What Are Public Records?

The right to access public records and free information is the backbone of a democracy. Moreover, it ensures transparency of the government and judiciary's operations in the eyes of the people. There are two major categories of public records:

  • People's Records: This includes almost all the information that can possibly be available on a person, like property information, criminal records, etc. In short, everything that can be made public about a person comes under this category.
  • Government's Records: This category of public records monitors any action taken or policies devised by the government agencies. This ensures complete transparency between the government and the people. For instance, the interdepartmental emails, government agencies' records, etc., give us a peek at what the government is up to.

While these details can be found from public record searches, the following details do not qualify as public records:

  • An individual's tax returns
  • School records
  • Library search information
  • Juvenile records
  • Records containing sensitive information like trade secrets
  • Vital records

But how to access public records for free? You can conduct an online public records search for free on NumLooker. But before we discuss how to find public records without paying, let's look into different types of public records.

Different Types of Public Records

  • Court Records

    Though the judiciary allows restricted information, you can access information on current and past cases through public records search. In addition, information like case dates, parties involved, and, in some cases, verdicts are also available. Federal court records are available online at PACER.gov, a public access maintained by the U.S. government. It contains all civil court, criminal court, and bankruptcy cases. Though registration is free, you have to pay 10 cents per page view to access the court documents. This database does not allow free public records search.

  • Marriage, Birth, and Death Records

    The status of marriage certificates, birth, and death certificates as public information varies from state to state. Mostly this information is maintained by the county clerks of the respective counties. While marriage and divorce come under public records search, birth and death certificates less than 100 years old are considered sensitive information accessible after special authorization.

  • Real Estate and Property Records

    This type of public records search provides information on property ownership and deed. These records are maintained by the county assessor and can be accessed online in some counties.

  • Bankruptcy Records

    Bankruptcy records can be accessed by simply visiting the official website. All bankruptcies in the U.S. are heard in the Federal court. Hence public records for bankruptcies can be found on PACER.gov.

  • Census Information

    The census data records on housing and population become accessible to the general public after 72 years of every decennial Census day. After 72 years, the National Archive and Records Administration or NARA makes these public records available for viewing or purchase.

  • Criminal Records

    Public records search for criminal records and conviction can be performed according to the relevant precincts. In addition, you can search for information about conviction dates, location, release dates online and with the respective departments.

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How Can I Get Public Records Using NumLooker?

People often are interested in running background checks on other people for several reasons, and public records search is one way to do it. People search for free public records by going to relevant government authorities and offices.

Getting a proper authorization for initiating a public records search and going from department to department for the desired information can be complicated and time-consuming. However, if you want to evade the lengthy official channel, you can always search public records online.

So, how to search public records online? With public record search services like NumLooker, you can do free public records searches online in little time. You can find all the information you need about someone on NumLooker's public records search by the following simple methods:

  • Name

    The most convenient means of conducting free public records searches on NumLooker is with the person's name. Search by name and find the best-suited result.

  • Phone Number

    Only the phone number is enough to run a free public records search on NumLooker. Type the phone number on the search bar, click 'search', and wait. You'll get multiple results to look through.

  • Address

    You can run a background search on a suspicious person by typing their address on NumLooker's public records search.

  • Email Address

    While searching someone's public records on NumLooker, an email address can be a helpful clue. Type the email address on the search bar, hit search, and get the results you are looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can access public records?

Anyone from the general public can access public records.

What kinds of public records are available to the public?

Public records on the general public and government actions and policies are available to people. These records include property information, criminal history, arrest records, government policies, and actions.

Can I opt out of my public records from NumLooker?

If you want to opt out of NumLooker's public records database, contact our customer support team for help.

How long does it take to get the public records?

The time taken to get information from public records depends from department to department. It can take up to ten days to get the required information. However, an online public records search on NumLooker is free of cost and a matter of a few minutes.

What would never be considered public information?

Though the status of public records conferred on a particular category of information varies from state to state. However, some exemptions from the status of the public records include:

  • Personal information like library records, juvenile records, school records
  • Tax returns
  • Trade secrets and other sensitive information
  • Vital records
  • Matters of national security
  • Law enforcement techniques

Start Your Public Records Search Right Now!

Accessing public records is not a big issue. If you approach the relevant offices and have the necessary authorizations, you can search for information that qualifies as public records. However, a manual office/ department-centric search may take a lot of time. On the other hand, online free public records searches like NumLooker are hassle-free and time-efficient, so look up the information you need on Numlooker today.

Disclaimer: NumLooker’s mission is to give people easy and affordable access to public record information, but NumLooker does not provide private investigator services or consumer reports, and is not a consumer reporting agency per the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You may not use our site or service or the information provided to make decisions about employment, admission, consumer credit, insurance, tenant screening or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. For more information governing permitted and prohibited uses, please review our "Do's & Don'ts" and Terms & Conditions.