Hawaii Public Records
Table of Contents
Hawaii Public Records Laws
Although Hawaii is rated as having one of the most open state governments, the language regarding public records is vague. Public records in the state are governed by the  Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act,established in 1975. This includes written, auditory, visual, electronic, or any other physical form of record maintained by Hawaiian governmental offices and agencies.
Through the Office of Information Practices website, the public may use the Records Report System (RRS). The RRS is a database which contains descriptions of 29,000 record titles, how they may retrieved, and so on. Although it lists what records are stored by government agencies, the RRS, itself, does not contain the records.
Exceptions are made for records that would constitute an invasion of privacy, records for current judicial proceedings, confidential government records, and draft working papers of legislative agencies. Examples include medical, psychiatric, or psychological information, criminal investigations, social or welfare benefits information, and personnel files.
Hawaii Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Criminal and arrest records as well as official state background check information can be obtained with the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center (HCJDC). The agency is responsible for the statewide criminal history record information system as well as the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, Sex Offender and Other Covered Offender Registry, and the Adult Criminal Conviction Information website.
Only arrest records which resulted in convictions, acquittals, or dismissals due to physical or mental disease, disorder or defect are officially considered public records (Chapter 704, HRS). Non-conviction arrest records and juvenile criminal records are not available to the public.
Hawaii Jail and Inmate Records
Inmate and jail records in Hawaii are maintained by each county’s correction center or facility. The facility must be contacted in person, by mail, or by phone and no online searches for inmate records are available.
Hawaii Court Records
Court records in Hawaii are administered by the Hawaii State Judiciary branch, a unified court system which is presided over by the Hawaii Supreme Court. General information on the courts, including news and reports, legal reference, community outreach, and special projects can be found at the Hawaii Administrative Director of Courts website.
On this site, Hawaii court records can be accessed via two search portals, the Ho`ohiki and eCourt Kokua. Ho`ohiki indexes both criminal and civil cases from the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals and the Hawaii Supreme Court. Official certified court cases in paper for must be obtained at the courthouses where they took place. but it is not a complete directory of all information that is available to the public. Traffic cases can be searched through eCourt Kokua.
Hawaii Vital Records
In Hawaii, access to vital records, including birth, death, marriage, and divorce records are kept by the Office of Health Status Monitoring and access is restricted, in accordance with statute HRS §338-18.
Vital records for birth, deaths, and marriages go as far back as 1853, but any requests for documents that go back more than 75 years from the date of request are subject to additional privacy restrictions. Divorce records are only available for dates falling for 1951-2002 with the Department of Health; all other years are available at the court where the divorce was filed.
Vital records may only be obtained by authorized persons through the Department of Health. Only persons with direct and tangible interest in a vital record can requests for vital records. Persons with direct and tangible interest are limited to the following persons: the individual named on the record, a spouse, a parent, a descendant, an immediate family member, legal guardian or representative, or adoptive parents. In addition, individuals with a court order or a verifiable legal interest in obtaining the record may also be granted a copy.
Records may be ordered online through the Office of Health Status Monitoring or by telephone by calling, any day or any time, by calling (808) 586-4533. Walk-in service is also available Monday through Friday at the Health Department Building between the hours of 7:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Hawaii vital records for births, deaths and marriages date to 1853, but records less than 75 years old are subject to privacy restrictions. Divorce records are available only for 1951-2002 in the Department of Health; other years are available in the court where filed. Hawaii public records of vital statistics since 1909 can be ordered online; older records require a request in writing.