Indiana Court Records
Are Indiana Records Public?
Under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act (APRA), most of the records filed or maintained by the government are considered public. The APRA grants access to a wide variety of documents and information, including any "report, photograph, book, writing, or any other received or created by a public agency at the state, county, or municipal level. Public records may also include any material created "on behalf of a public agency." Some public agencies covered by the Records Act include law enforcement agencies, boards, departments, divisions, committees, and departments. Residents can also obtain records maintained by authorities of any Indiana county, township, city, or school corporation.
Who Can Access Indiana Public Records?
Public records are open to everyone in Indiana. The APRA provides that "any person" may inspect public records (including state residents and non-residents) as long as the documents aren't confidential or exempted by law. Although requests can be made orally or in writing, most agencies prefer that residents submit a request in writing for documentation and record keeping.
Note: In Indiana, Public agencies generally respond within seven calendar days of receiving a request. In-person requests have the shortest response times (under 24 hours), while emailed, faxed, or mailed requests take longer.
Do I Need to State My Purpose and Use When Requesting Public Records in Indiana?
You don't need to state a purpose to view, inspect, or obtain copies of a record in Indiana. The only requirement provided by law is that you submit a request to the custodian during the regular business hours. However, submitted applications must identify the record. Your request must be explicit and have enough information to assist with a search. You must also submit your request in writing or using any other method the agency provides.
Note: Although in-person requests only occur during regular business hours, some government agencies provide online options for submitting requests or inspecting records.
What Records are Public in Indiana?
Most of the records generated, filed, or maintained by public agencies in Indiana are considered public. That's because Indiana's definition of public records is extensive. The provisions of the APRA include everything from crime data, criminal records, and inmate records to sex offender information, property records, and even vital records.
Indiana Public Criminal Records
Indiana criminal records, also known as RAP (Records of Arrest and Prosecution) sheets, provide documented information on a person's criminal history. Per state statutes, such records are public unless exempted by law or sealed by a court order. The Indiana State Police is the main statewide law enforcement agency tasked with maintaining criminal records. The ISP provides multiple options for obtaining criminal records, including in-person, mail, and online requests. Once created, criminal records remain in the state's database until the registrant is deceased or is 99 years old.
Indiana State Police
IGCN - 100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2259
Indiana Public Arrest Records
Indiana arrest records are generally open to the public, except where prevented by law or court order. Some general elements found in an arrest record include the name of the individual, the arrest date and time, and a description of the alleged offense. In addition, an arrest record may have other details, such as mugshots or fingerprints. To obtain copies of an arrest record, you'll need to provide details such as the arrested person's name or a case ID. You'll also need to contact the right agency. Depending on where the arrest occurred, records may be maintained by the Indiana State Police or local law enforcement agencies.
Indiana Public Inmate Records
In Indiana, anyone can access public inmate records, as the state's Public Records Act covers most of the information maintained by the state and local correctional facilities. Public inmate records typically contain non-confidential data such as the offender's name, charges, incarceration date, and release date.
To look up public Indiana inmate records, you must identify the right custodians. Depending on the charges and arresting agency, inmates may be incarcerated in a federal, state, or local facility. The Indiana Department of Correction maintains records of inmates held in state facilities and provides an online platform to assist with searches. You can narrow your search results using a known first or last name or a DOC number. However, to find inmates held in a local jail or correctional facility, you'll need to contact the local county sheriff or city law enforcement.
Indiana Department of Correction
302 West Washington Street
IGCS, Room E334
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Indiana Public Sex Offender Information
Under state laws, records of individuals who have been convicted of sex offenses are generally open to the public. Residents can obtain information by contacting law enforcement agencies. In addition, the Indiana Department of Corrections (in coordination with the local sheriff departments) manages a sex and violent offender registry containing the names, locations, and details of offenders who reside, work, or study in the state. You can search the registry using filters such as a known name or specific location.
Indiana Department of Correction
Attn: Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry
302 W. Washington St.
Indiana Government Center South, E329
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2038
Indiana Public Birth Records
Indiana public birth records provide information about a person's birth, such as the time, place, and date of birth, as well as related parental details. Under state laws, these records are generally available to eligible individuals after a set period. The Indiana Department of Health serves as the central repository for statewide records. It processes requests for standard and long-form birth certificates (both of which are certified). To obtain copies of an Indiana birth record, you must submit a completed application form alongside a photocopy of a valid government-issued ID, such as a driver's license, passport, or military ID. Applicants may also need to provide proof of relationship.
Indiana State Department of Health
P.O. Box 7125
Indiana Public Death Records
Indiana public death records contain information about deaths that occur within the state. Before 1900, these records were primarily filed by the local health departments in the respective cities or counties. However, since 1900, records have been maintained by the state office. As of 2024, the Indiana Department of Health Division of Vital Records serves as the state's leading curator of birth certificates. It's responsible for maintaining and issuing certified death records to eligible applicants. Applicants can request records in person, via mail, or online. To obtain a certified copy of an Indiana public death record, you must provide a photocopy of valid identification and proof of relationship to the decedent.
Note: Death certificates generally have an estimated 60-day processing time, but the exact time may vary on a case-by-case basis.
Indiana Public Marriage Records
Indiana public marriage records contain information about marriages in the state. They provide key information, such as the full names of the bride and groom, the date the marriage officially occurred, and related details, such as the names of witnesses and the officiator. Depending on the year, marriage records are generally open to the public.
Residents can search through marriage records from 1958 up to 2018 at Indiana's state library. However, certified copies of a marriage can only be obtained from the Circuit Court or Superior Court where the marriage license was issued. To get public Indiana marriage records, you'll need to contact the respective county clerk and provide some information related to the event, such as the name of the married couple, the date of the event, and the location. If you need help determining where the marriage occurred, you can refine your search options using the court's license lookup tool.
Indiana Public Divorce Records
Indiana divorce records document legal separations granted within the county. They contain details such as the parties' names and details of any settlement. Per state laws, these records are generally open to the public. However, some information may be redacted or protected from the public. To obtain a divorce record in Indiana, you'll need to contact the clerk at the court where the divorce was granted. You'll also need to provide related information, such as the date the registrant filed the divorce, the court case number, and the respective parties' names. Depending on the type of request, you may also need to provide a valid ID.
Indiana Public Court Records
Indiana court case records contain information related to legal proceedings across circuit courts, superior courts, and city and town courts. They include any document, data, or information maintained or received by a court agency, court clerk, or court concerning a case. Most court records are generally open to the public. However, unlike most public records, which the APRA governs, the Indiana Rules of Court govern access to court records. It provides that anyone may obtain copies of a document except where restricted or excluded by law. Some examples of court records that may be excluded from public access include but are not limited to the following:
- Court case records declared confidential by state or deferral law
- Court records containing personal information of witnesses, children, and litigants
- Cout administrative records containing the place of residence of attorneys, judicial officers, clerks, and other employees of the court
- Any court record that has been sealed per the APRA
To obtain copies of a court record, you must submit a written request to the appointed record custodian (typically a clerk) with a clear description of the record. Some records may also be accessible online.
Indiana Public Bankruptcy Records
Indiana bankruptcy records provide information on residents and companies who have filed for bankruptcy. Some details in a public bankruptcy record include the registrant's credit claims, assets, and gross income. To look up bankruptcy records in Indiana, you must have the debtor's name or case number. However, Indiana bankruptcy records aren't maintained by the state. They fall under the federal court's jurisdiction, namely the Federal Bankruptcy Court. As a result, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) governs public access. Bankruptcy courts in Indiana operate under two general districts: the Northern District of Indiana and the Southern District of Indiana.
Indiana Public Property Records
In Indiana, most property records fall under the general umbrella of public records, which means almost anyone can access them. Some records may be available online, while others can only be accessed in person or via mail. Public property records are generally maintained in the county or city where the property is located. Depending on the jurisdiction, you can obtain records from the County Assessor's office, the County Treasurer, or the office of the County Auditor.
What is Exempted Under the Indiana Public Records Act?
Not all records are open to the public. Per the Indiana Public Record Act (Indiana Code 5-14-3-4), record custodians can deny requests for records expressly protected by law. The act also gives agencies the discretionary right to refuse the release of certain documents, such as records containing personnel information or records that could jeopardize security.
Some examples of records exempted under state statutes:
- Any record that's been sealed or declared confidential by the judiciary
- Records containing information that's made confidential by state statutes or federal law
- Documents containing grade transcripts or examination scores obtained during a licensure process.
- Records containing protected information provided upon request by a person.
- Records containing proprietary information and trade secrets
- Documents that include patient medical records and charts (where the patient hasn't given consent)
- Records containing social security numbers
- Records containing personal notes or diaries
- Records related to negotiations or law enforcement investigations.
How Do I Find Public Records in Indiana?
Finding a public record in Indiana will require contacting the correct government database or repository. While the process varies slightly with different agencies, you can find public records by following several quick steps.
Step 1. Identify the Record Custodian
The first step to obtaining records is identifying the public agency in charge of the records. For instance, records on inmates will be with the Department of Correction, while information on arrests, criminal background checks, inmates, or sex offenders will be with law enforcement agencies. An online search should provide a quick result.
Step 2. Check if the record is public or readily available
Most agencies provide information on how to get some documents and details of any restrictions. Confirm the record's accessibility and then check if you have the requirements for a record check. Some government sites have open databases where requesters can access public information like inmate rosters, sex offender information, and certain property records.
Choose the best medium for making requests: Most agencies offer multiple options for making a public record request, and this may include:
- In-person or on-site request (usually the quickest response)
- Online requests
- Mailed requests
- E-mailed requests
Requesters are to choose the most efficient means of making their request or even consider paying extra to expedite the request if the option is available and the record is needed urgently.
Step 3. Make a request and pay the required fees.
Once you've got all the necessary information, write out an application and provide specific details to make finding and retrieving the record easy. A helpful tip is to include identifiers like inmate or case numbers or dates within a request. Remember to double-check all information and have the necessary documents and fees before sending the request to the record custodian. Finally, pay fees and collect copies. Depending on the type of record, a cost estimate is usually included in the response to the initial request. The record retrieval process only begins with confirmation of payment.
Can I Find Free Public Records in Indiana Using Third-Party Sites?
Some third-party sites provide free search options for finding free public records in Indiana. However, these sites are unconnected to the government, so the record availability and accuracy tend to vary on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the platform, third-party sites may offer information curated from only agencies in Indiana or records aggregated from multiple states around the county.
Third-party sites offer a convenient alternative if you want to conduct a quick electronic search. But to use a third-party service, you'll need to have some details about the record, such as the name of the person on the document, the filing date and location, and the case number (if any).
How Much Do Public Records Cost in Indiana?
In Indiana, different agencies charge different fees for obtaining public records. For instance, inspecting an open document comes at no cost, as the APRA provides that public agencies in Indiana can not charge for inspections (except in cases permitted by law). However, if you wish to obtain copies of a record from a state agency, you could pay between $0.10 or $0.25 per page, depending on whether you're requesting black-and-white or colored copies. In comparison, government agencies may charge up to $5.00 per document if you wish to obtain certified copies of a record. Some agencies may grant fee waivers for records. This decision is discretionary and typically reserved for requests linked with non-commercial activities, such as nonprofit programs, academic research, or journalism.
Note: Indiana's Public Record Act restricts how high an agency can charge depending on the record medium and request. While paper copies are generally more affordable, obtaining records stored on mediums other than paper (such as a disc or computer tape) may cost more. However, the cost must be, at most, the price of procuring the electronic form.
What Happens if I Am Refused a Public Records Request?
If a custodian wrongly fails to release public documents, you may be able to force the release of the records by filing a case with the nearest district court. However, any successful reversal will hinge on the reason for rejection. Government agencies may refuse a public record request for a variety of reasons. For instance, custodians may reject the application because it was sent to the wrong agency or contained incorrect or vague information. Public agencies may also turn down requests if the identified records contain information exempted by law. All of these are legal reasons for rejection and may be resolved without requiring the intervention of the court.