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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

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Free Public Records Information

The public records contain details that are generally collected and arranged by various government and nongovernmental bodies. The Freedom of Information Act of 1966 generates a list of records which are allowed to be viewed by the public against no big amount. These records are referred to as ‘open’ for public access. The Patriot Act is a recent enactment in the USA which encodes that the financial institutions would need to match all the existing potent customers against the list generated by the Office of Foreign Control. The names and details of all the individuals who are suspected in terrorist activities are enlisted here.


Importance of Free Public Records


Free public records can be useful for a prospective property dealer, tenants, educational institutions, business organizations or even for a common resident to uncover details of relatives or family members. Free public records can be accessed from a variety of governmental and nongovernmental offices. Records are maintained in the form of maps, books, photographs, papers, audio visual tapes, cards, recordings, online databases, microfilms and other documentary materials.

The public records are essential sources for running a background check of an institution or individual. These are largely utilized by recruiters before hiring a candidate. The list generated by the Patriot act is also scanned through to check the authenticity of an individual. Information in the free public records are collected and compiled carefully by investigators and agency officials. These are generally arranged according to the zip code county, state and federal divisions.


Types of Free Public Records


There are innumerable types of free public records which help in finding out about a person or to verify his identification. Quite a number of law enforcement agencies maintain detailed online as well as offline databases of public records. Some of these can be obtained for free, some against a nominal charge but some may not be available for public access. Following are the most common types of free public records accessible in USA.

• Vital Records

The vital records include birth records, death records, marriage records and death records. Depending on the type of vital records the common details that you will come across after examining these records include complete name of the person, relevant dates, date of birth, name of the spouse, location, valid contact details and relevant certificates. These are contained in the state archives, public health departments and local genealogical departments.

• Criminal Records

The criminal records contain data about arrests, DUI cases, warrants, various types of offences, sentence details, juvenile crimes and so on. There are several potent online databases which help in tracing and learning about a particular criminal in USA. Generally records like wanted fugitives, missing offenders, most wanted terrorists can be accessed for free. Criminal records can also be found in court records. The state specific departments of corrections render data about inmates, sex offenders and fugitives.

• Driving Records

These files inform about the occurrences of traffic violation cases and DWI/DUI offenses. You can verify the existence of such records simply by inputting the name or the driving license number of the individual in the freely available online databases. You can also contact the state specific departments of transportation for retrieving hard copies of these records.

• SSN Records

SSN or Social Security Number is a unique identification code assigned to every resident of USA. This number is different for different individual. A number of free online databases help in searching about a person and the entailed records by entering the SSN code.

• Financial Records

Financial records helps in ascertaining a person’s credibility. These records also include the bankruptcy records which are open to all. But these documents can be viewed online with the help of the PACER system. Sometimes tax details can also be examined to learn about the financial status of an individual.

A few other records like education records and medical records are not directly available to the public but they can be inspected after the owner of the record allows it to be. But respective institutions or the keeper of these records can view these records easily.

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