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Idaho Public Records

Idaho Public Records  

Whether a person seeks public information to perform a background check for a job applicant, a potential renter, or a private investigation, knowing the Idaho laws that pertain to such matters is essential. Additionally, people have a legal right to obtain public in accordance with the Transparent Idaho policies enacted in 1990. The exact details of this law may be found in the relevant manual made available by the Idaho Attorney General’s office. It is always important to stay apprised of the various statutes when conducting a background check or request for public records.   

Idaho Public Records Laws

According to the Idaho Public Records Law Manual, the purpose of the public records law is to provide the public with access to records maintained by government agencies at the state and local levels. The definition of the term “public record” includes a broad assortment of information. This information includes (but may not be limited to) writing that comprises information that relates to public business that has been prepared, kept, owned, or utilized by a state or local agency, as well as by an independent – politic or corporate – public entity. Such writing might come in the form of a handwritten or typed document; it also might be viewed via computer media, punched or magnetic cards, maps, tapes, or pictures.

Records that are not covered by the public records law in Idaho would typically disclose sensitive information – these records include over 75 exemptions. The majority of these exemptions include (but are not limited to) specific information associated with law enforcement agencies, as well as juvenile records and records of investigation. They may also include documents that pertain to medical information, geographical details, employment or personnel data, financial information, and trade secrets.

Idaho Criminal Records, Arrest Records, and Background Checks

A repository of criminal history records is maintained by the Idaho State Police, Bureau of Criminal Identification, and it is this agency that issues official state background checks. Criminal history records can be searched at the agency’s website by fingerprint or name. The information available on a “rap sheet” may be accessed by the public – this information may include information regarding criminal charges, convictions, dispositions, and dismissals.  Also included in rap sheets is arrest information, such as the date of an arrest, the arresting agency, the case number, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, and the number of counts at the time the arrest takes place.

Idaho Jail and Inmate Records

In Idaho, jail and inmate records are made available through the Idaho Department of Correction website. The public may access details on people who are on parole or probation in Idaho, as well as information on incarcerated individuals. A list of the felonies for which a person is incarcerated should be available, and the names of those who have been incarcerated and completed their sentences should also be found there. However, conviction information for such people will not be available via the site.  To obtain such information via the site itself, a person can perform an on-site Offender Search. Another option is to go to the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) website, and click on Idaho in the dropdown box. Registration with the VINE website may be necessary in order to gain access to information there.  

Idaho Court Records   

Those who wish to get both local and state Idaho Court Records can obtain them from the state agency that administers such information. In Idaho, the administrator of the courts is the Idaho State Judiciary, which maintains the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository. The court records for one county in Idaho (Twin Falls County) must be accessed via a different resource: The iCourt site  (Idaho’s Court Records Transition Information Site).

Idaho Vital Records

People who require information on vital records will need to visit the website for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics has records of birth and death on file dating as far back as July of 1911. The same bureau has records of marriage and divorce dating as far back as May of 1947. In some counties, records pertaining only to those counties may date back even farther than the state records. In Idaho, birth certificates are considered legally confidential for 100 years, and stillbirth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates are considered the same for 50 years. To request vital records information, an individual or agency must fill out a certificate request form (found on the Health and Welfare website) or write a letter that includes all of the pertinent request information. A photocopy of required identification and a check or money order for the certificate fee must also be included with the request.

Gaining access to a wide range of public information is legal in Idaho. The public has the right to obtain many records maintained by state and local agencies. Knowing which records the public has access to can be helpful when conducting any kind of background check or private investigation.


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