Maryland Public Records
Finding public records can feel overwhelming at times. As you start digging, you may find that some records are harder to track down because different government departments keep them. In other cases, the records may not be available at all.
With records maintained in departments across the state, some are tough to find. In contrast, others are not as accessible to the general public.
However, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does give citizens the right to access records.
Every state has different processes, so it’s essential to know the state’s law before requesting any documents.
Table of Contents
- 1 What does the Maryland public records law say?
- 2 How can I access public records in Maryland?
- 3 Maryland Criminal Records
- 4 Maryland inmate records
- 5 Maryland Court Records
- 6 Maryland Vital Records Records
- 6.1 What information do I need to request a Maryland birth certificate?
- 6.2 Where can I find a Maryland birth certificate?
- 6.3 What information do I need for a death certificate in Maryland?
- 6.4 Where can I find a Maryland death record?
- 6.5 What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Maryland?
- 6.6 Where can I find an existing Maryland marriage record?
- 6.7 What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Maryland?
- 6.8 Where can I find a Maryland divorce record?
- 7 Maryland Property Records
- 8 FAQs
- 8.1 Can a request be submitted by non-residents of Maryland?
- 8.2 Is there a records custodian in Maryland?
- 8.3 What exemptions exist for public record requests in Maryland?
- 8.4 How long does Maryland have to respond to a public records request?
- 8.5 Is there an appeals process for public records requests in Maryland?
- 8.6 Are land records public in Maryland?
- 8.7 What fees are associated with requesting public records in Maryland?
What does the Maryland public records law say?
According to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, people have a broad right to access public records under the Maryland Public Information Act. However, the state does impose some limits to protect legitimate governmental interests and individual privacies.
The state has 30 days to respond to a request for the record. If a request is denied, there is an appeals process. A mediator or a court can hear the appeal.
The state does charge for copies of records, but the fees are reasonable.
To learn more about the state law, visit Maryland.gov.
How can I access public records in Maryland?
There are several ways to access public records in Maryland, and most can be done online to some degree with certifications sent via mail.
Although records are provided through various government organizations, with some guidance, you will be able to get information on criminal, court, inmate, and vital records with minimal effort, thanks to technology and the shift to online databases.
If you visit an office to request records, you will be asked to fill out a records request.
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
Maryland Criminal Records
It is common for employers or landlords to do background checks on applicants.
Suppose you are a private employer interested in initiating a background check on a potential employee. In that case, you must fill out a Private Party Petition Packet and submit it to the CJIS Authorization Administrator.
Suppose you work for an agency providing adult dependent care, child care, criminal justice, government employment/licensing, or public housing. You must use the Application to Receive Criminal History Record Information for Employment or Licensing Purposes instead.
Individuals who live in Maryland can go to any authorized fingerprinting services locations. The person whose criminal history will be checked will need to bring the fingerprint card supplied by the employer or licensing agency and have the employer’s or licensing agency’s authorization number.
What’s on a Maryland criminal record?
A criminal record—sometimes called a “rap sheet”—contains a collection of information collected from various departments and organizations, including police departments, sheriff’s offices, the courts, and correctional facilities in the state.
In Maryland, this official document can vary, but most will include:
- Date of birth
- Current and past addresses
- Former arrest records
- Current and past warrants
- Arrest report
- Domestic violence charges
Where can I find Maryland criminal records?
Unfortunately, all the Criminal Justice Information System Central Repository information is not available to the public without proper authorization.
Individuals can obtain criminal records through various sources in the state: the courts, police departments, and, in the case of sex offenders, the Maryland Sex Offender Registry.
Start with the Maryland Judiciary Case Search site and search by the defendant’s name for court records. Criminal records include felony and certain misdemeanor charges filed by the Grand Jury or the State’s Attorney, appeals from the District Court, and requests for jury trials.
Once you find a case, you can obtain additional information from the courthouse where the case record is on file. Depending on the county, some of the criminal records go back to 1979. Records can remain on the site indefinitely and are only removed for expungements or other court-ordered reasons.
You can also check your county corrections website, as some, like dataMontgomery, provide the public with arrest information compiled by “CRIMS,” a jail records-management system used by Montgomery County Corrections and many other law enforcement agencies. The CRIMs dataset includes the person’s first, middle, and last name, age, city, and home address down to the 100 blocks. Although all arrested persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, you may get insight into potential criminal activity.cks.
Maryland inmate records
Maryland’s Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services operates 19 institutions, including several pretrial facilities.
What’s on a Maryland inmate record?
Maryland law allows the sharing of information regarding whether someone is in custody and their commitment number and mailing address while in custody.
With nothing more than a first and last name, you can get matching results that show inmates’ birthdays, DOC IDs, holding facilities, and SIDs. The SID can be used for inmate funds transactions.
Public access to inmate records can provide the following information:
- Name and aliases
- Date of Birth
- Social security number
- Height and weight
- DOC ID
- Booking photo
- Assigned location
- Sentence summary
Where can I find Maryland inmate records?
Although the information is not available on everyone in the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, it does share data on most of the offenders housed at:
- Division of Correction facilities
- Patuxent Institution
- Division of Pretrial and Detention Services facilities (for some short-sentenced offenders)
Inmates who are not in custody anymore are not listed.
Maryland Court Records
Although some records—such as adoption cases and juvenile cases—are exempt from the Maryland Public Information Act, anyone can request court records in the state.
It is important to remember that court records and court documents can be some of the most challenging records to procure since they are usually held across several courts in Maryland.
What’s on a court record?
An online search through the state’s case search site provides the same information provided through court clerks’ offices, including:
- Names of parties
- City and state
- Case number
- Date of birth
- Trial date
- Court orders
- Case disposition
- Criminal cases
- Civil Cases
How do I find Maryland court records?
Additional information on a specific case can be obtained at the court system where the case record is on file.
You need to speak with the clerk of court. Although the clerk’s office can’t accept telephone requests, you can put your request in writing. Not sure where to start? The Maryland courts are divided up as follows:
- Appellate Courts: These are divided into 7 circuits.
- Circuit Courts: These are divided into 8 circuits.
- District Court: There are 34 locations.
- Orphans’ Court: There is one in each of the 23 counties and Baltimore City.
- Court of Appeals.
Maryland Vital Records Records
The Maryland State Archives maintains public vital records in the state.
Maryland public vital records include:
- Birth Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Marriage Licenses
- Divorce Decrees
Maryland vital records requests will be different depending on the document you are requesting.
Division of Vital Records Department of Health
6764-B Reisterstown Road
P.O. Box 68760
Baltimore, MD 21215-2306
Phone number: 410-764-3038
What information do I need to request a Maryland birth certificate?
The Application for a Certified Copy of Maryland Birth Record will require specific details.
- Name at birth
- Date of birth
- Current age
- Place of birth
- Certificate number
- Parents’ full name before marriage
Where can I find a Maryland birth certificate?
You can request a birth record online using VitalChek or by completing the Application for Certified Copy of Maryland Birth Record and submitting it in person or by mail.
The cost for a certified birth certificate in Maryland is $10 per copy.
What information do I need for a death certificate in Maryland?
The Application for a Certified Copy of Maryland Death Record will require specific details.
- Full name on the death certificate
- Date of death
- Age at death
- Place of death
- Reason for requesting the certificate
Where can I find a Maryland death record?
You can request a Maryland death record online using VitalChek or by completing the Application for Certified Copy of Maryland Death Record and submitting it in person or by mail.
The cost for a certified death certificate in Maryland is $10, an additional $12 per copy.
What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Maryland?
The Clerk of Circuit Court maintains marriage records in Maryland, except for Baltimore City.
The Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of Baltimore City handles marriage certificate requests in that jurisdiction.
You will need to contact the Clerk in your jurisdiction to inquire about fees, processes, and office hours.
Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of Baltimore City
100 N Calvert St
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone number: 410-333-3733
Where can I find an existing Maryland marriage record?
If you live in the City of Baltimore, you will need to contact the Clerk of Court of Common Pleas to access a marriage record.
All other marriage record requests go through your local Clerk of Circuit Court.
What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Maryland?
You will contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county or city where the dissolution of marriage was granted.
Where can I find a Maryland divorce record?
You will need to contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court where the divorce decree was issued.
Example – Anne Arundel County
8 Church Cir
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone number: 410-222-1397
Maryland Property Records
The Land Records Department maintains public property records in Maryland.
The property records you can access include:
- Property deeds
- Property tax assessment records
- Zoning information
What information do I need to request property records in Maryland?
Public property record requests vary depending on the Maryland county you are making the request.
Contact your Land Recorder’s Office to inquire about forms, fees, and office hours.
Where can I find a Maryland property record?
You will contact the Department of Land Records to access public property records in Maryland.
Example – Prince George’s County Recorder
Prince George’s County Recorder website
Judicial Administrative Services
14701 Gov. Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Phone number: 301-780-2253
Can a request be submitted by non-residents of Maryland?
Maryland records are accessible to anyone; being a citizen of the state or the United States is not required.
Some records are limited by the requestor’s relationship with the person of record, like marriage licenses or death certificates.
There are instances in which you may be able to appeal and seek legal representation to obtain records.
Is there a records custodian in Maryland?
The Maryland Attorney General’s website provides a detailed list of Public Information Act representatives.
What exemptions exist for public record requests in Maryland?
The Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services lists several exemptions to the Public Information Act.
These include inmate case records, personnel, and medical records, financial information, records containing attorney-client advice and attorney work product, investigatory records, and inter-and intra-agency memoranda and letters, among others.
How long does Maryland have to respond to a public records request?
According to the Maryland Public Records Guide, the state government agency has 30 days to respond.
However, agencies are expected to produce the records promptly whenever possible.
Is there an appeals process for public records requests in Maryland?
The state of Maryland says appeals can be made to the court, a mediator, or through a board.
Are land records public in Maryland?
The Maryland State Archives has records accessible online.
What fees are associated with requesting public records in Maryland?
Depending on the agency supplying the record, fees can vary. Vital records are currently $10 for birth and death certificates and $12 for marriage and divorce certificates.
Although agencies can charge “reasonable fees” to cover their costs, fee waivers are available when the record is of public interest.