How to Lookup Public Records

Name Phone Number License Plate VIN
Name Phone Number License Plate VIN

How to Lookup Public Records

Finding public records, especially those of other people, might feel like the domain of a private investigator or police officer but it’s not. The Freedom of Information Act makes most US government collected records, on it’s citizens, public domain. With the advent of the internet and smartphones, finding public records that you’re looking for is easier than ever. Using a public records website is a good starting place, it’s convenient and anonymous. Learning how to lookup public records just got a whole lot easier.

Are you looking for public records of your own, trying to find information a family member or trying to find out about someone else public record? While a background check is slightly different and more detailed, obtaining public records can help you find the information that you’re after. There are a multitude of public records available so if you know what you’re looking for specifically it will help you to locate the information you’re looking for. A great resource for locating someone’s public record is to use a privately run resource, like, where you can enter a first and last name and search nationwide. These types of online public record resources are accessible by anyone and are intended for reference and unofficial purposes only.

Lookup Public RecordsWhat Are Public Records?

Public records are government collected records that are deemed public domain, and therefore available to the general public. An example of a public record might be a marriage record marked public by the couple getting married. That means that that particular marriage record would be searchable by the general public and part of a system of records that everybody can obtain. This can be researched by anyone with third party public record websites like, for online reference only. State agencies will typically only allow you to lookup your own records and not those of others.Court records are also commonly public. These can include driving records, traffic citations, criminal records, incarcerations, judgments, liens, civil records and jail and prison records.

Different Types of Public Records Include

  • Vital records are a part of the public records domain. Vital records, like a person’s birth record, death record or marriage record. These are all life events that are recorded as public vital records
  • Court records are also considered public record and can be viewed by anyone online. A variety of different court records are available to the general public, ranging from criminal records, felonies, misdemeanors and infractions. Some of the exclusions for public court records are juvenile court records and military court records as they are not public domain.
  • Criminal records. In many cases, criminal records are made public and available for anyone to find. While some details of a criminal case may vary as to what is considered public. You can often look up a particular case or find out if a person was arrested and convicted of a crime. Felonies, misdemeanors and infractions are all part of the public court record system.
  • Driving records. Records of accidents, traffic citations, driver’s license information and proof of auto insurance may be available to the public. However, some of this information may be hidden to protect the privacy of the individual. For example, you may be able to find a person’s driving record and verify vehicle records, but some information may be limited according to the DPPA.

How To Find Someone’s Public Record

A very popular way to find someone else’s public record is to use a privately run public record website. These online resources offer people the ability to resource publicly recorded information on anyone with a simple name search. There are billions of public records available and many people with the same first and last name so it’s a good idea to also know their middle name, age, DOB or other identifying information that you can cross-reference to make sure you’ve found the right record for the correct person. These privately run public record websites are different that government agencies, where you typically cannot lookup records on other people with state run or federally run agencies. That being said, these third party resources are usually for reference and verification only and cannot be used for official purposes.

How Can I Lookup My Public Records?

  • Use state government websites. For example, you can find a wide range of California public records via the state website here.
  • Find court records through the United States Courts’ records. Here, you can find a wide range of public court records going back many years via the PACER system.
  • Consider looking up records via a third-party website. Third-party websites can be particularly helpful when you’re searching for records quickly. Offering a range of different public records, a third-party site is also ideal if you’re not quite sure what you’re searching for.

Looking up public records online can be a relatively simple process if you know where to begin. These are a few of the most common way to lookup public records online. It’s important to note that you can only lookup your own public record through state and federal government agencies, not those of other people. That means that if you’re only looking up your public record, this could be a good option for your, especially if you need official copies of your own records.

Can anyone lookup public records?

Yes, anyone can lookup public records in the United States. The Freedom of Information Act of 1966 makes most government collected information public domain which anyone can access.

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Responses to “How to Lookup Public Records

  1. squarryadministrator says:

    Brandy, you can fight the traffic ticket if there is a picture of the driver and it is not you or your son. You will need to contact the traffic issuing agency directly to inquire about how to petition the ticket and have it transferred into the correct person’s name. As far as the auto insurance claim, you would need to contact your auto insurance company directly, it really depends on what your auto insurance policy says. We hope this helps and please reach out if we can assist you with any of your future public record search needs

  2. Brandy Crane says:

    My son cosigned, well actually he is the main one on the contract, for a brand new car 2023 $65,000 Jeep for a coworker, they have the tag in my son’s name and have gotten 2 major traffic tickets, by the camera at the red lights, so my son received 2 tickets in his name but he wasn’t even in the car, CAN HE TELL THEM WHEN THEY PAY THE TICKETS TO TELL THEM THEY WE’RE DRIVING AND PUT THE TICKETS IN THEIR NAME, ALSO TAG SHOULD GO IN THEIR NAME? IF THEY HAVE AN ACCIDENT WOULD MY SON’S INSURANCE OR THEIR INSURANCE COVER IT? IS THE CAR COVERED OR THE DRIVER? Thank You So much!

  3. squarryadministrator says:

    Cynthia, we are happy to run a criminal background check for you to let you know what we can find in your public record. Please give us your full name, age and state of residence for us to look this up for you.

  4. cynthia clay says:

    I can’t get a job and wanted to find out what’s in my background check that’s preventing me from getting a job. Can someone please help me.

  5. squarryadministrator says:

    We are happy to help William, can you provide us with your state of residence as well as your middle name and age so we can check out criminal records database for you?

  6. William fullen says:

    I am trying to find out if I have a warrant for my arrest for free, I’m unemployed and want to find out so I can take care of it.

    God Bless,
    Thank you,

    William Fullen

  7. squarryadministrator says:

    Paula, we can certainly help you with looking up a public record if you give us the name of the individual you are researching

  8. Paula Dunham says:

    I’m searching for info about a suspicious death in N Carolina happen about 2 wks ago

  9. Lisa says:

    I’m trying to find my father’s divorce information prior to his marriage to my mother. I’m working on genealogy and I know he was divorced but we can’t locate the divorce information anywhere. His marriage to my mother took place in Los Angeles and their marriage license notes his divorce date. Would LA county have a copy of the divorce certificate? Did he need it to apply for his marriage license to my mom in 1972?

  10. squarryadministrator says:

    You can lookup names and phone numbers that are public record in our member’s area. We offer unlimited searches with our trial. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance with your public record search

  11. Karilyn Followill says:

    I need to get the names of residents of my neighbors behind to report a water damage issue.
    I have address but need the names.

  12. Lisa Augello says:

    I would like to find the date of my divorce. We were divorced in South Bend, IN (St. Joseph County)
    the marriage between Lisa Anne Meers my husband was Timothy Allen Janowiak

  13. squarryadministrator says:

    Kari, we would like to help you with your public record search inquiry. Can you explain what a tool ticket is so we can better assist you?

  14. KARI PELSER says:


  15. Linda Simon says:

    Need to find marriage certificate for
    Donald Cory Petersen and Laurie Kim Shaw
    Married in Maui, Hawaii in September 2015

  16. squarryadministrator says:

    Tracy, we couldn’t find the Alabama marriage record for the people you mentioned. Since this was very recent, there may be a delay in the reporting of this public record. You can also check with the clerk of the courts where the marriage certificate was filed.

  17. Tracy Madison says:

    Need to know if Joshua Lee Hawkins and Emily Hope Kimbrell were married in Alabama in August of 2022.

  18. squarryadministrator says:

    Katina, what public record are you looking for with the VIN of the 5th wheel?

  19. Katina Keen says:

    47CF10N2XT3074285 vin on a 1998 signature ltd 5th wheel Nez Perce plates from 2012.

  20. squarryadministrator says:

    Rochelle, please refer to our license plate lookup and VIN search resources and read through our terms of search before conducting your inquiry. Each state has a separate set of rules on what is allowed to be looked up via specific privacy laws. Please reach out if you have any additional questions about how to search public records

  21. Rochelle Earl says:

    My truck was stolen. We had a contract. I’m trying to find out if it’s still in my name or his. Definitely need this for law enforcement.
    I have vin and plate.

  22. squarryadministrator says:

    Raymond, if you can provide us with your full name and date of birth we are happy to dig into your inquiry about how to lookup your public record

  23. Raymond Arias says:

    I cant find myself on any record when i search my name and state. Help!

  24. Sam Lee Martin says:

    I am attempting to obtain a death record for Virginia Martin, who died 12-30-2010 in Houston, TX. My father was married to her when he died, state law specified that she would be allowed to live on their property until her death. Now, her name is still attached to the property but I own it (and pay property taxes on the land). I would like to obtain the death certificate in order to get clear title to the property.

  25. squarryadministrator says:

    Robby, you will want to contact your local DMV directly to inquire about changing the vehicle title into your name. Typically a bill of sale is sufficient but you’ll want to double check this with your local DMV office

  26. Robby J gutierrez says:

    Lost the title to vehicle just bought. Have bill of sale. But the person bought from title jumped and sold. Found info on owner to get duplicate title and registration. Have insurance and new emissions but cant get plates or registration without the titke. And after contacting owner he merely just ignores call. Police took title. Said only need to provide bill of sale for return. Now they cant find it. Done kitsch of research have lots of info but not sure what to do.

  27. squarryadministrator says:

    Gayle, we show a couple traffic citations and an arrest record from a few years ago in San Diego county. If you sign up with our premium membership you can view these in detail and run unlimited public record searches

  28. Gayle Townsend says:

    Criminal, court & arrest records, please. San Diego County.

  29. Gayle Townsend says:

    Criminal, court & arrest records, please.

  30. squarryadministrator says:

    Gayle, we are happy to help you with a public record lookup. Can you provide us with what type of public record you are looking for. Below are some types of public records that we can assist you with.

    Types of Public Records That Are Available

    Criminal Records
    Court Records
    ・Incarceration Records
    ・Sex Offender Records
    ・Lien Records
    Bankruptcy Records
    Driving Records
    Vital Records
    Marriage Records
    Divorce Records
    ・Birth Records
    ・Death Records
    VIN Vehicle Records
    ・License Plate Records
    ・Property Records
    ・Phone Records
    ・Email Records

  31. Gayle Townsend says:

    Gayle A Townsend, 03/06/73, California (Oceanside/San Ysidro)

  32. squarryadministrator says:

    Randy, we are happy to run a free public records search for you. To begin, give us the full name of the person, their age and state of residence. Our public record database quickly searches over 2 billion records to give you all the information you need about someone. Public records include criminal history, driving records, vital records, court records, incarcerations, liens, bankruptcies and much more.

  33. Randy D Wenzowitz says:

    Guess public records aren\’t free. Freedom of information act isn\’t either.

Last Updated: 2019-11-12

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