Missouri Public Records
Two laws are essential to understanding the public records in Missouri. The first is the Missouri Sunshine Law which gives citizens and non-citizens the right to access most public records of governmental bodies with some exceptions. The second law is the Missouri Open Meetings Act which requires that all meetings of governmental bodies be open to the public with few exceptions.
The Sunshine Law provides that all public records of governmental bodies are open for inspection and copying by the public, with some exceptions.
How to Find Missouri Public Records
In today's digital world, many Missouri public records are available online. However, most government agencies require you to fill out a records request form to access public records.
It is advisable to contact the government agency directly to find out how to request public records. Some public records are not accessible online and can only be obtained by requesting records.
Missouri public records are also available through third-party websites. However, these websites may charge fees for accessing public records.
Are Missouri Public Records Available Online?
In most cases, public records in Missouri are available online.
The Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) has an online database that includes Missouri criminal history records. You can either search by name or fingerprint. The results will show the person's criminal history, if any.
The Department of Corrections also has an Offender Search tool on its website that can be used to find active offenders.
Some counties also have their online databases for court records. For example, the City of St. Louis has an online real estate and land records database.
What Records are Available in Missouri?
The following types of records are available in Missouri:
- Arrest records
- Court records
- Vital records
- Property records
- Driving records
- Inmate records
- Sex offender registry
- Business Information records
- Historical archives
- And more
Some records, such as court and arrest records, are publicly available. However, other records, such as vital records, may only be public to certain people.
What Records are Non-Public in Missouri?
Just like other states, Missouri has laws that protect the privacy of certain types of records. These laws are in place to protect individuals' rights and prevent identity theft and other crimes.
Some examples of non-public records in Missouri include:
- Child abuse and neglect records
- Medical records
- Social security numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Driver's license numbers
- Certain business information
- And more
If you are looking for a non-public record, you must fill out a records request form. The government agency will then determine if the record can be released to you.
Types of Public Records Available in Missouri
Below are the most commonly requested types of public records in Missouri:
Missouri Public Criminal Records
Missouri has one of the best online criminal history databases in the country. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is tasked with maintaining criminal history records.
As mentioned above, The Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) has an online database that includes Missouri criminal history records where you have the option to search by name or through fingerprints.
A name-based search might be less accurate than a fingerprint-based search. However, it is still a good option if you only have the name of the person you are searching for. There is a $14 fee for a name-based search.
Missouri has an official vendor, IDEMIA, which has IdentoGO centers across the state that provide fingerprinting services for a fee.
Criminal history records in Missouri typically contain information such as:
- Name and aliases
Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Missouri :
Arrest Records and Warrants
Local law enforcement agencies are responsible for keeping arrest records.
Arrest records typically contain the following information:
- Name and aliases of the arrested person
- Date of birth
- Booking date and time
- Arraignment date
- Bail information
- Charge information
You can access arrest records using public access computers at local law enforcement agencies. However, some agencies might require you to fill out a records request form.
Warrants are issued by a judge when there is probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime. Warrants give law enforcement the authority to arrest the person named in the warrant. While there is no central database for warrants in Missouri, you can check with the local Sheriff's Office in the county where the warrant was issued.
Inmate and Jail Records
The Department of Corrections is responsible for keeping records on all inmates in Missouri.
The Missouri Offender Search Tool is an online database that can search for inmates by name or DOC ID, a unique identification number assigned to each inmate.
Some counties have their own jail inmate search tools on their websites. For example, you can use the Jackson County Jail Inmate Lookup of the Sheriff's department to search for incarcerated inmates in the Jackson County Detention Center.
Jails and Prisons in Missouri :
Missouri Background Checks
Missouri follows both federal and state laws when it comes to background checks.
Under federal law, employers are allowed to run a background check on job applicants as long as they follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA has strict rules that employers must follow, such as getting written permission from the applicant and providing them with a report copy.
In Missouri, some laws regulate how people can use background checks in certain situations. Several Ban-The-Box laws prohibit employers from asking about an applicant's criminal history on the job application.
MACHS, mentioned above, is a resource for employers who want to run a background check on job applicants. The Missouri Court System also offers a free online search tool for court records within the state through the Case Net system.
How to find Sex Offenders in Missouri
The State Highway Patrol is responsible for managing the Missouri Sex Offender Registry. The registry is a database of all registered sex offenders in the state.
You can search for sex offenders by name, address, city, county, or zip code. The results will show you a list of offenders that match your search criteria.
Each offender's profile will include the following information:
- Name and aliases
- Date of birth
- Height and weight
- Hair color and eye color
- Home address
- Work address
- School address
- Conviction information
Missouri Public Vital Records
The Bureau of Vital Records under the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for keeping track of all vital records in the state.
Vital records include birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. You can order vital records online through the VitalChek website, by mail, or in person at the Bureau of Vital Records.
For mail applications, you need to send the application form (which can be found here), a copy of your valid photo ID, and the appropriate fee to the Bureau of Vital Records. In-person applications might require an appointment with the Bureau of Vital Records or the local public health agency.
The fee for a Missouri vital record varies depending on the document type and how many copies you order. For example, the fee for a certified copy of a Missouri birth certificate is $15 for the first copy and $15 for each additional copy.
Missouri Court Records
Court records are considered public records in Missouri. You can request court records from the court clerk's office in the county where the case was filed.
If you want to search for court cases online, you can use the Case.net search tool mentioned above. The Missouri Court System maintains this website and allows you to search for court cases by name, number, or filing date.
State Court System in Missouri
The Missouri Court System is divided into three levels:
- The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Missouri, and it hears appeals from the lower courts.
- The Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in Missouri and hears appeals from the circuit courts.
- The Trial Courts are the Missouri circuit courts and have original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases.
Appeals from the Missouri Court of Appeals and circuit courts go to the Supreme Court. Cases filed in the trial courts are usually first heard in the circuit court. Some cases, such as probate and small claims, are listened to in specialized courts.
Courts in Missouri :
The Department of Revenue is responsible for maintaining driving records in Missouri. You can order a copy of your driving record online or in person at a Missouri license office.
There are two kinds of driving records in Missouri:
- Driving records without personal information: This can be requested by anyone, including information about your traffic violations, accidents, and points on your license. You can either visit a license office near you or order it online. To order your Missouri driving record online, you must create an account with the Department of Revenue. Results are sent through the valid email address you provided during registration.
- Driving records with personal information: This can only be requested by you or a company legally allowed access to your personal information. You need to complete the Request from Driver License Record Holder (Form 4681) and submit it to the address in the form or through email or snail mail.
Specific fees apply when ordering driving records.
Civil Driving Infractions
Civil driving infractions are moving violations in Missouri. A civil driving infraction is not a criminal offense but can add points to your driving record.
The number of points you get for a civil driving infraction depends on the severity of the offense. For example, you may get 2 points for failing to obey a stop sign and 3 points for speeding.
If you accumulate eight or more points within 18 months, your driver's license may be suspended by the Department of Revenue.
Missouri License Plate Lookup
The Department of Revenue is responsible for issuing license plates in Missouri. The Missouri Drivers Privacy and Protection Act does not allow the Department of Revenue to release personal information about license plate holders, so you will be unable to find out the owner of a vehicle through a license plate lookup.
However, you may try to write a formal request to the Department of Revenue to see if they will release the information to you.
Missouri Property and Asset Records Online
Property records are maintained by the recorder of deeds in each Missouri county. These property records help determine who owns a piece of property, what the property's value is, and whether there are any liens or encumbrances on the property.
To find property records online, you can try searching the recorder of deeds website in the county where the property is located. Many counties have websites where you can search for property records.
You can also try searching for property records on a third-party website. These websites may charge a fee to access the records, but they can be helpful if you cannot find the records you are looking for on the county website.
The State Treasurer's Office manages unclaimed properties in Missouri. You can search for unclaimed property on their website here.
Important Government Agencies in Missouri
Several government agencies in Missouri might be of use to you. These include:
- Secretary of State
- State Governor
- Missouri State Archives
- Missouri Legislature
- Missouri Attorney General
- Bureau of Vital Records
- Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
- Missouri State Highway Patrol
- Department of Revenue
- Missouri Court System
- State Treasurer's Office
- Department of Corrections
Counties in Missouri
- Cape Girardeau
- New Madrid
- Saint Charles
- Saint Clair
- Saint Francois
- Saint Louis
- Saint Louis City
- Sainte Genevieve
List of Content
- How to Find Missouri Public Records
- What Records are Available in Missouri?
- Types of Public Records Available in Missouri
- Missouri Public Criminal Records
- Arrest Records and Warrants
- Inmate and Jail Records
- Missouri Background Checks
- How to find Sex Offenders in Missouri
- Missouri Public Vital Records
- Missouri Court Records
- Driving Records
- Civil Driving Infractions
- Missouri License Plate Lookup
- Missouri Property and Asset Records Online
- Important Government Agencies in Missouri