How To Access Public Records For Free – 5 Easy Ways (Updated Guide for 2022)

In this guide, we will show you everything you need to know about how to access public records for free, so keep reading!

Below you can find out 5 different methods to access public records for free,

Method 1 – How To Find Official Public Records Online

Hello everyone this is another how-to video from skippys comm and today im going to show you how to find. Official public records online when i say official i mean the official government sources for these public records and not. A data provider or a third-party reseller that oftentimes you find on google or the other search engines when you. Go there to do a public records search youll often find advertisements and also natural listings that come up for.

Commercial sites that are trying to resell public records to you and its not to discount these sites they provide. A really good service they provide a lot of them they gather up a lot of this information all together. And then bundle it and you know they they sort it and they they do a lot of a lot. Of work on the data to make it a little bit more usable and user friendly but they will charge. You a price for it and some of them will charge quite a bit of quite a bit of money.

For a report that may not necessarily provide you with the information you want so my advice is to start. With official public records at first and see if you find what you want there now in the united states. We have four levels of government and as a result four levels of public records youre gonna have your federal. Public records youre gonna have state youre gonna have county and then youre gonna have city municipal local public records. Now these are all going to vary somewhat federal records are going to be generally nationwide issues like the federal.

Bureau of prisons is going to have a federal inmate locator states are going to have their own state inmate. Locators most of them counties youre going to typically find stuff like tax assessor records youre also probably going to. Possibly will possibly find criminal records civil records its really going to depend on the the more populated counties are. Gonna have better access to online records the smaller counties you know what you might find is just a website. With a contact page and a phone number so if if if a county or a local government doesnt have.

Online record access youre probably going to end up having to contact the county or the city or town and. Ask them what they can provide you over the phone now im gonna go through four different public records sources. That i really like the first one is search systems dotnet and you might want to pause the video right. Now and write these down but the first is a directory and a search its called search search systems net. And im gonna show you that site right now this is the front page for the search systems website and.

From here you can you can find this is more of a directory of what is available online so you. Can search public find public records by category can find them by state can find nationwide public records even worldwide. Public records you can go by county you can look by a zip code or by city theres also a. Map to a click of the map down here that you can use so if you want to find public. Records in the state of california you know you can just click on that and then youre gonna get an.

Overview of california public records and then from there you can search by county you can search by city category. And what have you now the second site that i really really like for official public records the urls a. Bit long its public records dot online searches com this is another good public records directories and public records directories. Are really good for people who really dont know whats out there and they want to find out whats available. So here is the site public records dot online searches com and again you can you can search by city.

Or you can search by state rather you can search by public record type property records land records birth records. Business licenses and the list goes on sex offenders ucc filings now the third source that i really like is. A government search engine called usa.gov and this is gonna be good for people who kind of already know what. Theyre looking for the type of record theyre looking for and where its located and if you go to usa.gov. You can type in for instance california or in main search and what youre gonna get our results heres the.

End of the california inmate locator right here the agree to the terms and you can do an inmate search. Theyre gonna have generally sex offender searches business entity searches unclaimed property a whole host of other state-level records now. You can use this to search any this will search any official government website so unlike google youre not gonna. Get advertisements notice theres no advertisements on here and youre not gonna get any commercial listings in the search results. Its all going to be official government records you can also use this to do research on public officials so.

If you wanted to find out about the governor of florida see okay thats gonna give you the governors main. Page right there and then of course there are listings for every government site that hes in mentioned on if. You scroll down the search results youre gonna find a bunch of listings this is powered by bing and as. You can see you get seven hundred and eighty-one thousand listings for governor scott in florida so you can search. Lets see if you wanted to do like a cuyahoga county cuyahoga county property records in ohio you get real.

Property information second second result is real property information and then you have an online property search you can search. By last name you can search the entire county or you can search search a specific locale in the county. The fourth source i want to mention is the manual to online public records you can find this on amazon.com. The most recent edition looks like it was from about 2010 this is the researchers told online resources for public. Records it is written by michael sam key and cynthia cynthia harrington hetherington rather something a hetherington and michael sanke.

This is a really good print manual and directory to online public records now beware the urls in this manual. Are going to change over time so theyre not all gonna there all gonna be accurate because these government websites. Oftentimes change their web addresses for their public records so i use this mostly as just a directory of whats. Available out there as of 2010 and from there you know you can either try the url they give you. The web address or you can go online to usa.gov and type in the type of record youre looking for.

And find it that way i like using usa.gov as well as these free directories because they generally are more. Updated print print any type of print directory is going to you know the urls and web addresses are just. Going to get outdated over time but at least it gives you an overview of whats available out there vital. Records are another thing marriage certificates birth certificates death certificates divorces those are generally available at the state level however. From state to state public records access varies and so you know depending on what their restrictions are each state.

Is somewhat different some states are going to charge for various types of public records others may not same with. Counties and local governments but basically almost anything you want to find out there about someone or about a particular. Business youre going to be able to find it online a lot of it like i said smaller counties smaller. Towns youre probably going to have to call the the government office and find out whats available on how you. Can access it but anyways that should give you a really good overview to get you going on finding official.

Public records online and good luck with your searches have a good one.

Method 2 – Real Private Investigator Tells The Truth! What’S The Best Public Records Search Site?

I get this question all the time and its because i do the public records training and the ocean and. The open source intelligence and those types of things and i have a lot of that free training available at. Shadowanyone.com and in video format and blog post but i get constantly i get the question what specific websites are. You using they watch i think kind of in amazement at what we its not me you and me we.

Can pull out of public records and online sources but they want to know specifically what website did i go. To hi this is larry k with shadowanyone.com again over there all kinds of training and all sorts of stuff. If youre interested in that i do have my public records mini course the answer to the question that i. Get what what website are you at i i try i think i make it obvious in each video but. Let me just spell it out here theres not a specific website you have to look in your area for.

Your thing thats going on frequently i like to use the county level municipal or lower misdemeanor court however you. Want to look at it that index which is frequently available online and you have to find the one for. Your county knowing what county and im searching in doesnt help you at all unless your bad guy happens to. Reside or live or work in the same county that im talking about so be careful what you type in. The first few results youll get on the major search engines will be either advertisers or scammers who have really.

Manipulated themselves to the top of the rankings whereas the actual courthouse website theyre not doing anything in particular putting. Any effort into ranking or search engine optimization theyre just out there doing their job so you have to look. A little more carefully but its going to be generally your county name and then something like municipal court records. Or lower court or that kind of thing look around dont be paying for this stuff dont get scammed but. You have to look specifically another common source that i like to use is the sheriffs booking information inmate information.

Again sheriffs information that goes by county and youre going to be looking for something maybe its called sell pop. Reports sell population its very rarely online that way if youve if its not online you may have to request. It with a letter or something for its public record but inmate search or booking information those are the types. Of phrases and again find your specific sheriffs department the county that youre interested in finally one of the ones. I like to commonly use are state department of rehabilitation and corrections websites um some are more helpful than others.

But thats again at the state level it doesnt help you if i could give you the exact type out. Www.whatever for the state that im using as an example that doesnt help you if youre in a different state. Thats the thats the answer to the question what website am i using it doesnt matter use the website thats. Right for your investigation in the meantime this is larry k with shadow anyone.com remember do the right thing even. If its the hard thing.

Method 3 – Private Investigator Tutorial Part 1: How To Do A Free Criminal Public Records Background Check.

In this private investigator tutorial were going to talk about a background check were going to do a deep dive. And its a tragic story following a woman and her descent into what i think can only be called the. Deep addiction uh with drugs but were gonna look at this as an example of how much information you can. Flesh out starting with very little bit of information but look at the narrative of it as we go along.

Hi this is larry k with shadowanyone.com the creator of the investigators ultimate guide series go over to shadow anyone. You can check it out all sorts of tutorials this is part one of two private investigator training uh part. 2 will be posted later and it will be available for free but it will be going into my paid. Public records course that is an invitation only course and so if part two of this training is up watch. It learn from it enjoy it otherwise its its in the paid training in part one were going to uh.

Introduce you to the woman were doing a background check on so to speak and look at some petty crimes. And as the addiction grows how the crimes get more and more serious uh in part two it actually gets. Into her prostitution were gonna look behind the scenes at two different police prostitution stings that were handled very differently. And explain why they were handled very differently lets get started on part one so when youre doing a background. Check for maybe pre-employment screening youre probably not going to go as deep as were going to go here however.

When youre doing a background check for something like child custody or some other large serious thing you will go. In depth like were going to do here so on most background checks youre going to do like an address. History verification uh and and search youre going to do uh verification of certain things like social security number date. Of birth that type of thing and then youre going to eventually probably get to the criminal history element thats. What were going to concentrate here on today as usual for this type of thing were going to start with.

The county clerks office for the courthouse your criminal record searches are always going to be best done at the. County level and the first thing were going to do is bring up the court index the criminal index so. Punching in the first and last name if we hit the search button up comes a variety of things now. Again lets remember were starting with just in this case just for example say a name so you can see. How much we can unravel from that this is the index so it is a list of cases against this.

Poor woman and as weve talked about so many times before uh the case number heres a 2020 case 2019. 2019 these are in i guess youd call it descending order with the older cases down here towards the bottom. 2014. You also have this uh letter code heres a traffic one theres a misdemeanor or minor misdemeanor heres a. Cf criminal and the f and this counties that counts for felony so we have a bunch of misdemeanors and.

This court uh their index lays out the court type so we can clearly see even if you didnt understand. These letters misdemeanor traffic infraction misdemeanor felony that type of thing were going to start this chronologically were going to. Go back to 2014 and look at this first misdemeanor and take a look at that so if i click. On here it brings me to case information and from case information i can select this screen this screen is. The docket for that 2014 misdemeanor right away looking at it we can see its for larceny its a petty.

Theft now if youre pulling the paper file down at the courthouse every one of these entries would be a. Page or several pages that you could look at and read theyre not all available online for example heres this. Arrest record of not so much the arrest history but her record of just that time and uh then the. Next thing here is the uh criminal probable cause affidavit again youre going to love these affidavits thats kind of. What youre looking for you should be looking keyword in your mind for this type of thing and if you.

See this symbol over here tells us that this document is available online were going to click on it and. Take a look it brings up the first page of the criminal affidavit the probable cause affidavit and heres where. Were going to find a lot of detailed information we can see that palm beach county sheriffs office is the. One that filed charges ive redacted a lot of information here it will be available for you when you do. Your background checks but just for the sake of privacy for this poor woman but her the defendants name would.

Be right in here white female born in 1984 and again its going to be an exact birth date shes. Charged with petty retail theft which is shoplifting and uh come down here the the victims name ive redacted but. Its a large store you would know it if i told it to you the victim is on congress avenue. So the phone number all this kind of stuff and then come down more into the affidavit on such and. Such a day in 2014.

Im gonna scroll down a little bit we can read firsthand what uh what the. Officer has to say here on such and such a date in 2014 at approximately 1855 hours which is five. Minutes till seven in the evening while working an extra duty permit at the victim store on congress i was. Notified by loss prevention officer so and so of a theft in progress so kind of interesting that this store. Had a police officer on what might be called special duty or what they looks like they call a permit.

Down here he goes on to say i observed a white female subject later identified as the subject and a. White male subject later identified as that guy takes several items of clothing concealed them in a brown backpack and. Both subjects passed all points of sale without rendering payment walked outside the store thats pretty clear cut case of. Of theft right there do you have to leave a store in order to be charged with theft no not. Everywhere i know if they can show that you have the intents of theft that you can be stopped inside.

The store and ive done it myself when i work loss prevention its great to have them outside the store. I used to let 99 of people step outside the store just to make my my case stronger but but. You dont have to upon inspecting their backpack i discovered a mens shirt this is the officers affidavit goes on. A fruit skirt eight packs of boxers and two packs of mens socks based on the above facts i arrested. Both subjects for violation of florida statute for retail theft after gathering all the facts of the case i placed.

The subject in handcuffs which were checked for tightness and double locked by the way if you go over to. My website shadowanyone.com keyword search handcuffs youll find at least a couple of articles i know theres two on handcuffs. Well worth the time uh double you know put people on handcuffs do it properly double lock them thats all. Explained there plus uh one of those articles is an awful lot of handcuff mistakes all cobbled together for you. To to paul through and learn from the subjects were transported to the county jail without any further incident the.

The affidavit goes on uh i the officer says uh issued a notice to appear with a mandatory court date. For the male subject and he was released at the scene without incident now why the male subject was released. And not her i i cannot tell from this affidavit or at least not the first page probably she was. Carrying the bag you see this in criminal lifestyles so many times the woman is the one whos holding the. Stolen goods shes the one that holds the dope shes the one that holds the gun a lot a lot.

Of times the men get a walk because they have the women hold these things part of the mentality is. An officer is less likely to search a woman to find say that gun or that dope but their net. Result whether its intentional or not is women get disproportionately picked up when theres a couples crime like this now. The male half will be charged hes clearly going to be charged and well have to answer to the judge. For this but notice that shes the one that ends up getting kept and on closer inspection i can see.

This actually is just a one-page affidavit so theres nothing else to see from this however whenever youre doing criminal. Histories you need to know the disposition of the case because if a person is just charged with a crime. They are not guilty so this persons charges could have been dismissed in which case thats a not guilty then. She did not commit shoplifting uh if she was found not guilty then she did not commit shoplifting and you. Want to be careful when you report to clients because you cannot be reporting these a non-conviction thing if they.

Didnt get convicted they didnt do it you cant hold it against them so lets take a look back at. The docket information and looking down through here again we can follow down the page a little bit theres the. Arrest record the criminal cause affidavit but if we swing on down here very near the bottom is a guilty. Plea and educated guilty by the court so she pled guilty and the court accepted that guilty plea we can. Look a little bit more at the docket if i click on to the next page and you can see.

Here some of the costs that were associated with this crime for her she was charged fifty dollars for the. Cost of prosecution fifty dollars a public defenders fee uh if you are surprised that people are charged uh or. Have to pay when theyre found guilty that they have to pay for the honor of being prosecuted in court. Dont be surprised if you thought a public defender was actually something thats totally free dont be surprised here shes. Paying fifty dollars and when all was said and done as with so many people probably had difficulty paying because.

The case ended up being sent to a collection agency after the deadline im going to go back to the. Criminal index for a moment remember were starting out looking at the very beginning of a criminal career right down. Here at the bottom at this 2014 and we do have a mug shot of this person and i want. To share that with you because it becomes uh quite a thing later on in our story here is the. Subject of our investigation she is 30 years old at the time and if we go back and take a.

Look at the probable cause affidavit we do have the a lot of information about our subject and although i. Have redacted it we do have a precise date of birth but i can tell you this this charge was. In 2014 she was born in 1984 she is 30 years old in a mug shot so 30 years old. There one interesting question you have to ask yourself at a time like this is how in the world does. Someone not have a criminal record and then at 30 start with crime looking back at the index we can.

See that after the crimes have started here in 2014 they continue on pretty unabated up to the present day. And so lets try to figure out why that is the case as we go on to continue through this. Background check there are many traffic infractions here back again also in 2014 but and for a normal background check. Or skip tracing or anything you might find a lot of interesting information there including address histories and different addresses. That shes used however lets skip forward to 2015 we have this felony here and take a look at what.

That is if we click on this case again i can go through the case information and click on docket. And that brings us right here and right away if we take a look at the beginning heroin cell schedule. 1 possession of drug paraphernalia so shes shes caught herself a heroin charge here again just in 2014 if you. Were checking back then you might have this chef this theft charge and not be able to put together but. Now you can clearly see this theres heroin involved that theft charge undoubtedly was something that was going to go.

Getting merchandise to sell or trade for drugs so you can see as we look down through here we we. Know the charge heres the arrest record which is not available online in the criminal probable cause affidavit by this. Time in training if youve watched enough of my videos then you know this is something were very interested in. But i want to take a moment look down at this first appearance form because we i dont think weve. Looked at that certainly not in this case its available online if i click right here that brings up this.

Notice to appear this arrest slash notice to appear form this has so much good information for you and youll. See this in in any case where theres an arrest theyll have a form like this again ive redacted the. Information thats redacted but its all there for you uh this is the she was arrested by the uh boynton. Uh beach police department the location of the arrest was here at an intersection a corner she was arrested here. Again and theres a specific date in 2015 we have the full name of the subject that ive redacted white.

Female again i cleaned up the date of birth there uh blonde fair complexion small build and we know from. That mug shot that at least when she was 30 or so she was a fairly pretty gal here we. Are at age probably 31 the next year along marital status single religion she list is unknown but also uh. Scars marks and tattoos in this case is blank a lot of times youll find something in there local address. This is what she told the police was her address and she listed her occupation as unemployed now even though.

I say technically she told the police that was her address you can look over here for the address source. And it was looks like the motor vehicles department of motor vehicles for florida so they probably had a drivers. License or something for and in fact if we look down at the drivers license number which ive redacted is. Right here its from the state of florida and i just want you to see this sheet to show you. When youre able to if youre not even if youre not able to pull these things up online to go.

Down to the courthouse and pull them youll learn a lot of things now weve asked the question why in. The world would a woman start a life of crime at age 30 heres the answer for you or heres. My belief on what the answer is if you look over here at place of birth georgia okay that tells. Me she was born in georgia and moved to florida where these charges are and you see this a lot. Somebody just has a criminal record that starts out of nowhere youve got to consider that they have a previous.

History somewhere else if i were to go back to her county of birth or where she grew up ill. Bet you i can find criminal histories back there im not going to do that for purposes of this training. But its easy enough to do you take the the place of birth you punch it into your favorite search. Engine you get a county and then you go to the county clerks office online or if youre fortunate enough. You can go in person theres probably a history before what we have found here and thats good to know.

If youre doing a background check for someone imagine how excited pleased your client would be for you to find. Out of state criminal records on a person lets scroll down a little bit more uh just there are the. The now were in kind of more the generic information what she was charged with possession of a criminal substance. I dont know why on the docket it said to sell shes clearly just charged with possession uh and she. Had a couple of pipes probably crack pipes that is our arrest information sheet if we go back to the.

Docket we can move here from the first appearance form lets move back up to the chrome probable cause affidavit. Is going to give us a lot more detail so here we are page one of the criminal affidavit you. Should be a little bit familiar with how these look now again ive redacted information but your subjects name is. Going to be in there heres the charge again white female by the way date of birth 1984 possession of. Criminal suspense heroin in this case and possible drug and possession of drug paraphernalia because this is a felony and.

Theres no direct victim drug abuse is a lot of times considered a quote-unquote victimless crime they consider the victims. Name is the state of florida and they list the address of the court here but if this was .

Conclusion – How To Access Public Records For Free

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