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Colorado Public Records

The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), under Article 72 of Title 24, defines public records as any kind of written communication detailing information pertinent to the carrying out of public functions, held by state or local government bodies. “Written communication” here refers to any documents that include “letters, figures, pictures, sounds, symbols, or any combination thereof.”

How to request Colorado Public Records?

The most straightforward approach to accessing a public record is to directly reach out to the state or local agency responsible. Alternatively, you can obtain access through private entities, granted the records are public.

Table of Contents

To request Colorado public records, follow these steps:

Where to find Public Records in Colorado

Depending on the type of record you seek, there are various places to find public records in Colorado, including:

Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce):

These can be requested from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's website. They can be requested online, via mail, or in person at the local County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Property Records:

Usually, these are available at the County Clerk and Recorder's Office in the county where the property resides. Some counties offer online access to these records. You can access a list of counties and their websites here: https://coloradopublicrecords.org/property-records/

Business Records:

The Colorado Secretary of State's website provides access to these records, including an online business search feature to look up entities registered within the state.

Court Records:

You can find these on the Colorado Judicial Branch's website for the respective district where the case was filed. Each district might have different regulations and online systems.

Driving Records:

The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) manages these records. They can be requested online, via mail, or in person. Website.

Professional Licenses

The Department of Regulatory Agencies' website allows you to verify a professional's license in Colorado.

Colorado State Archives:

For older or historical records, you can search the Colorado State Archives. Website.

Are Colorado Public Records Available Online?

Yes, you can access Colorado public records online. The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) grants you the right to access public information maintained by local and state government agencies.

Numerous government departments offer online portals or databases where you can search for and access various types of public records. The availability of specific records online may vary, depending on the agency and the type of information sought.

State Public Records Law

The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) regulates public access to state public records in Colorado. With specific exceptions and restrictions, CORA aims to foster transparency and hold governmental entities accountable by granting individuals the right to access public records.

Here are some key facets of the Colorado Open Records Act:

Which records are public in Colorado

Which records are not public in Colorado

In Colorado, certain records are not open to the public due to concerns about privacy and specific legal limitations. The following records are typically not publicly accessible in the state:

Colorado Background Checks

Background screenings in Colorado are comprehensive evaluations aimed at gathering an individual’s historical information. These checks assist in determining a person’s suitability for various roles, including employment, tenancy, or partnerships. Common types of screenings in Colorado encompass criminal history checks, employment background checks, verification of education and qualifications, credit reports, and reference checks. The depth and breadth of these checks often vary based on the specific requirements of the inquiry.

Colorado enforces strict laws and regulations, like the Colorado Consumer Credit Reporting Act (CCCRA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), to ensure individuals’ privacy rights are maintained during background checks. These laws provide guidelines on how personal information should be collected, used, and disseminated in the background check process.

Adherence to legal and ethical standards is crucial when conducting background checks in Colorado. This process includes obtaining valid consent from the individuals under review, ensuring data privacy and confidentiality, and allowing individuals the chance to review and contest any inaccurate details found in their background reports.

What Can Be Included In a Background Check Report?

Criminal Records

This section may include state and federal level convictions, any jail time, sexual offenses, traffic violations, and any mention of the individual being listed on a national watch list for possible terrorism.

Social Security/Citizenship Verification

It's crucial to validate a potential candidate's social security number, any aliases they might use, and their legal U.S. citizenship status.

Sex Offender Registry

Legally, sex offenders are required to register in their area of residence.

Terrorism Watch List

Post 9/11, the government maintains a list of individuals with known or suspected ties to terrorism. This information may also be included in the report.

Driving Records

If an individual's role involves driving, it's important to verify they maintain a clean driving record. This includes checking for excessive DUIs or a history of reckless driving.

Education Transcripts

As people may exaggerate their qualifications on applications and resumes, verifying school transcripts can provide an accurate picture of academic performance and earned degrees.

Credit Report

A simple credit report can show how an individual manages their finances.

Colorado Court Records

Overview of the Colorado court system and its Structure

The judicial system in Colorado is a multilayered framework, encompassing several types of courts at different levels, each handling distinct kinds of cases. Here’s a breakdown of the Colorado judicial structure:

  • Colorado Supreme Court: This is the highest court in Colorado that takes up appeals from lower courts. It has the authority to interpret state laws and the Colorado Constitution.
  • Colorado Court of Appeals: Colorado is divided into 22 judicial districts, each possessing a Court of Appeals. As intermediate appellate courts, they hear appeals from trial courts in their corresponding districts.
  • District Courts: In Colorado, District Courts act as trial courts of general jurisdiction, handling a wide range of civil, criminal, and family law cases.
  • Specialized Courts: Colorado also operates specialized courts that concentrate on certain types of cases or specific demographics. These include family courts, probate courts, juvenile courts, drug courts, mental health courts, and veterans courts.
  • Limited Jurisdiction Courts: These courts handle less complicated cases with lower monetary limits or specific subject matters. They include small claims courts, traffic courts, municipal courts (in some jurisdictions), and various administrative courts.

Every court within the Colorado judicial system adheres to its unique set of rules and procedures while abiding by state laws and regulations. The primary aim of the Colorado judicial system is to ensure a fair and effective resolution of legal disputes, promote access to justice, and uphold the principles of due process and the rule of law.

Types of Colorado Court Records

Civil Court Records​

Criminal Court

Family Court Records​

Probate Court Records​

Traffic Court Records​

Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality

Court records in Colorado are subject to specific restrictions and confidentiality provisions to protect sensitive information and maintain individual privacy.

Sealed records that contain confidential or private information are not available to the public unless a court order permits their unsealing due to a compelling reason. Juvenile court records, which concern minors involved in legal proceedings, are confidential and accessible only to authorized individuals and relevant government entities. Records related to mental health and probate matters are also often restricted, with court orders typically required for access to maintain privacy. Courts employ strategies to secure confidential data within records by redacting sensitive personal details. Certain records that include trade secrets, proprietary details, or sensitive information can be shielded from public view, with courts authorized to limit or redact specific sections to prevent misuse or harm.

In Colorado, the management of court records is performed at the county level, with the Superior Courts of each of the 58 counties operating under the structure of state laws and regulations.

What do these records contain

Courts in Colorado

Colorado Public Vital Records

Marriage and Divorce Records: In Colorado, marriage certificates can typically be obtained from the county Clerk and Recorder’s Office in which the marriage took place, while divorce decrees are available from the District Court where the divorce was granted.

Birth and Death Records: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) – Vital Records Division serves as the central repository for all public vital records in the state, including birth, death, and fetal death certificates.
In Colorado, copies of vital records can be classified as either certified or uncertified.

Certified vital records are those requested by the individual named on the record, immediate family members, or other legally authorized representatives, such as attorneys or government officials requiring the records for official purposes.

Uncertified vital records are issued when a certified copy cannot be obtained under Colorado law. These uncertified records contain the same information but are stamped to indicate they are not valid for legal purposes and are for informational use only.

Vital records can be requested in Colorado via online platforms, mail, or in-person. The following fees apply for each record request:

Birth certificates$20.00
Marriage certificatesState Health Department does not provide certified copies. However, there is a fee of $17.00 for index verification.
Divorce certificatesState Health Department does not provide certified copies. However, there is a fee of $17.00 for index verification.
Death certificates$20.00. Additional copies are $13.

Colorado Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of Criminal Records in Colorado

Criminal records in Colorado are official documents that detail an individual’s criminal activity within the state. They provide a thorough account of an individual’s encounters with the criminal justice system. Criminal records in Colorado can encompass various records like arrest records, court records, conviction records, sentencing reports, and information on probation or parole.

Information Included in Criminal Records

Criminal records in Colorado typically encompass the following details:

  • Personal Identification Details: This part of the record includes personal details about the individual such as their full name, aliases or nicknames, date of birth, and occasionally their residential address.
  • Arrest Records and Charges: These records outline specifics of the arrest, including the date and location of the arrest, the law enforcement agency involved, and the specific charges leveled against the individual.
  • Court Case Information and Outcomes: This section provides information related to the legal proceedings of the case, including the name of the court, case number, case status, and critical dates like arraignment, pretrial hearings, and the results of the trial.
  • Convictions and Sentencing Details: If the individual was found guilty, the record will detail the conviction(s) and the precise charges for which they were convicted. It may also include details about the sentence, such as fines, probation, community service, or imprisonment.
  • Probation or Parole Status: If the individual is currently under probation or parole, the record may provide information about the conditions and terms of their supervision.

Police Records and Reports

Public access to police reports is restricted, but the Colorado Public Records Act (CPRA) mandates the release of certain information upon request. This includes the arrestee's name, filed charges, and factual descriptions of the incident, such as the crime, presence of weapons, injuries, and property damage. Contact the arresting agency to request police reports, as a comprehensive list of Colorado police agencies is maintained by the State of Colorado Law Enforcement Agencies. Some details, like victim information and potential risks to the public or the agency, are not disclosed. Accessing police records may require a formal Freedom of Information Act request.

Booking Records and Reports

Booking records, also known as arrest records or booking logs, are created when someone is taken into custody. These records contain the person's name, arrest date and time, charges, and relevant details. Generally, booking records are public and can be accessed through law enforcement agencies or online portals, depending on the jurisdiction.

DUI Records

Certain driver's license information is prohibited from public release under federal law, including sensitive details like home addresses. In Colorado, driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime, and even a "wet and reckless" arrest below the DUI threshold is charged and prosecuted. Arrest and conviction records for DUI are publicly available and can be accessed easily. For information on incarcerated individuals, search the relevant county jail inmate population. County court records can provide details on DUI convictions in Colorado. Note that if no charges or convictions occurred, there won't be a public record, but official background checks may include such information.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

In Colorado, finding felony and misdemeanor conviction records is relatively straightforward. County Superior Courts maintain records of court proceedings for felony convictions. To access these records, search the court files in the respective county. If the person is currently incarcerated, the Colorado Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) website allows searching for arrest, booking, and charge details. For misdemeanor records, search the county court where the case was heard. If the individual is in jail, use the CDCR website for information on the charges. Availability of records may vary based on the jurisdiction and case specifics.

Parole Records

To obtain parole records, contact the County Superior Court that handled the conviction. Request the documents in person or by mail, providing the person's name, date of birth, CDCR number, and specific information sought. Case history searches at the County Superior Court might provide some information, but detailed criminal history may not be available. Parole records document the supervision and conditions of individuals released on parole from prison. They include details about parole terms, interactions with parole officers, and progress reports. Access to parole records depends on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances of the case.

Probation Records

Colorado probation records can be requested from the Colorado Probate Division of the relevant County Superior Court. Searching for probate records must be done in person as they are not available online. Provide the full name, date of birth, CDCR number, and specific details needed. Probation records pertain to individuals sentenced to probation instead of incarceration. They contain information about probation conditions, reports from probation officers, and updates on compliance with the terms. The availability and fees of probation records depends on the jurisdiction and the nature of the case.

Warrant Search

Active warrants in Colorado are not classified as public information under state law. This law limits the type of information that can be made public, and active warrants are considered to infringe upon an individual's privacy rights. Executed warrants will result in a booking or arrest record that can be identified through the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) website or by contacting the local law enforcement agency or county jail.

Inmate And Jail Records

Inmate lookup refers to the procedure of searching for and acquiring details about individuals currently detained within Colorado's correctional facilities. The principal aim of inmate lookup is to offer public access to information about inmates, which includes their location, booking information, charges, sentence duration, expected release dates, and parole eligibility status.

What you can find

When conducting an inmate lookup in Colorado, you can expect to discover the following information:

  • Inmate Location and Facility Details: Inmate lookup provides details about the specific correctional facility where the inmate is currently situated. This includes the name of the facility, its address, and contact details.
  • Booking Information and Charges: Inmate lookup allows you to access data about the inmate’s initial booking into the facility, including the booking date, booking number, and the specific charges filed against them.
  • Sentence Length and Release Dates: Inmate lookup offers information about the length of the inmate’s sentence, including the commencement date and the projected release date. This helps in understanding the period of their incarceration.
  • Parole Eligibility and Parole Board Decisions:Inmate lookup may highlight the inmate’s eligibility for parole and provide details on parole board decisions, such as the results of parole hearings and any conditions imposed.

How to Conduct an Inmate Lookup in Colorado

In Colorado, you can use the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) Inmate Locator to find information about inmates. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Go to the CDCR’s Inmate Locator Website: You can access the CDOC’s inmate locator at this URL: https://co.colorado.gov/locate-inmate
  • Enter the Inmate’s Information: The locator requires either the inmate’s CDOC number or the inmate’s last name and first initial. Fill in the details you possess.
  • Submit the Search: After entering the necessary details, click on the “Search” button to submit your request.
  • Review the Information: If the inmate is in the system, you will see their CDOC number, their age, their admission date, their current location, and their parole-eligible month and year.

Jails & Prisons in Colorado

State Prisons:

County Jails:

Can I look up mugshots in Colorado?

In line with the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), citizens have permission to access public documents, including arrest records and mugshots.

Mugshots of individuals arrested can be accessed through government resources such as the Colorado State Archives or the Department of Corrections website. These platforms provide both present and past arrest records.

The Department of Corrections maintains a regularly updated database of both juvenile and adult offenders. Various Colorado jail directories also provide mugshots of inmates presently in custody.

Colorado Arrest Records

Arrest records in Colorado are official documents that illustrate an individual’s arrest history by law enforcement within the state. These records offer information about the circumstances, charges, and outcomes related to an arrest. Arrest records primarily exist to provide a thorough record of a person’s interactions with the criminal justice system, ensuring transparency and responsibility in law enforcement activities.

What Do These Records Contain:

Typically, Colorado arrest records contain the following information:

  • Personal Identification Details: Arrest records include personal details about the individual, such as their full name, aliases, date of birth, and occasionally their address.
  • Arrest Information: These records offer details about the arrest, including the date, time, and location of the arrest, the arresting agency or police department, the name of the arresting officer, and the charges filed against the individual.
  • Booking Information: Arrest records may provide details about the booking process, such as fingerprints, photographs (mugshots), and other personal identifying information gathered during the booking process.
  • Charges and Criminal Offenses: Arrest records outline the specific charges or criminal offenses for which the individual was arrested, including the nature of the offense and any applicable penal code sections or statutes.
  • Court Case Information: Depending on the stage of the criminal proceedings, arrest records may provide limited information about the subsequent court case, including the court’s name, case number, and other relevant case details.

Colorado Property and Asset Records Online

In Colorado, information about property and assets is readily available through the State Treasurer’s Office. This entity offers a free online search tool to locate and claim properties. Property records are managed by the local county clerk and recorder offices.

Unclaimed Properties in Colorado

Searching for unclaimed money in Colorado is quite straightforward. The search requires information such as name and address.

This means that if you’ve conducted business in other states, you can search a single database to see if you have any unclaimed funds elsewhere in the country.

Driving Records

The Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), provides an online service allowing individuals to access and print their own driving records.

To access your driving records, you must first create an account on the DMV’s online platform, pay a fee of $9.00, and ensure that your printer is ready to print the records. If you require a certified driving record, the fee is $10.

Civil Driving Infractions

In Colorado, traffic violations fall into two main categories: traffic infractions and traffic misdemeanors. Traffic infractions are less serious offenses and do not carry the risk of imprisonment. On the other hand, traffic misdemeanors have the potential for jail time.

The penalties for traffic infractions depend on the seriousness of the offense. In addition to fines, traffic violations can lead to the accumulation of DMV points, which are used to monitor a driver’s record. Exceeding a certain number of points can result in the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.

Some common examples of civil driving infractions in Colorado are:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Tailgating
  • Unsafe lane changing
  • Not wearing a seatbelt

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor case. Offenses like this are punishable by up to a year in jail and paying a fine of $1,000.00.

Colorado White Pages - Access to People, Addresses, and Other Non-Official Information

Address Search ​

A Reverse Address Lookup in Colorado, also known as a Reverse Address Search, is a searchable database aimed at helping individuals obtain property ownership information within the state. This can be beneficial for determining details about a property’s owner or for finding someone’s address.

Under the Colorado Open Records Act, addresses are deemed public information, thus available to anyone, given they either have consent from the person concerned or have a legitimate reason for needing the information. Certain restrictions apply to the use and disclosure of this data.

People Search​

In Colorado, a people search can be a helpful way to gather information about individuals. There are various online resources and databases designed to facilitate such searches, with public records websites offering access to a range of information, including basics like full name, address, and phone number.

Can I Search By a Phone Number and Identify The Owner?

Yes, reverse phone lookup services can be used to determine the owner of a specific phone number. These services compile and provide information linked to phone numbers, including names, addresses, contact details, and sometimes even photos and social media profiles. There are several ways to conduct a reverse phone number lookup, such as searching by address, name, or other related information.

How to Do a License Plate Lookup in Colorado

In line with most states, Colorado does not permit the public to request driver information based on a license plate number, except in specific situations.

If you are a victim of a crime and the only information you have is the license plate number of the vehicle, local law enforcement can conduct a license plate lookup to identify the registered owner. This could aid in solving the crime, but the information obtained is not disclosed to the victim or the public.

You can utilize third-party online platforms to conduct a vehicle history report based on a license plate number. In the United States, each vehicle has a registered plate linked to a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Online lookups using the license plate number will reveal specific information about the car, but not about the registered owner. You will be able to access information about safety recalls, significant repairs, dates of sales (including prices), and details about the locations where the vehicle was registered and sold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

In Colorado, public records are broadly accessible to all community members. This includes individuals, organizations, journalists, businesses, and researchers. The aim of allowing public records requests is to promote openness and accountability in governmental actions. It enables citizens to gain a deeper understanding of the operations and decisions of government entities.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

Yes, requesting public records can involve some fees. It’s typical for governmental entities to impose reasonable charges to cover the costs associated with duplicating, digitizing, and compiling the requested documents. The actual fees can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of the request. In some instances, these fees may be waived or reduced for certain types of requesters, such as members of the media or non-profit organizations.

Are public records Free to access?

In some situations, certain public records may be accessible for free. Some government agencies proactively publish select records online, making them freely accessible to the public. However, if you’re looking for specific records not readily available, you might need to submit a formal public records request, which could incur fees.

What is the response time for public records requests?

The time needed to process a public records request can fluctuate based on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the request. Laws and regulations often require government entities to respond within a certain timeframe, which could range from several days to multiple weeks. However, some requests may require a longer processing time, particularly if they involve a large volume of records or need modifications to protect confidential information.

Can my request be rejected?

Yes, a public records request can be denied under certain circumstances. Government agencies may refuse a request if the records are subject to specific exemptions or are legally protected from disclosure. Common reasons for denial include the protection of personal privacy, ongoing investigations, concerns over national security, attorney-client privilege, and trade secrets.

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