South Dakota Public Records
Located in the Midwestern region of the United States, South Dakota is the 17th largest yet the 5th least populated state with just 853,000 residents. The Missouri River runs down the middle of the state, which creates two geographic and socially diverse regions. The state is known for both its Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, which are famous tourist destinations. The economy in South Dakota is heavily dependent on both ranching and defense spending, and the state has long made provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
South Dakota Public Records Laws
South Dakota’s Freedom of Information Act was first passed in 1939 and has been added to and amended many times since. It can be found in Chapter 27 of Title 1 of the South Dakota Codified Laws. The Law states that “any person” may request access to public records. However, it then limits access to inmates in the state by excluding many records that they can request. The purpose of the application generally doesn’t matter yet the law does prohibit the resale or redistribution of information obtained under the law.
Records that are covered under the law include all records from any public agency, including the executive branch. The legislative branch is not included. The courts are not excluded from the law, but they do have their own set of disclosure rules regarding court records. Records that you are not able to get under the law, or that are exempt, include:
- Trade secrets
- Medical records
- Personnel files
- Security information
- Criminal investigatory records
- Certain court records
- Tax information
- Library records
- Crime victim records
- Adoption records
South Dakota Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in South Dakota are administered by the state Division of Criminal Investigation. The department runs two types of background checks: State Only and State and FBI background checks. Both are fingerprint-based background checks and require the consent of the person being examined. Either of these is used for licensing, employment, housing, and government agency purposes.
South Dakota Jail and Inmate Records
To find out information about inmates in the South Dakota System, the state correctional facilities, or services for victims, you can visit the state Department of Corrections website. If you wish to locate an offender, there is a search page where you will be prompted to enter either a DOC# or a First and Last Name. You will be provided with the offender’s current location, a list of offenses, sentence, and earliest possible release date.
South Dakota Court Records
Any information on courts and court cases in the state of South Dakota can be found on its administrator of the courts website. The state has set up a system for various court records searches. If you wish to search for a civil case, you can do this yourself for a fee online. All other searches are either done through a request form with the Jackson County Clerk of the Court (for all courts), or you can approach the specific court where the case was heard with your records request.
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South Dakota Vital Records
Vital records, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates, in South Dakotaare administered by the state Department of Health Vital Records Office. To request a copy of any of these records, you must prove eligibility by either being the person listed on the record, a spouse, child, parent, guardian, next of kin, or authorized agent. The only exception is for birth records older than 100 years, which are public record and can be searched directly on their web page. All other records can be obtained in the following ways:
- In Person: You order in person at the State Office or go to any Register of Deeds.
- By Mail: Simply download and complete the proper form and return it with copies of required documentation to: Vital Records Office, 207 E. Missouri, Suite 1-A, Pierre, SD 57501.
- Online: Please your order and payment through VitalCheck.com.
The records that you are able to obtain via these methods will depend on the type of certificate that you are requesting.
Birth certificates are available from July 1, 1905 to present, and records can be obtained from either the State Office or a county Register of Deeds.
Death certificates are available from July 1, 1905 to present, and records can be obtained from either the State Office or a county Register of Deeds. However, with deaths before 1960, you can only get same day issuance at a local office.
Marriage certificates are available from July 1, 1905 to present, and records can be obtained from either the State Office or a county Register of Deeds. However, with marriages before 1950, you can only get same day issuance at a local office.
Divorce certificates are available from July 1, 1905 to present, and these must be obtained from the State Office.