What You Should Know about Accessing Court Records Online

We are used to getting any type of information quickly over the internet and the modern court records are no exception to this rule. You can readily access them online directly given that they are public. Of course, this isn’t as simple as performing a Google search and you should be well aware of this. Here are some important details and tips that you have to take into account before you begin.
The Records’ Age Matters
The latest court records are readily available online, but the big question is how far back they digitalization goes. Most courthouses started maintaining electronic databases around the start of the new millennium. This means that your search can go many years back. However, due to technological and/or financial restrictions the online database may have records from the last five, ten or fifteen years. It is a good idea to check this in advance to ensure that you won’t be wasting your time searching online.
If the courthouse has the documents which you are looking for in electronic form, but they are not available online, you can gain access to them directly on site. Alternatively, you can request copies of existing court records in paper form. Documents that are old enough to fall into the category of historical records are not stored and handled by courthouses. They are kept by the administrative bodies responsible for archiving public records and you can gain access through them. It is worth noting that many historical documents are available freely on the web.
Scope of the Information
You can expect online court records to contain the full information available to the public. They will not contain details and documents which have been sealed by the court either because of laws that apply to the particular case or because of a judge’s ruling. Usually, there is a clear account of what kind of information has been sealed.
Getting Started
Usually, you can search the court records directly via the respective court’s website. It is also possible to perform a national search if you don’t know the location, but this will take more time and effort, especially when it comes to narrowing down the results. Before you can access the database, you will be asked to read an agreement and confirm that you will follow it. You should get perfect understanding of it. In some cases, you will also be asked to create an account.
Finally, you should know that the access to court records is free. You will be charged a fee only for obtaining copies of documents.

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