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Missouri Public Records

Located in the Midwestern United States, Missouri is also known as “The Show Me State.”  Originally part of the land that acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase, the state was the Missouri Territory before achieving statehood in 1821.  The starting points for the Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, and Pony Express were all located in Missouri.  The state capital is Jefferson City, but its largest city is St. Louis.  With a population of over 6 million people, it is the 18th most populous state in the nation and does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.

Missouri  Public Records Laws

Disclosure of public records in Missouri is covered under three statutes.  The Missouri Public Records Lawwas passed in 1961 and applies more specifically to what records public agencies are required to keep.  The Sunshine Law and the Arrest Records Law were both passed in 1973 and are found in Chapter 610 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.  These laws set policy on the disclosure of records to the public.

Under the Laws, “any member of the public” may request access to public records.  The purpose of the application generally does not need to be stated.  However, if you are asking for records that are exempt, you will have a greater chance of getting them if you can show a “material interest.”  There is no restriction on the use of records once obtained.

The records that are included under the Laws are records from any governmental bodies and “quasi-public governmental bodies”, which includes the executive and legislative branches.  The Laws do not cover the courts, except in regards to their administrative records.  Records that are not covered by the Laws, or are exempt, include:

  • Privileged communications
  • Personnel records
  • Medical records
  • Testing materials
  • Bidding information
  • Records made exempt by statute or court order


Missouri  Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

Criminal Record Checks in Missouri are administered by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS).   The CJIS conducts both name-based and fingerprint-based background checks.  There is also an online portal for name-based searches called the Missouri Automated Criminal History System (MACHS), on which anyone can request a name-based criminal records search on anyone else without a signed consent.  The only information needed to conduct a search are Full Name, Date of Birth, and Social Security Number.


Missouri  Jail and Inmate Records

Visit the Missouri Department of Corrections website to find out information on inmates in the system, services for victims, and correctional facilities in the state.  To locate an offender, there is an Offender Search page that will prompt you to enter either a Doc Id or a First and Last Name.  You will be given the offender’s location, a list of offenses, and earliest possible release date.



Missouri  Court Records

Any information on courts or court records in the state of Missouri can be found on the state’s administrator of the courts website.  Missouri courts have an online search tool called CaseNet that allows searches of dockets, judgments and case records.  Public access to court documents in Missouri is considered to be a common law right.  Most of the courts in the state can be searched on this system, but you may still need to request full court records from the clerk of the court at the courthouse where the case was heard.

Missouri  Vital Records

Vital Records in Missouri, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates can be obtained from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Records.   You must prove a relationship to the party on the certificateto make a request for any of these, such as being named on the license or being a spouse, child, parent, other relative, guardian, or legal representative.  How to request each and the dates available depend on the type of vital record that you need:

  • Birth Certificates:  Birth certificates are available from 1910 to present.   To obtain a birth certificate, you can submit your completed application to the main office at: 930 Wildwood Dr.,  Jefferson City, MO 65109 (by mail or in person) or the nearest local health department.  In the alternative, an online request can be made through VitalCheck.com.
  • Death Certificates: Death certificates are available from 1910 to present.   To obtain a death certificate, you can submit your completed application to the main office at: 930 Wildwood Dr.,  Jefferson City, MO 65109 (by mail or in person) or the nearest local health department.  In the alternative, an online request can be made through VitalCheck.com.
  • Marriage Certificates: Marriage certificates are available from July 1948 to present.   To obtain a marriage certificate, you can submit your completed application to the main office at: 930 Wildwood Dr.,  Jefferson City, MO 65109 (by mail or in person) or to the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the license was obtained.  In the alternative, an online request can be made through VitalCheck.com.
  • Divorce Certificates: Divorce certificates are available from July 1948 to present.   To obtain a divorce certificate, you can submit your completed application to the main office at 930 Wildwood Dr.,  Jefferson City, MO 65109 (by mail or in person) or to the Circuit Clerk in the court where the divorce was granted.  In the alternative, an online request can be made through VitalCheck.com.
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