New Mexico Public Records
Table of Contents
New Mexico Public Records Laws
All public records in the state are managed by the New Mexico Commission of Public Records, based out of the State Records Center and Archives in Santa Fe.
Under the Inspection of Public Records Act, nearly every public record in the state is available for viewing and copying by the general public. The only exceptions are medical records of persons residing in institutions, letters of reference, letters of opinion in student or employee files, law enforcement records that reveal confidential sources, trade secrets and tactical response plans for emergencies such as terrorist attacks.
Each state and local governmental agency has a records custodian to whom requests for records are directed. If the records cannot be made available within 15 business days, the requester must be provided with a written explanation as to why. Fees are set at 25 cents per page, $2.75 for audio tapes and $6.75 for DVDs.
New Mexico Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety is responsible for handling official state background checks. Arrest records are maintained by the New Mexico State Central Repository for Criminal History.
Individuals can obtain their own criminal records by completing an authorization for the release of information and submitting it to the Department of Public Safety. The only third parties that can access full criminal records are law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.
New Mexico rarely allows criminal records to be expunged. It can only be done if the arrest was for a misdemeanor or lesser charge and no record of disposition can be found. Convictions cannot be expunged, but DNA records can be removed from the state database under certain circumstances — if the conviction was reversed, if a felony charge was not brought within one year of the arrest or if felony charges were dropped or resolved after completion of a a preprosecution diversion program.
New Mexico Jail and Inmate Records
The New Mexico Corrections Department maintains an online “Offender Search” tool that can be used by the general public. Offenders who are incarcerated in state facilities can be searched for by last and first name, offender number or NMCD number. Information available to the general public is limited to a mugshot, full name, age, sex, location and dates of incarceration and release.
The individual counties maintain records of the inmates incarcerated in county and city facilities, and many of them have their own similar online search tools.
New Mexico Court Records
Court records are centrally managed by the state through the New Mexico Judicial Branch. The Judicial Branch maintains an online search tool at its website that can be used by the general public. Records are also available in person from the court clerk of each judicial court. A small fee is usually charged for reproduction of each type of record.
Cases filed in county probate courts can be accessed by visiting each court in person. At this time, Bernallilo County is the only county that maintains an online search tool for probate court cases.
New Mexico Vital Records
The New Mexico Department of Health is responsible for maintaining and issuing birth and death records. The department also issues “Acknowledgment of Paternity” requests and maintains a putative father registry. Copies of marriage licenses and divorce decrees must be obtained from the original county of issue.
The Department of Health does not have cutoff dates before which records are not available, but very old records are not necessarily guaranteed to be available. Birth certificates become a matter of public record 100 years after the date that they are issued. Death certificates become a matter of public record 50 years after the date of death. There is a search fee of $10 per record for birth certificates and $5 per record for death certificates.