There are many records you can legally access as an American citizen.
Many government agencies can keep documents, and you could feel like you are running in circles to find the right agency for the record you are trying to obtain.
While having everything online makes it easier to access records, there could be some agencies that don’t offer this option.
Generally, any public forum can be obtained using a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letter of request submitted to the agency with the record.
Each state has different rules, so it’s essential to know the state’s law before requesting any documents.
Table of Contents
- 1 What does the Colorado public records law say?
- 2 How can a person access public records in Colorado?
- 3 Colorado Criminal Records
- 4 Colorado inmate records
- 5 Colorado Court Records
- 6 Colorado Vital Records
- 6.1 What information do I need to request a Colorado birth certificate?
- 6.2 Where can I find a Colorado birth certificate?
- 6.3 What information do I need for a death certificate in Colorado?
- 6.4 Where can I find a Colorado death record?
- 6.5 What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Colorado?
- 6.6 Where can I find an existing Colorado marriage record?
- 6.7 What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Colorado?
- 6.8 Where can I find a Colorado divorce record?
- 7 Colorado Property Records
- 8 FAQs
- 8.1 Can a request be submitted by non-residents in Colorado?
- 8.2 Is there a records custodian in Colorado?
- 8.3 What exemptions exist for public records in Colorado?
- 8.4 How long does that state have to respond to a public records request?
- 8.5 Is there an appeals process in place for public records request in Colorado?
- 8.6 What fees are associated with requesting public records request in Colorado?
What does the Colorado public records law say?
Anyone in the United States can request a public record from the three branches of government in Colorado under The Colorado Open Records Act or “CORA.”
Most records or writings can be requested unless it is a juvenile record, mental health care, or protected under a state statute. The records are open to inspection in a variety of ways. They can be mailed or faxed, and some can be accessed online.
Physical and electronic records are available to request, including maps, photos, digital data, emails, documents, books, and recordings.
You do not have the right to ask for the papers to be mailed to you in a specific format, for example, on a thumb drive. The government agency will determine what format will be sent or be open for your inspection.
Another note of importance is that government employees are prohibited by law from explaining or offering their opinion on the records you request.
How can a person access public records in Colorado?
To conduct public records search in Colorado, a person must submit a public records request. The request is sent via mail, email, or phone to the record-holding department.
Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you access records from multiple places.
In general, a public records request should include:
- Your name
- Contact information
- The name of the document
- Details about the document
- A time frame that you would like to receive the materials by
- Document delivery method, mail or email
Colorado Criminal Records
People may want to see someone’s criminal record for several different types of reasons.
The most common reason is employment as most employers require potential employees to agree to a background check before hiring.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation maintains criminal records in the state.
What’s on a Colorada criminal record?
Colorado criminal records contain the criminal’s name and aliases, charges against the subject, and a detailed physical description, including tattoos.
Other information on the record, besides a person’s criminal history, could include:
- Date of birth
- Current and past addresses
- Former arrest records
- Current and past warrants
- Sex offender status.
- The law enforcement agency that conducted the arrest, the police department, county sheriff, state police, etc.
Where can a person find Colorado criminal records?
You can access criminal records through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The price is search for $5 per search.
The record only includes crimes for which a person was fingerprinted, so minor violations like a traffic ticket will not be on the record.
Colorado inmate records
Colorado’s Department of Corrections maintains and stores all of the records on its inmates.
Colorado houses approximately 18,419 inmates at twenty-two state and two private prisons.
What’s on a Colorada inmate record?
As you look into an inmate’s record, expect to find various information depending on the county or region. There will be specific details about the inmate’s incarceration circumstances and possibly previous incarceration.
The records you receive will provide the following information:
- Personal information like a person’s name, birth date, and gender
- A mug shot
- Inmate location
- Inmate registration number
- Jail transfer information
- Custody status
Where can a person find Colorado inmate records?
The Colorado Department of Corrections website has details on finding an inmate and up-to-date information on policies. The policies can cover regulations for visitations or how to send money.
You need to know the first and last name of the inmate or the inmate’s six-character ID number to conduct an online search for an inmate
Colorado Court Records
Access has been granted to Colorado Public Records since 1969, which includes court documents. Court records fall into two categories: Civil and criminal court records.
Civil court examples are liability suits, nonpayment for goods, landlord vs. tenant issues, car accidents, and divorce proceedings. Bankruptcy is a civil court record.
Criminal case examples are robbery, dealing drugs, kidnapping, burglary, gambling, and violent crimes like murder and rape.
The Clerk of Courts Offices maintains court records in Colorada.
What’s on a Colorado court record?
You can request several types of court records from a court case. Court records are extensive, especially if the case took a long time to conclude.
You will find the following documents the most helpful:
- Court minutes examples can include estate settlements, licenses for businesses, tax and public building information, and land matters.
- Case files can contain copies of evidence, writs, testimony, and subpoenas
- Court dockets
- Orders of the court or the decision as decided by the judge
- Judgment documentation and when the case is closed
- Jury records and files
- Witness documentation
- Appointment of guardians
Where can a person find Colorado court records?
You can access some court records by using the Colorado State Archives database.
To access the records, you need to know a name, year, case type, case number, or the county the case was heard in.
If you wish to make a formal request, you will need to complete the Request Records by Mail Form and submit it by bail.
If the state archives do not have what you are looking for, you can request records from the state’s trial courts, county courts, district courts, appeals court, and the Colorado State Supreme Court.
You can contact the Colorado Judicial Branch for questions about court and jurisdiction.
Colorado Vital Records
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment maintains public vital records.
Colorado vital records include:
- Birth Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Marriage Licenses
- Divorce Decrees
Colorado vital records requests will be different depending on the document you are requesting.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive
S. Denver, CO 80246
Phone number: 303-691-774, 303-692-2329
What information do I need to request a Colorado birth certificate?
Your open records request for a Colorado birth record will include:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
Where can I find a Colorado birth certificate?
You can also request a form by phone.
What information do I need for a death certificate in Colorado?
The public death record form requires specific information:
- Full name of the deceased at birth
- Date of death
- Place of death
Where can I find a Colorado death record?
You can also request a form by phone.
Phone number: 866-300-8540
What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Colorado?
The public request for a marriage certificate will ask you for specific information:
- Both spouses’ full names before marriage
- Date of marriage
- Place of marriage
Where can I find an existing Colorado marriage record?
You will need to contact the Clerk and Recorder in the jurisdiction where the marriage license was issued.
What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Colorado?
The information on your public divorce records request will vary depending on the court and jurisdiction.
Where can I find a Colorado divorce record?
You will need to contact the County District Court where the dissolution of marriage was granted.
Example – El Paso County
El Paso County Clerk’s Office
212 N. Wahsatch Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Colorado Property Records
Colorado public property records are maintained by the County Assessor’s Office.
The information on a public property record will differ depending on what information you are attempting to obtain.
- Residential or commercial purpose
- Property deeds
- Property tax assessment records
- Zoning information
- Real estate information
What information do I need to request property records in Colorado?
Forms for Colorado public property records are different depending on the record and the County Assessor’s Office.
Where can I find a Colorado property record?
You will need to contact the County Assessor’s Office in the jurisdiction of the property record to inquire about specific forms, fees, and processes.
Example – County of Denver
County of Denver County Assessor Property Records Website
201 W Colfax Ave #406
Denver, CO 80202
Phone number: 720-913-4162
Can a request be submitted by non-residents in Colorado?
According to the Colorado Open Records Act, anyone can request a public record.
Whether you live in Denver or New York City, you can request a record. There is no state residency requirement.
Is there a records custodian in Colorado?
Colorado does not have a records custodian.
The custodian defaults to the director or head of the agency who has personal control and custody of the records which differs between governmental agencies.
What exemptions exist for public records in Colorado?
Records that would not be released to you are contrary to state or federal statutes. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court or by order of any court could cause an exemption.
Juvenile court records are exempt from public records requests in the state of Colorado.
How long does that state have to respond to a public records request?
The Colorado Secretary of State’s website says the Secretary of State’s office will make every effort to respond within three working days of a request. There may be a seven-day extension added to specific records.
If clarification is needed to complete your request, it will take longer for you to receive them. The records will be made available for 30 days in a public office if you are viewing them in person, and after that, the record will be closed again.
Is there an appeals process in place for public records request in Colorado?
Colorado does not have a process for an appeal. Once you are denied or do not receive the information you are seeking, litigation would be the only means to obtain this information.
What fees are associated with requesting public records request in Colorado?
Fees do apply to your request. The fees can vary and depend upon the time needed to locate and copy the records.
If it requires more than one hour for a staffer to find the files, redact personal information and copy them, an hourly fee of $30.00 can be charged.
If you have many pages to copy, the fees add up quickly. The agency requires an advance deposit before they begin the request. Once the request is completed, it must be paid for in full before the agency will conduct a records search for you.