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New Jersey Public Records

Under the Freedom of Information Act, individuals in New Jersey have the right to access public records maintained by government entities at all levels. These public records encompass a wide range of materials, including written documents, printed books, microfilm, electronically stored data, processed documents, and information held within government offices. Access extends to electronic documents, audio recordings, and images stored by government agencies. In accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA), government officials are generally required to respond to records requests within seven days. However, for certain types of requests, immediate access to records may be granted. The Government Record Council (GRC) serves as a guardian of public trust, ensuring that individuals in New Jersey have the means to obtain access to public records when needed.

How to Request New Jersey Public Records

Requesting public records in New Jersey can be a straightforward process if you follow the appropriate steps.

Table of Contents

The New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) provides guidelines for accessing public records. Here's a general guide on how to request these records:

Where to Find Public Records in New Jersey

Different New Jersey agencies manage various types of records. Here’s where you can typically find them:

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

For direct access to vital records, visit the website of the state's Department of Health (DOH). The site provides all necessary information for obtaining records related to births, deaths, marriages, and divorces.

Property Records:

To directly access property and asset records, you can visit the specific county clerk's office in New Jersey or opt for an in-person visit to the county office. Basic searches are available for free, while more detailed or extensive searches may require subscription-based access.

Business Records:

In New Jersey, business records can be accessed through a couple of key sources. For general business information, such as legal status and entity details, the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services offers an online portal for easy access. Additionally, for local business filings, the relevant County Clerk's Office in the county where the business is located would be the place to contact.

Court Records:

In New Jersey, direct access to all court records is available through the New Jersey court system. Their online portal enables you to access records for both criminal and civil cases in superior courts, as well as information from municipal courts. Additionally, the site provides access to data from tax court cases.

Driving Records:

In New Jersey, information on driving records, officially known as "driver history abstracts," can be obtained from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. To access this information, visit the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website. Remember to specify that you are requesting a driver history abstract, as this is the official term used in the state.

Professional Licenses

In New Jersey, professional licenses are typically managed and issued by specific state boards or departments, depending on the profession. Visit the Division of Consumer Affairs website for information on licensed professionals, including verification of licenses and details about obtaining or renewing a professional license.

New Jersey State Archives:

In New Jersey, historical records can be found in several key locations, each housing different types of archives and documents. You can also explore the New Jersey State Archives website.

Are New Jersey Public Records Available Online?

You can easily access various public records online through different official websites, depending on the type of record you need.

For vital statistics like marriage, birth, death, and divorce records and certificates, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) offers several methods for obtaining these records. You can submit your request online through the DOH website, or you can opt for mail-in requests or in-person visits at their office located at 140 E. Front Street, Trenton. Additionally, the DOH has partnered with VitalChek for online orders, or you can place an order by phone at 877-622-7549.

The available records include birth records starting from 1922, marriage records from 1931, and death records from the same year. You can also access domestic partnership information from 2004 onwards, civil union records starting in 2007, and both domestic and foreign adoption records. Furthermore, for birth certificates that resulted in stillbirth, records are available from 1969.

Which records are public in New Jersey

Which records are not public in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), certain types of records are exempt from public access due to privacy, security, and other considerations. Here are some categories of records that are typically not public:

New Jersey Background Checks

Background checks in New Jersey are procedures conducted by individuals or organizations to verify a person’s history and qualifications. These checks are often used for employment, tenancy, or other situations where personal history information is relevant. 

It’s important to note that under New Jersey law and the FCRA, there are specific rules and restrictions governing background checks, especially when used for employment. Consent is often required from the individual being checked, and there are limitations on how certain information can be used. For more comprehensive guidelines on conducting background checks in New Jersey, refer to the New Jersey State Police website and resources on the FCRA regulations.

What Can Be Included In a Background Check Report?

Criminal Records

This includes records of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations. In New Jersey, criminal background checks are typically conducted through the New Jersey State Police.

Employment History

Verification of past employment, including positions held, duration of employment, and reasons for leaving.

Educational Verification

Confirmation of degrees, diplomas, and certifications from educational institutions.

Credit History

Credit reports provided by credit bureaus reflecting an individual's credit history. However, the use of this information is regulated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Motor Vehicle and Driving Records

These records can be obtained from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and include driving history and any vehicle-related infractions.

Professional Licenses

Verification of any professional licenses, which can be checked through various New Jersey licensing boards, depending on the profession.

Social Media Profiles

Examination of an individual's public online presence and activities.

Medical, Mental, and Physiological Records

These are generally confidential but may be accessed in certain situations, like specific job roles that require fitness evaluations.

Drug Testing Results

Relevant for certain employment situations. Drug tests are conducted under specific legal guidelines.

Sex Offender Status

Information regarding sex offender status can be accessed through the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.

New Jersey Court Records

Overview of the New Jersey court system and its Structure

The New Jersey court system is a complex structure designed to handle various legal matters ranging from minor disputes to serious criminal cases. The system is organized into several levels, each with specific functions and responsibilities.

  • Municipal Courts: These are the lowest level of courts in New Jersey and handle minor criminal offenses (like traffic violations and municipal ordinance offenses), small civil matters, and preliminary hearings in criminal cases.
  • Tax Court: The Tax Court specifically handles cases related to tax disputes between the New Jersey Division of Taxation and taxpayers.
  • Superior Court: Law Division and Chancery Division: These divisions handle more serious matters. The Law Division deals with criminal cases, serious civil cases, and motor vehicle appeals. The Chancery Division handles equity cases, like family matters, probate, and civil cases that require equitable relief
  • Appellate Division of the Superior Court: This division reviews decisions from the Superior Court’s Law and Chancery Divisions and from state administrative agencies.
  • Supreme Court: This is the highest court in the state and has the final word on state legal and constitutional matters. It reviews decisions from the Appellate Division and handles cases of significant public interest, constitutional questions, and cases where the law needs clarification.

Each level of the New Jersey court system serves a specific role in the administration of justice. Decisions from lower courts can often be appealed to higher courts, with the New Jersey Supreme Court serving as the ultimate judicial authority in the state. This system ensures a multi-tiered approach to justice, allowing for various types of cases to be appropriately managed and reviewed. For more detailed information about the New Jersey court system, you can visit the New Jersey Courts official website.

Types of New Jersey Court Records

Civil Court Records​

Criminal Court

Family Court Records​

Probate Court Records​

Traffic Court Records​

Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality

In New Jersey, while many court records are publicly accessible, there are specific restrictions, limitations, and confidentiality rules that govern the availability of certain types of court records. These restrictions are in place to protect privacy, sensitive information, and the integrity of the legal process.

What do these records contain

Courts in New Jersey

New Jersey Public Vital Records

Marriage and Divorce Records: In New Jersey, marriage and divorce records can be obtained from different sources. Recent marriage records are available at the local Registrar in the municipality where the marriage license was issued, while older records are accessible through the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, with requests possible online, by mail, or in person. For divorce records, official decrees are obtained from the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was granted, and you can contact the respective County Clerk’s Office for details. For a certificate verifying a divorce, the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and Registry provides these documents, and similar requesting options are available for marriage records. Be prepared to present identification and pay a fee for these records. Access may be limited depending on your relationship to the individuals in the records. For more information, visit the New Jersey Department of Health – Vital Statistics website.

Birth and Death Records: In New Jersey, birth and death records can be obtained from the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and Registry. For recent records, such as a birth or death that occurred within the past few years, requests should be made to the local Registrar in the municipality where the event took place. For older records, applications can be submitted to the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, with the option to request online, by mail, or in person. Detailed instructions and necessary forms are available on the New Jersey Department of Health – Vital Statistics website. Remember, you will need to provide identification and possibly pay a fee to access these records.

New Jersey Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of Criminal Records in New Jersey

New Jersey Criminal Records consist of documents and details pertaining to an individual’s criminal history within the state. Typically, these records encompass information about an individual’s arrests, charges brought against them, any resulting convictions, and the accompanying sentences or penalties, if any.

  • Personal Identification: Full name, date of birth, nationality, and potentially physical characteristics like height, weight, and photographs or mugshots.
  • Arrest Records: Details of arrests, including the date, location, and the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest.
  • Charges: Specific information about the charges brought against the individual, which may include both misdemeanors and felonies.
  • Court Records: Documentation of court proceedings related to the criminal charges, including trial information, court appearances, and any legal motions or appeals.
  • Convictions and Sentences: Details of any convictions resulting from the charges, including the sentence imposed (e.g., imprisonment, probation, fines, or community service).
  • Incarceration Records: If applicable, details about any time served in jail or prison, including the duration of incarceration and the facility where the sentence was served.
  • Probation or Parole Details: Information on any probation or parole, including terms and duration.
  • Dismissals and Acquittals: Information on charges that were dismissed or if the individual was acquitted.
  • Warrants: Details of any outstanding warrants.

Police Records and Reports

Police records and reports in New Jersey consist of various documents generated by law enforcement agencies during investigations. These can include incident reports, arrest reports, police investigation notes, and any other documentation created by police officers in the course of their duties. They provide details on alleged crimes, investigations, and interactions with suspects or witnesses.

Booking Records and Reports

Booking records and reports detail the process of an individual being taken into police custody. These records usually contain personal identification information, details of the alleged offense, mugshots, fingerprints, and the time and location of the arrest.

DUI Records

DUI records in New Jersey encompass documentation related to offenses of driving under the influence. These records include details of the arrest, any field sobriety tests conducted, blood alcohol content levels, court proceedings, convictions, and sentences associated with DUI offenses.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

Felony and misdemeanor records provide information on convictions in New Jersey, differentiating between misdemeanors (lesser offenses) and felonies (more serious crimes). These records include details of the charges, court proceedings, judgments, and any resultant sentences.

Parole Records

Parole records in New Jersey document the release of prisoners before the completion of their maximum sentence under conditions of supervised freedom. These records detail the parolee's identifying information, original sentence, release date, and terms of parole, including any subsequent compliance or violations.

Probation Records

Probation records detail sentences where individuals, rather than serving time in jail or prison, are allowed to remain in the community under supervision. These records include information about the probation terms, duration, and any conditions or requirements imposed by the court, as well as records of compliance or violations.

Warrant Search

Conducting a warrant search in New Jersey involves checking for outstanding warrants that state courts or law enforcement agencies have issued. A warrant is essentially a legal document sanctioned by a court or a law enforcement authority granting permission for the arrest of an individual or the search of a particular location. Warrants are typically issued by a judge or magistrate when there's probable cause to suspect that an individual has engaged in criminal activity or that specific premises hold evidence of a crime. In New Jersey, when carrying out a warrant search, the details available in a state warrant can differ based on the warrant's type and the authority that issued it. The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) usually makes warrants accessible in the state, allowing requests from the public, media, and legal professionals for these records. However, access might be limited by state and federal laws, particularly concerning ongoing investigations, juvenile matters, or cases where court records are sealed or deemed confidential.

Inmate And Jail Records

The New Jersey Inmate Search is a facility offered by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC), enabling the public to locate information about individuals incarcerated in NJDOC-run correctional institutions. The NJDOC oversees the majority of the state's correctional facilities and offers an online tool for inmate searches.

What you can find

When conducting an inmate search in New Jersey, you can expect to find the following information:

  • Inmate Location and Facility Details: An inmate search provides information about the specific correctional facility where the inmate is currently housed, including the facility’s name, address, and contact information.
  • Booking Information and Charges: An inmate search allows you to access details about the inmate’s initial booking into the facility, such as the date of booking, booking number, and the specific charges brought against them.
  • Sentence Length and Release Dates: An inmate search provides information about the length of the inmate’s sentence, including the start date and anticipated release date, which helps understand the duration of their incarceration.
  • Parole Eligibility and Parole Board Decisions: An inmate search may indicate the inmate’s eligibility for parole and provide information on parole board decisions, including the outcome of parole hearings and any conditions imposed.

How to Perform an Inmate Search in New Jersey

When conducting an inmate lookup in New Jersey, you can typically find a range of information about individuals who are incarcerated within the state’s correctional system. The details usually accessible through such a search include:

  • Inmate’s Full Name and Identifiers: This includes the inmate’s legal name and any aliases used.
  • State Bureau of Identification (SBI) Number: This is a unique identifier assigned to each inmate within the New Jersey correctional system.
  • Date of Birth: The inmate’s birth date.
  • Mugshot: A photograph of the inmate taken during the booking process.
  • Physical Description: This may include height, weight, gender, hair and eye color, and other distinguishing features or marks.
  • Incarceration Details: Information about the inmate’s current custody status, including the specific facility where they are being held.
  • Sentence Information: Details about the inmate’s sentence, such as the length of the sentence and any parole eligibility.
  • Release Date: The projected or actual date of the inmate’s release.
  • Offenses: Information regarding the crimes for which the inmate was convicted.
  • Admission Date: The date when the inmate was admitted to the correctional facility.

Can I look up mugshots in New Jersey?

Yes, you can look up mugshots in New Jersey, typically through the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ inmate lookup tool or by requesting them directly from the relevant law enforcement agency. However, availability may vary based on the agency’s policies and the specific case.

New Jersey Arrest Records

New Jersey Arrest Records are formal documents detailing an individual’s history of arrests within the state. They include details about the conditions of the arrest and any charges levied against the person. These records are generated and preserved by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest at the time it occurs. It’s important to note that in New Jersey, an arrest record does not equate to a conviction. Rather, this document signifies that the individual is being investigated for a suspected offense.

What Do These Records Contain:

New Jersey arrest records typically encompass the following:

  • Personal Identification: Full name of the individual, date of birth, physical descriptors (height, weight, hair and eye color, etc.), and sometimes a photograph or mugshot.
  • Arrest Details: Date and location of the arrest, the arresting agency, and the name of the arresting officer(s).
  • Charges: Specific information about the charges brought against the individual at the time of the arrest. This can include both misdemeanors and felonies.
  • Case Number: A unique identifier assigned to the case related to the arrest.
  • Bail/Bond Information: Details regarding any bail or bond posted for the individual’s release.
  • Incident Report: A narrative or summary of the events leading up to and including the arrest, often provided by the arresting officer.
  • Witness Statements: If applicable, statements from witnesses or others involved in the incident that led to the arrest.
  • Fingerprint Data: Law enforcement agencies typically collect fingerprints at the time of the arrest.

New Jersey Property and Asset Records Online

In New Jersey, property and asset records are accessible online through various county and state platforms. Each county in New Jersey, such as Essex County, has a Tax Assessor’s Office where you can find property and asset records on their respective websites. Additionally, the County Clerk’s Office in each county provides access to property-related legal documents like deeds and mortgages, often with online search capabilities. For broader state-level information, including property tax and assessment details, the New Jersey Division of Taxation is a valuable resource. Some municipalities also offer property information on their own websites, which can be useful for localized searches. Furthermore, third-party online services and databases are available, compiling public records from various sources, although these may sometimes require a fee.

Unclaimed Properties in New Jersey

In New Jersey, unclaimed property refers to financial assets or personal belongings that have been left inactive or forgotten, typically in financial institutions or companies, and have been turned over to the state after a certain period of inactivity. This can include savings accounts, uncashed checks, utility deposits, stocks, and safe deposit box contents. To manage and return these unclaimed properties to their rightful owners, the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration (UPA) operates under the New Jersey Department of the Treasury.

Driving Records

In New Jersey, driver history abstracts, commonly known as driving records, are maintained by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). These records provide a detailed account of a driver’s history, including traffic violations, accumulated points, any reported accidents, the current status of the driver’s license, and details of suspensions or revocations, if applicable. 

To obtain a driving record in New Jersey, individuals can use the New Jersey MVC online portal, where they can create an account and request the record electronically. Alternatively, requests can be made via mail by completing the necessary form and sending it with the required fee or in person at a local MVC office. 

There is a fee for obtaining a driving record, the amount of which is listed on the MVC website and may be subject to change. Driving records are frequently used for employment screening, insurance rate determinations, and legal purposes. It’s important to note that these records are protected under privacy laws, and obtaining someone else’s driving record typically requires their consent. Regularly reviewing your own driving record can be crucial for staying informed about your driving history and ensuring the information is accurate.

Civil Driving Infractions

In New Jersey, civil driving infractions, often referred to as traffic violations or offenses, are non-criminal breaches of traffic laws. These infractions can range from minor to serious and generally result in fines, points on your driving record, and sometimes, increased insurance rates. Here’s an overview of common civil driving infractions in New Jersey:

  • Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions.
  • Failure to Stop or Yield: Not stopping at stop signs or failing to yield to other drivers or pedestrians when required.
  • Seat Belt Violations: Failing to wear a seat belt or to ensure passengers are properly restrained.
  • Improper Lane Changes: Changing lanes without signaling or in an unsafe manner.
  • Cell Phone Use While Driving: Using a handheld mobile device for calls or texting while driving.
  • Traffic Signal Violations: Running red lights or failing to comply with other traffic signals.
  • Improper Passing: Overtaking other vehicles in a prohibited or unsafe manner.
  • Parking Violations: Parking in a no-parking zone, in front of a fire hydrant, in a disabled parking spot without authorization, or other illegal parking scenarios.
  • Driving Without a Valid License or Insurance: Operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license or mandatory insurance coverage.
  • Equipment Violations: Driving with malfunctioning lights, brakes, or other essential vehicle equipment.

New Jersey White Pages - Access to Individuals, Addresses, and Additional Unofficial Details

Address Search ​

To conduct an address search in New Jersey, there are several online and offline resources you can utilize. Start with the county Tax Assessor’s Office of the specific county; many have online databases for property record searches. Additionally, municipal websites often provide access to local records. For a more comprehensive property search, New Jersey’s Multiple Listing Service offers detailed listings and the New Jersey Division of Taxation’s website links to local tax records. 

People Search​

Conducting a people search in New Jersey can be done through various online tools and public records. Start by using social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, as they can provide immediate information about an individual’s location or contact details. For more official searches, consider accessing public records through the New Jersey State Library or local county offices, where you can find voter registration, property ownership, and other public records. Online people search engines and public records databases, such as Whitepages or Spokeo, are also useful for compiling basic information like addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. If you’re looking for professional information, the New Jersey State Bar Association’s website can help you locate licensed professionals. 

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

Yes, you can search by a phone number to identify the owner, commonly known as a reverse phone lookup. These services provide data associated with phone numbers, potentially including names, addresses, and sometimes even photos or social media accounts. There are diverse methods to perform a reverse phone number search, such as through associated names or addresses.

License Plate Lookup in New Jersey

In New Jersey, conducting a license plate lookup to obtain personal information about a vehicle owner is restricted and governed by privacy laws. If you need information related to a vehicle for legal or safety reasons, such as in the case of an accident, the appropriate course of action is to report the incident to law enforcement. Police have the authority to use license plate numbers for investigations. 

For vehicle history checks, such as when purchasing a used car, services like Carfax or AutoCheck can provide detailed reports based on the license plate number, although these won’t include personal owner information. In situations involving vehicle accidents, insurance companies can also use license plate numbers for claim processing and accident investigations. 

Access to personal information via the DMV is typically restricted to authorized personnel for specific purposes. Be wary of online services claiming to offer comprehensive license plate lookups, as many do not operate legally or legitimately. It’s crucial to use this information ethically and within legal bounds, and if there’s a legitimate need for such information, consulting with legal professionals or law enforcement is the recommended approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

In New Jersey, public records can be requested by individuals, organizations, and the media. The New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) governs public records access, emphasizing transparency and accountability in government. The law grants citizens the right to request public records to ensure government transparency and accountability. Common reasons for requesting public records include research, investigative journalism, legal proceedings, government oversight, and personal information retrieval. However, certain exceptions and exemptions exist to protect sensitive information, such as personal privacy, law enforcement investigations, and attorney-client communications. Overall, public records requests serve as a vital tool for maintaining transparency and accountability in government operations.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

Yes, there may be fees associated with requesting public records in New Jersey. The New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) allows government agencies to charge reasonable fees for providing access to public records. These fees can cover costs such as copying, printing, and administrative expenses related to fulfilling the request. The specific fees may vary depending on the nature of the request and the agency’s policies. It’s advisable to check with the relevant government agency or entity to understand the applicable fees before making a public records request. Some agencies may provide a fee schedule on their websites or upon request.

Are public records Free to access?

Public records in New Jersey are not always free to access. While the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) promotes transparency and grants citizens the right to access public records, government agencies are allowed to charge reasonable fees for providing access to these records. These fees can cover expenses related to copying, printing, and administrative costs associated with fulfilling the request. The specific fees may vary depending on the nature of the request and the agency’s policies. However, some basic information and records may be available for free, while more extensive or specialized requests may incur charges. It’s essential to inquire about any applicable fees with the relevant government agency or entity before making a public records request.

What is the response time for public records requests?

In New Jersey, the response time for public records requests varies depending on the nature of the request and the specific circumstances. The New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) stipulates that government agencies are generally required to respond to public records requests within seven business days. However, this does not necessarily mean that the requested records will be provided within that timeframe. For complex or extensive requests, agencies may request an extension of time to fulfill the request, which can be an additional seven business days. In such cases, the agency is required to provide a written explanation for the extension.

Can my request be rejected?

Yes, in New Jersey, public records requests can be rejected under specific circumstances outlined in the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Common reasons for rejection include privacy concerns, ongoing law enforcement investigations, attorney-client privilege, security and safety considerations, protection of trade secrets, and exemptions related to pending litigation or deliberative government processes. When a request is denied, agencies are typically required to provide a written explanation for the rejection. Requestors have the option to challenge denials through legal means or by appealing to the Government Records Council (GRC). It’s essential to be aware of the potential reasons for rejection and the available avenues for addressing denials when making public records requests.

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