Idaho Public Records
Idaho became an open-to-public state back in 1990, when leaders drafted the Idaho Public Records Act. This act gives citizens the right to access government records. The Idaho code was updated in 2005 to provide more specificity about open government.
Most states have some type of public records act on the books. However, each state’s law is a little different. To request public records, it’s important to know the ins and outs of the law to make the request process easier.
For those looking to access records in the state of Idaho, this guide will provide a quick summary of the law as well as resources to access criminal, inmate, court and vital records.
Table of Contents
- 1 What does the Idaho public records law say?
- 2 How can a person access a public record in Idaho?
- 3 Idaho criminal records
- 4 Idaho inmate records
- 5 Idaho court records
- 6 Idaho vital records
- 7 Frequently asked questions about Idaho records
What does the Idaho public records law say?
The Idaho Public Records Law is one of the newer Sunshine Laws in the United States and comes with strong government transparency. Every public agency, municipality, and all other government branches are subject to the law and must disclose documents pertaining to the public interest.
According to the state law, transparency must be a priority, and agencies could face a penalty amounting to thousands of dollars for withholding public information. Typically, agencies are given a minimum of three days to grant a records request and a maximum of 10 days.
While all government agencies are subject to the law, the state does have 92 exemptions. Most of the exemptions are common in other states too and include records that could invade personal privacy like records containing an individual’s medical and financial records, for example. Police records that could compromise the safety of the public and trade secrets are also off limits.
If a request is denied, the requester is given 180 days to appeal the decision. The court then takes another 28 days to hear the appeal, and if it gets denied, the requester has another 42 days to appeal again. The Idaho appeals process runs through district appellate court.
The appeal fees in Idaho must not exceed the actual labor cost and are specifically worded for clear enforcement.
For more information on the state’s law, visit Idaho.gov.
How can a person access a public record in Idaho?
Some records are online, others require a more formal request. For public records access that requires a form, it can be mailed or emailed to the record-holding department.
Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places.
In general, a public records request should include:
- Your name and contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address
- The name of the document you want access to with as much detail as possible
- A specific period that you’d like to receive the materials by
- How to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail
Due to COVID, some public offices may have limited hours of operation. As a result, online requests are best, but you should call ahead if you want to go in person.
Idaho criminal records
A criminal record contains the person’s criminal history and other criminal activities within the State’s jurisdiction. It also includes misconduct, misdemeanors and felonies along with the information of arrest, indictment and conviction.
What’s on a criminal record?
Typically, criminal records contain:
- The personal information of the criminal, including full name, alias, gender, birth, nationality and ethnicity
- Mugshot and all the fingerprints
- Other distinctive physical features
- List of offenses and misconducts
- History of arrests, indictment and pending suits
Various organizations receive these records, including county and state-run offices, law enforcement agencies, court and other correctional institutions.
Where can a person find Idaho criminal records?
- Resource: Idaho State Police
You can do background checks for non-criminal purposes such as employment screening and licenses. It’s fairly common. Each year, the organization checks 85,000 fingerprint cards and 32,000 name-based background checks.
Visit the Idaho State Police website to conduct the search. For fingerprint checks, you need to submit a complete set of ink rolled fingerprints on the card, submission form, payment authorization form, and cash payment.
The required fee is $20 for a fingerprint check and additional $1 for processing fee plus 3% transactional fee. You can make payment through cash, credit or debit card.
Idaho inmate records
Idaho inmate records hold various documents related to personal and administrative details of a prisoner held in correctional and detention institutes across Idaho. These records provide information similar to criminal records but also include imprisonment specifications.
What’s on an inmate record?
Typically, the available information on inmate record varies; the inmate records in Idaho contain the following details:
- Basic personal details such as name, age, gender and mugshot
- Inmate location
- Registration number,
- Jail transfer information
- Imprisonment status
The public can access information on criminals who are on parole or probate as well as incarcerated prisoners.
Where can a person find Idaho inmate records?
- Resource: Department of Correction
The Idaho Department of Correction website provides access to an online database of prisoners imprisoned in Idaho. The database provides information about the offenders who are under the IDOC jurisdiction and it also offers complete details of those on probation or parole.
You can also get information of the felonies the offender has committed. Click the resource link above to carry out the offender search by entering an inmate’s last name and IDOC number.
Another resource is the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) website. Designed to give regular updates to victims on a criminal’s custody status, the website can provide useful information for anyone looking to gather details on an inmate.
Idaho court records
Court records hold details of criminal and civil trials held in local, county, state and federal courts. However, the institution has the right to seal or expunge certain details on the record, especially if the victim or juvenile is at risk.
Court records are considered public records and can be accessed by the public.
What’s on a court record?
The information on court records can vary, but in Idaho, you can find the following information on court records:
- Personal and criminal details
- Details of the proceeding
- Case files
- Court Orders
- Documents on judge rulings
- Witness documents and evidence
- Jury records and files
Where can a person find Idaho court records?
- Resource: iCourt Portal
You can check the state’s iCourt Site to get court documents and information on a trial. You can search by case number or by name and find files for the district courts all the way up to the Idaho Supreme Court.
Members of the general public or media do not have to register on the site, but if you want extended access, registration is required.
If you can’t find the record you’re looking for, you can also access Idaho Court Records by visiting any local agency that regulates court proceedings and judgments, which includes courthouses and Idaho State Judiciary, to request for the documents in person.
The contact person should be a court or county clerk or someone in the clerk’s office. You may need to fill out a request form. Some courts may ask you to submit your request in writing.
Idaho vital records
Vital records are government records that mark milestones. Vital records include birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce certificates. They are made public to people who are already listed on those documents, such as family members.
What information is needed to request a vital record?
To request a vital record in Idaho, you need to provide all the information that assists the document’s search. These details include:
- Location of the life event (birth, death, marriage, or divorce)
- Full name, including maiden as well
- Casefile number for divorce record and registration number for a marriage record
- You may be asked for ID like a driver’s license
Where can a person find Idaho vital records?
- Resource: State Department of Health and Welfare
You can access these records on websites such as the State Department of Health and Welfare, where you can find:
- Birth certificates
- Death records and certificates
- Marriage records and certificates
- Divorce records
You’ll need to fill the request form or write a letter containing all the pertinent requirements, a photocopy of an ID and the certification fee is also required.
Frequently asked questions about Idaho records
You can find hundreds of documents on various state-run portals or by requesting records from specific state departments. To further assist your public records search, here are a few more details:
Can non-residents of the state submit a request?
Yes. Whether you live in Boise or Denver, you can request records in the state of Idaho.
Is there a records custodian in Idaho?
No. Each state department is responsible for maintaining and releasing records as requested.
What exemptions exist?
None of the state agencies or branches are exempt from the public records law. However, the state does have 92 exemptions. It includes individual’s medical and financial records, police records that could compromise public safety, investigative individuals, adn trade secrets.
How long does that state have to respond?
Typically, the state has to respond to a request within three days. However, if a state agency requires more time, it should send a written response within three days asking for more time. The agency can request a 10-day extension.
Is there an appeal process in place?
Processing an appeal for access to public records is exclusively run by the appellate court in Idaho. As a requester, you get 180 days to appeal a decision.
What fees are associated with requesting public records?
No agency can charge a fee more than that of the actual labor cost if the request is for more than 100 pages. Furthermore, the copying fee shouldn’t exceed direct labor costs and the third-party’s cost to copy the records. In addition, agencies can’t charge a requester if he has demonstrated that he can’t pay for the fee while the request is in the public interest.