Missouri Public Records
There are various reasons someone might want to access public records in Missouri ranging from tracing their family tree to locating an inmate and everything in between.
As you may have found, searching—or finding—public records is not always accessible. Sometimes, the information you want is handled by different departments or, due to exclusions, is not available to the public.
In many cases, public records can be found online and accessed.
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 Missouri public records law say?
- 2 How can I access public records in Missouri?
- 3 Missouri Criminal Records
- 4 Missouri Inmate Records
- 5 Missouri Court Records
- 6 Missouri Vital Records
- 6.1 What information do I need to request a Missouri birth certificate?
- 6.2 Where can I find a Missouri birth certificate?
- 6.3 What information do I need for a death certificate in Missouri?
- 6.4 Where can I find a Missouri death record?
- 6.5 What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Missouri?
- 6.6 Where can I find an existing Missouri marriage record?
- 6.7 What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Missouri?
- 6.8 Where can I find a Missouri divorce record?
- 7 Missouri Property Records
- 8 FAQs
- 8.1 Can a request be submitted by non-residents of Missouri?
- 8.2 Is there a records custodian in Missouri?
- 8.3 What exemptions exist for public records requests in Missouri?
- 8.4 How long does Missouri have to respond?
- 8.5 Are property records public in Missouri?
- 8.6 Is there an appeals process for public records requests in Missouri?
- 8.7 What fees are associated with requesting public records in Missouri?
What does the Missouri public records law say?
The Missouri Sunshine Law is the state’s public records law. It aims for transparency from public agencies and provides relatively few exemptions (compared to other states) to your right to access public records.
After the Freedom of Information Act was passed, Missouri became one of the first states to create its own open records act.
The Missouri Sunshine Law requires that “meetings, records, votes, action, and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public.” Anyone can request documents, and you are not required to explain why you want them.
How can I access public records in Missouri?
In some cases, Missouri requires a person to 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 in processes and price, especially when accessing documents from multiple governmental agencies.
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
Missouri Criminal Records
Of all the states to help you find criminal records, Missouri is one of the best in terms of accessibility, ease, and cost.
Whether you are an employer needing to do a background check on a potential employee or just checking to ensure that a creepy volunteer at your school’s bake sale does not have a criminal history, you have options to do some basic research.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol maintains criminal records in the state.
What’s on a Missouri criminal record?
Sometimes called a “rap sheet,” a criminal record summarizes someone’s criminal history. These records are prepared by state and local law enforcement agencies, detention facilities, and courts.
In Missouri, the document will list the person’s interactions with the law, and the following information will be provided to you:
- Date of birth
- Current and past addresses
- Former arrest records
- Current and past warrants
- Arrest report
- Department of arrest, police department, county sheriff, state police, etc.
Where can I find Missouri criminal records?
The Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) serves as the custodian of criminal history information for the state. The Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) provides two portals: one for searching criminal history by name and one for searching by fingerprint.
The name-based search can help anyone find public records. It is less formal (and less accurate) than a fingerprint check
However, it will provide you with information on any or all of the following:
- Arrests within 30 days
- pending charges
- Suspended imposition of sentences during probation
- Sex offender registry status
The State of Missouri’s fingerprinting services vendor is IDEMIA, which operates IdentoGO centers throughout the state.
Anyone needing to be fingerprinted for a State or FBI criminal background check must provide a registration number from their employer or licensing agency.
Fingerprint-based background checks are considered proof of identity.
Although results vary based on the purpose of a background search via fingerprint, results may include open records, closed records, and FBI information.
A name-based search is $14 plus any additional processing fees. For an additional $2, you can get a document notarized.
Missouri Inmate Records
The Missouri Department of Corrections supervises 27,000 people in 22 institutional facilities and another 62,000 who are on probation and parole.
What’s on a Missouri inmate record?
You can obtain information on any Missouri inmate who is currently incarcerated, under post-incarceration supervision, or who has been discharged from a sentence. However, you cannot use the state’s database to get information on inmates sent to Missouri under the provisions of the interstate compact agreement. Public information on inmates includes:
- Name and aliases
- Date of Birth
- Social security number
- Height and weight
- DOC ID
- Booking photo
- Assigned location
- Sentence summary
- Mental health status
Where can I find Missouri inmate records?
You will search the Missouri Department of Corrections Offender Search for offenders under its supervision.
The portal lets you search by Department of Corrections (DOC) ID or first/last name.
Missouri Court Records
You can request several types of court records from various judicial branches.
Individual courts maintain their own public court records.
What’s on a Missouri court record?
Court records are long and detailed, and they have different information.
Most people find the following documents the most helpful:
- Court minutes
- Case information
- Case number
- Orders of the court
- Judgment documentation
- Jury records and files
Where can I find Missouri court records?
You can access Missouri court records by accessing Missouri Court Records.
You may not find every court record you are searching for. However, you can contact the court where the case occurred to request the documents.
Missouri Vital Records
The Bureau of Vital Records and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services maintain public vital records in the state.
Missouri public vital records include:
- Birth Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Marriage Licenses
- Divorce Decrees
Missouri vital records requests are different depending on the document you are requesting.
Bureau of Vital Records
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Phone number: (573) 751-6387
What information do I need to request a Missouri birth certificate?
The Application for Missouri Vital Records will require specific details.
- Full name on the birth certificate
- Also known as
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Hospital the birth took place
- Full name of both parents
Where can I find a Missouri birth certificate?
You can also contact your local Public Agency to request a certified copy of a birth certificate.
The cost for a certified birth certificate in Missouri is $15 per copy.
What information do I need for a death certificate in Missouri?
The Application for Missouri Vital Records will require specific details.
- Full name on the death certificate
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Place of death
- Full name of spouse
- Parents’ full name before marriage
Where can I find a Missouri death record?
You can also contact your local Public Agency to request a certified copy of a certified death certificate.
The price for a certified death record is $14, and $11 for every additional copy.
What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Missouri?
The Application for Missouri Vital Records – Marriage requires specific information:
- Spouses’ name before marriage.
- Date of marriage.
- The Missouri county the license was issued.
The Recorder of Deeds maintains marriage records in Missouri.
Where can I find an existing Missouri marriage record?
What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Missouri?
The Application for Missouri Vital Records – Divorce requires specific information:
- Spouses’ name before marriage
- Date of divorce
- Place the divorce decree was issued
The Circuit Court Clerk maintains death records in Missouri.
Where can I find a Missouri divorce record?
Missouri Property Records
The Recorder of Deeds Office maintains property records in Missouri.
The property records you can access include:
- Property deeds
- Property tax assessment records
- Zoning information
- Land court and tax appeal court details.
What information do I need to request property records in Missouri?
Public property request forms will vary when it comes to forms, fees, and processes.
Where can I find a Missouri property record?
You will contact your local Circuit Court to access public property records.
Example – Clay County
Clay County Recorder of Deeds
1 Courthouse Sq.
Liberty, MO 64068
Can a request be submitted by non-residents of Missouri?
Whether you live in St. Louis, Kansas City, or New York City, you can request records in Missouri.
While many records are open to the general public, some vital records limit who can request certificates based on their purpose or relationship to the record-holder.
Is there a records custodian in Missouri?
According to the Missouri Secretary of State, each one of the government agencies appoints its custodian.
What exemptions exist for public records requests in Missouri?
You can access a full list of public records exemptions in Missouri.
How long does Missouri have to respond?
The Missouri Sunshine Law gives the state three days to respond to a request.
Are property records public in Missouri?
You can access real estate records through the Recorder of Deeds in your county. In some counties, the Recorder of Deeds offers public records search like this one in Jackson County.
Is there an appeals process for public records requests in Missouri?
According to the Sunshine Law, you can sue a public body within one year of being denied access to a public record.
You would contact the Missouri Attorney General and report a denied public records request.
What fees are associated with requesting public records in Missouri?
A public body may charge $.10/page for copies and possibly research time or the hourly rate to pay clerical staff for their time.