outcome, information about the court, and a possible court case number if provided. It's important to note that not all evictions will be shown, especially once that didn't involve the legal process -- like being kicked out by family or friends.
Legal records can be found online, but it won't always require you to search through database after database just to come out empty-handed. By using the tools and resources available on our website, you can bring information from databases all over the web into one, easy-to-read report.
Before you get started, you'll want to make sure you have the first and last name of the person you'd like to search for. Don't worry if you don't know their full last name, the first initial will be enough to start. You can also enhance your search by adding the last known location of the person, but this information won't be required.
If you're ready to get started, follow the steps outlined below:
When you hit the search button, you'll have to sift through the possible matches in order to get the right report. Many people will come up with the same name, so ensure its the right person before you start making assumptions.
Other than that, you're ready to go! Don't be surprised if you find some shocking information, it's out there!
Below you fill find the Top Public Records sites according to our rankings. Read the reviews before you search.
TruthFinder offers comprehensive public records, easy-to-understand reports, and tools to help you protect your personal information from identity thieves.
Intelius was our second pick as it provides the widest array of public records.
Instant Checkmate is one of the longest-running online background check services and still one of the most popular. They offer comprehensive records on millions of Americans.
Affiliate Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Truthfinder.com, Instant Checkmate, and Intelius. This means that I receive a commission if you click on a link on my website and make a purchase from one of these companies. However, this does not influence my reviews or opinions of these companies. I only recommend products and services that I believe are of high quality and value.