Louisiana Public Records
Trying to find the public records you need in any state can be difficult as it isn’t usually a streamlined process. WIth records maintained in departments across the state, some are very hard to find, while others aren’t as accessible to the general public.
The public records law in Louisiana applies to all branches of state government, nonprofit corporations, and includes all public documents. Louisiana laws do have a few unique clauses to it, one of which applies to its vital records. In the state, birth and death records become public records 100 years after the date filed and become available in the state archives.
Everyone has access to public records and no stated purpose is necessary.
To help people understand how to access records as a United States. citizen, we have compiled this state-specific guide. By using this, people will better understand state law and be able to access criminal, inmate, court, and vital records.
Table of Contents
- 1 What does the Louisiana public records law say?
- 2 How can a person access public records in Louisiana?
- 3 Louisiana criminal records
- 4 Louisiana inmate records
- 5 Louisiana court records
- 6 Louisiana vital records
- 7 Frequently asked questions about Louisiana records
What does the Louisiana public records law say?
The Louisiana Public Records Act, also known as the state’s Sunshine Law first defines what constitutes as public records (which includes books, records, writings, photographs, microfilm, and more) aside from those that have been exempted by the Constitution of Louisiana.
In three days or less, a public official must respond to requesters, no matter what the state of the process is. Within five days of submitting a request, it is possible to initiate legal proceedings if a request is ignored or denied. But in the state of Louisiana, there is no formal appeals process like seeking an attorney general opinion.
Under the authority of the constitution, exemptions to these include, pending criminal litigation, juvenile status offenders, sexual assault victims, security procedures, trade secrets, and some public employee data. Legislative records in Louisiana are covered by the law, with the Louisiana Revised Statutes covering the details.
How can a person access public records in Louisiana?
Some public records can be accessed in Louisiana online while others will require a physical form to be submitted. If a request is necessary, it can be sent via mail, email, or by phone to the record-holding department.
Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places.
General public records requests can be sent to the secretary of state.
In general, such 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 time period that you’d like to receive the materials by
- How to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail
Due to COVID-19, some public offices may have limited hours of operation. As a result, online requests are best, but if you want to go in person you should call ahead.
Louisiana criminal records
In the state of Louisiana, criminal records are typically accessed by employers that want to check the backgrounds of any potential employee. In order to assist employees in finding criminal records, we have provided some useful information and resources below.
What’s on a criminal record?
A criminal record provides a detailed record of a person’s interactions with law enforcement. These records are pulled from various sources and include arrest records, convictions, and incarcerations within the state’s four prisons.
More specifically, a criminal record or a background check will provide the following information:
- Personal information like a person’s name, birthday, nationality, etc.
- A mugshot and full set of fingerprints
- A list of distinguishing features like tattoos and other physical attributes
- The type of offense (misdemeanor or felony) and description of the crime
Where can a person find Louisiana criminal records?
The mission of the state is to maintain a thorough, up-to-date, comprehensive arrest and disposition information for arrested individuals and to make it accessible to all criminal justice agencies.
Louisiana maintains information on criminal records, with the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information directly in charge of administration. The Louisiana Computerized Criminal History system (LACCH) contains arrest, disposition, and incarceration data on individuals that have been arrested in the state of Louisiana. This system also contains data on individuals that have applied for certain positions requiring a fingerprint-based background check.
The majority of background checks done within the state require a signed authorization from the person being checked – you cannot run a check on another person as a private citizen. Employers, school districts, and licensing agencies have many options for requesting a background check. They can fill out a form with a signed authorization and fingerprint card and send it to the Bureau of Identification and Information.
There is also an online background check portal that provides name-based background reports only. Either of these options will return arrest and conviction information.
Louisiana inmate records
Inmate records in Louisiana consist of offenders that are held in state prisons, correctional inmate facilities, parish jails, and other penal institutions. They may also include information on sentencing, the class of the offense, the parish where the case was tried, and the facility location of the inmate.
What’s on an inmate record?
The information listed on an inmate record varies, but in Louisiana the records usually contain a combination of personal information and specific details about a person’s incarceration situation. Public access to inmate records can provide the following information when accessed:
- Personal information like a person’s name, birthdate, and gender
- A mug shot
- Inmate location
- Inmate registration number
- Jail transfer information
- Custody status
Where can a person find Louisiana inmate records?
- Resource: Louisiana Louisiana Department of Corrections
Through the Louisiana Department of Corrections, users are able to search for information on offenders within the Louisiana system. There are two ways to locate offenders in Louisiana – calling the Imprisoned Person Locator automated number (225-383-4580) that allows users to enter the offender’s DOC Number and get their current status. It is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Alternatively, you can go to www.Vinelink.com and do an online search where you will be given the offenders present location, a list of all convictions, and their earliest possible release date.
Louisiana court records
Court records in Louisiana provide a wealth of information produced from court proceedings. For people that are searching for court records, there are resources listed below. It’s important to remember that court records can be some of the most difficult records to procure since they are usually held across several courts in the state of Louisiana.
What’s on a court record?
In the majority of cases, court records are quite large and come with several varying documents. Most people find these documents the most helpful:
- Court minutes
- Case files
- Orders of the court
- Judgement documentation
- Jury records and files
- Witness documentation
Where can a person find Louisiana court records?
- Resource: Louisiana Court System
Requesting court records in Louisiana is a bit difficult. Some courts have online portals while others don’t. To start your search, research the court where the case was heard online. Your research should tell you if the court offers online records.
If you can’t find records online, visit or call the courthouse and speak with the clerk of courts to request records. Usually, district court records are found this way.
Louisiana Supreme Court records are available online and physically held at the Division of Archives, Records Management, and History.
Louisiana vital records
Louisiana, like most states, has an office that maintains its vital records. Vital records are kept for birth records, marriage records, and death records.
What information is needed to request a vital record?
A request for information can be done via Louisiana’s State Registrar & Vital Records site, where interested parties can provide relevant information about a specific record. This information may include:
- The location of the event
- The approximate date of the event
- The full name of the person, including maiden names
- A case file number for divorce records
- The license number for a marriage record
Where can a person find Louisiana vital records?
Birth and death certificates in Louisiana are administered by the State Registrar & Vital Records, a division of the state’s Department of Health & Hospitals.
Birth certificates are available for the last 100 years and death certificates the last 50 years. For either request, you must prove the right to the certificate, such as being a relative of the individual or a legal representative.
There are a few ways to apply for a birth or death certificate in Louisiana, either in-person at the Vital Records Central office or by requesting certified copies online.
To obtain a record, you’ll need to present photo identification and pay corresponding fees. Walk-in services accept cash, cashier’s check, money order, or a credit/debit card as forms of payment.
Another option is to complete a request along with photo ID and accompanying fees to the PO Box for Louisiana’s Vital Records Registry. Note that at this time, because of COVID-19, in-person requests are not available.
Frequently asked questions about Louisiana records
To further assist Louisiana citizens in their pursuit for public records, here’s a list of commonly asked questions:
Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?
Yes. Whether you live in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or Miami, you can request records from the state. The law does state, however, that a person of the age of 18 or older must submit the request.
Is there a records custodian in Louisiana?
No, there is no designated records custodian for the state of Louisiana. However, the law says that the head of any public body can respond to records requests.
What exemptions exist?
The legislative records in Louisiana are covered by the law, but many are classified as exempt via court ruling or statute.
How long does that state have to respond?
The state agency is expected to respond within 3 days of a request, no matter whether the process is ongoing or not.
Is there an appeals process in place?
Five days after submitting a request, there is the option to initiate legal proceedings. Unlike other states that have an administrative appeals process that goes through the attorney general, Louisiana has no such process.
What fees are associated with requesting public records?
The agency that handles the request can only charge fees for situations in which the requester asks to search records outside of regular business hours. Then, a reasonable fee may be applicable.