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Finding Court Records in Each State

The links in the court section go directly to where you can find court records.  However they are far from complete. To find addition records in courts not listed here, see the "How To Guide" below.

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Looking up court records can be a very rewarding experience. Court records may reveal if your subject has committed crimes, been involved in a lawsuit or previously been incarcerated.   However searching the courts will take some patience and persistence.  The reason is that there is no single database for all court records. Thus, for a good search you must look through every court in your target state.

Note that no two states are alike. While some states have a central location to search for criminal and civil records, others have this information scattered throughout their state, city and county court websites.  Also note that each state has a superior court, an appellate (appeals) court and a supreme court where more records can be found. Thus, you�ll want to look in every court available to you.

The layout and content of every court�s homepage is also different. Some courts offer no useful information at all while others offer everything you�d want to know. Further, there is no standard place where this information is kept. Some courts keep their records in obvious easy to find places.  Other courts will make you dig for it.  Key to any search is knowing where to look and when it�s time to move on.

How To Quickly Locate Court Records in Each State.

1.      Go to your target state and select your court (city, state, county, superior, appeals, etc), Start with your state courts, then move to your county and city, etc.)

2.      Look for links likely to reveal a persons civil or criminal background. These include  arty/Case Index,Cvil Casesï, Criminal Cases, Case Information, Inmate Lookup, Name Index, Plaintiff/Defendant, Sex Offenders, Parolees, Probationers, Traffic Tickets/Violations etc.

3.      If you find a page with a last name lookup Click here, otherwise see step 4.

4.      Explore all links and drop boxes for similar words and phrases. Usually each court will have a FAQ  
     page that can also be helpful.

5.      Check out their site index for the key words above (if available).

6.      Explore their legal links or other resources/links sections (If available)

7.      Enter key words in the court search engine (if one is available).

8.      Explore all other links and click Here if you find a page with a last name lookup.

9.      Move on to the next court.

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 Party Lookup

Begin with the least information possible. It is best to start with only a last name or maybe a first and last name. If you get too many hits, most sites will provide instructions on how to narrow your search. Note: the biggest mistake is to enter too much information.  Computer�s are stupid and only match what has been put into them. Thus, if you plug in your subject�s middle name and it�s not in the database, you�ll miss the person you�re looking for.  If possible, leave out extra information such as sex, age, race, middle name, county, date of offense, etc.  If the site asks you what county or city, choose the �all� selection or ignore it entirely. When you�re done, click on the �Search�, �Enter� or �View� button to display your results.

Once you find your subject, explore every area on the screen for links. For example, clicking on the party�s name or offense may lead to other valuable information. Note: In some cases, links may appear the same color as normal text. Thus your cursor and not sight alone will be the best indicator if more information is available.

Directory Of State Courts (All 50 States & DC)

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