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Free State Public Records for Background Checks

Federal Records Shortcuts to State Records Descriptions
  Vehicle Records
  Vehicle Owner Information
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  Accident Reports
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Reference Books

The Book of States

Published since 1935, The Book of the States has been the reference tool of choice for more than half a century, providing information, answers and comparisons for all 56 U.S. states and territories.

Within The Book of the States, you can find analysis and comparative information on a wide range of topics. The book not only focuses on historical data, but also highlights trends in various state public policy areas

State Directories The most comprehensive set of state directories published, this collection includes the names and contact information for key state government officials. Eliminate hours of searching the Web for the information you need!

Order a Background Check online now!. Experienced database search specialists will immediately go to work for you, to quickly return real, meaningful results. See our Sample Report Our Expert Background Checks offers guaranteed search results, free consultation and 24 hour return.

Individual court records are available for our Business Members. No Sign-up fee or monthly minimums. More Information.>

State Level Records Searches

Searching records at the state level has one advantage: you can search a large geographical area all at once, which enables you to determine which records will require further perusal at the county and local level and at which courthouse those records are being maintained. ( Much of the data collected at county level is forwarded to state repositories in summary form.) See State Directory for individual State Records &Websites:

Computer Database & Microfiche

Many states maintain accessible computer database files and microfiche of certain records for sale. Many states also provide access to databases to on-line Information Providers, who, in turn, sell that information to Professional Investigators as well as to individuals.  For information providers, see Databases

Other Information For Sale

Specialized Information Brokers, Information Providers, and Information Professionals also have access to driver and motor vehicle information from those states that make that information part of public records. Don't overlook the value of old records.

Department (Bureau) of Motor Vehicles

Vehicle Records

The DMV maintains records concerning vehicle registration. There is no national repository of vehicle data or driving records open to the public. Each state maintains its own computer system to store that information. Methods and formats for storage vary state to state as d o rules and regulations governing the release of information. Call the department or division for full information about release of information.

If you have a tag number and you want to know who owns a particular  vehicle - whether there's a clean title or a lien on it - go into any of the state-run tag offices.   Show your driver license and say, 'I want to know who owns a certain tag.' They will give you that information and tell you who the lien holder is. That's public information and is available in most states. Massachusetts and California you can't do that.

There are four types of searches that can be performed in many, but certainly not all, states. They are:
  • Tag trace: Provide a tag number and the department will provide the name of the registered owner, address of the owner, VIN, and sometimes the owner's DOB. (Most states.)
  • VIN: You furnish the VIN and the department will provide the same information as listed above - and sometimes the name of the lien holder.
  • Title trace: This trace is similar to the above traces, except in some states you will be furnished the name of the previous owner..
  • Alpha trace: Some states offer this trace, which requires that you furnish subject's name and DOB. You'll receive a list of vehicles owned by the subject.

Any or all of these traces can prove helpful when you are tracing a missing person or attempting to locate an individual's assets. (Please see " State, Directory" for complete listings of all MVR's.)

Vehicle and/or Owner's Information

Your request for information about a certain vehicle and/or the owner's of that vehicle will net quicker results if you furnish: VIN, name, DOB

The records will show:
  • Owner's name
  • DOB
  • Year, make, and model of vehicle
  • Driver license number (sometimes)
  • Insurance company (sometimes)
  • Liens against vehicle

Vehicle's Registration

To obtain information about a vehicle's registration, furnish:
Tag number or Name & DOB


The record will show:
  • Name, address, DOB, and driver license number
  • VIN, year, make, model of vehicle
  • Insurance company (sometimes)

Driver License Records

Some states maintain divisions, agencies, or departments that compile and maintain both motor vehicle records and driver records (driver licenses and driving records); other states maintain separate divisions.

The rules governing the release of driving records and driver license records, like those governing motor vehicle records, also vary widely.  Most states will provide a current address for an individual driver

Driver license information: If the laws of the state in question allow the release of driver license information, it will contain the name and address of the individual, DOB, height, weight, color of eyes, hair color, type of license issued, and sometimes, the license expiration date.

Driver license traffic violations: This record will reflect traffic tickets charged to subject, as well as subject's involvement in accidents.

Driver License Information

Request for driver license information or driving record will net quicker results if you furnish: Full name & DOB

Also helpful, furnish:
  • Driver license number
  • Known address
  • SSN
  • DOB
The record will show:
  • Address
  • DOB & SSN
  • Date of previous test
  • Physical description
  • Driving restriction
  • Moving violations & accidents
  • Vehicle owned
  • Insurance company
  • Liens against vehicle
  • Place of employment (sometimes)
  • Driver licenses may be renewed as infrequently as every four years in many states, while almost every state requires motor vehicle tags be renewed annually.

Old Driver License Information

Old driver license information may have been saved on microfiche, computer database, computer magnetic tape, or in written files. This information is usually accessible in person at the repository in the state in question. 

Database Information: Vehicle Registration

Database Information Providers can search by name and DOB, tag number, or VIN.  Sometimes a database may be able to furnish a "driver record face page," which contains identifying information - even if the driving record is not otherwise accessible.  Some databases have the capability to conduct a national driver record search, although this type search may be prohibitively expensive. Please see "Databases".

State Highway Patrol/State Police

Law enforcement departments maintain records of all licensed drivers. These folks record all accidents, maintain or have access to motor vehicle data, accident reports, and traffic tickets.

Accident Reports

For accident reports, you must furnish: Full name

The record will show:
  • Name( of individual involved
  • Addresses of all parties
  • Passengers & Charges
  • Vehicle involved
  • Location of accident

Alcoholic Beverage &Tobacco Department

This licensing authority maintains records of all liquor license applications, which contain extensive financial (and other background information.

Boat Registration

In most states, boat and vessel registration must be renewed every year.

To tap this information base, you'll need to furnish: Name

The record will show:
  • Name, address
  • Boat or vessel type or description and/or ID number

Department of Public Health

Bureau of Vital Statistics - Department of Human Services

This bureau collects records pertaining to births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. The data collected is summary information furnished by counties. Check with county courthouse for detailed information.

Department of Justice, State Supreme Court

The state supreme court's record repository receives all court records involving civil and criminal litigation. Check with the individual court clerk's office for specific information about searching records and the release of information. Requirements vary widely.

Criminal Records are available on a statewide level - not on a national level. Even then, only a third of the states allow statewide searches. 

Database Search: Criminal Records

With the exception of the FBI's National Criminal Information Center's (NCIC) database, access to which is strictly limited to law enforcement officers and the courts, there is no central database containing all criminal records. You might consider contacting one of the database operators listed in Databases.

State Supreme Court Docket

Some states do not consider all court records to be public information. The court docket, however, is available to anyone. The docket lists names (and sometimes addresses) of both the plaintiff and the defendant, as well as the attorneys involved.

Secretary of State

This office maintains records concerning business and professional licensing. All sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations are registered with this office. Most financing statements are filed at the state level, usually with the Secretary of State's Office.

Business Concern

To get information about a business concern, you will need to furnish: Name of business

The record will show:
  • Names and addresses of officers
  • Date business began

Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Filings

Debtor and secured party are listed on UCC filings that concern business financing transactions, such as a loan or a lease, when personal property is involved. UCC filings will reveal exactly what property is encumbered by liens and what property has been put up as collateral. The debtor might be a partner, spouse, stockholder - or the business itself. The secured party could be a bank, a leasing company, an individual, or a company. UCC filings are usually active for five years, unless specifically continued.

You must furnish:

  • Name of debtor, or,
  • Name of secured party

The record will show:

  • Names of both parties
  • Addresses of both parties
  • Spouse (sometimes)
  • Partner's name (sometimes)
  • Stockholder's name (sometimes)
  • Items put up as collateral
Note: Asset searchers. Sometimes a checking or savings account can be located through this filing.

UCC Filings: Database Searches

If you must search UCC filings nationally, consider engaging the services of an Information Broker or Information Provider. See Databases.

Professional Regulation

Several departments and agencies regulate various groups of business professionals. Any professional person required to be licensed is regulated by one or more division of this department or agency. 

Worker's Compensation

Worker's Compensation is a privately-funded insurance program governed by the varying and widely differing laws of each state. Records held by this department contain only worker's compensation claims. Generally, two types of information is available: "First Report of Injury," and "Court Contested Claims."

Most states index records by claimant's name, some by employer or by accident. The records are generally maintained for seven years.

Obtaining information from this department may be difficult. Rules governing the release of information vary widely from state to state.

To obtain data from this department, you'll need: Name, SSN, and DOB (if possible)

The records will show:
  • Employer, date of incident & time lost
  • Type of injury: body part affected: or related disability

State Child Support Enforcement

The state will search records, some of which are unavailable to you, in an attempt to locate missing parents who owe outstanding-court ordered child support.
See State Directory for individual State Records & Websites.

State Archives

This is a central location for storing historical state documents, county records, local and state histories, newspapers published in that state, old phone books, city directories, census records, and old voter registration rolls. The staff of these facilities are very familiar with the records they have been charged to keep, as well as the sources of all records. If they do not have what you are looking for, they may be able to advise you where to find it.


Order a Background Check online now!. Experienced database search specialists will immediately go to work for you, to quickly return real, meaningful results. See our Sample Report Our Expert Background Checks offers guaranteed search results, free consultation and 24 hour return.

Individual court records are available for our Business Members. No Sign-up fee or monthly minimums. More Information.>

 
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