Facsnet.org Logo

North Dakota Public Records

The Open Records Law in North Dakota stipulates that government records are accessible for public inspection and copying, except for those specifically exempted by law. This law is inclusive, allowing anyone, not just North Dakota residents or U.S. citizens, to request records.

When making a request, it is important to describe the required records in detail to aid in their location. The government agency is then obligated to respond within a reasonable timeframe, either by providing the records or by denying the request with an explanation for the denial.

How to request North Dakota Public Records?

Requesting public records in North Dakota involves a few key steps, and there are certain guidelines and costs associated with the process:

Table of Contents

To request North Dakota public records, follow these steps:

Where to find Public Records in North Dakota

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

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

You can access vital records such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates in North Dakota through the North Dakota Department of Health - Vital Records.

Property Records:

For property records in North Dakota, including information on property taxes, assessments, and more, visit the North Dakota Property Tax Division.

Business Records:

To find business records, including details about registered businesses in the state, use the North Dakota Secretary of State - Business Search.

Court Records:

Court records, including case information and court decisions, can be found through the North Dakota Courts Public Search.

Driving Records:

For driving records, including driver's license information and driving history, the North Dakota Department of Transportation - Driver Record Services is the place to go.

Professional Licenses

Information about professional licenses in North Dakota can be obtained from the North Dakota Secretary of State - Licensing.

North Dakota State Archives:

For historical records and archives, including historical documents, photographs, and other resources, visit the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Are North Dakota Public Records Available Online?

Not every public record in North Dakota can be accessed online.

Several counties in North Dakota have established online platforms for searching court and vital records. For instance, Grand Forks County offers an online tool for searching property records within its jurisdiction.

To determine if the records you need are available online, it’s advisable to get in touch with the relevant government agency. Additionally, while third-party websites offer public record searches, be aware that they might impose a fee for their services.

State Public Records Law

The North Dakota Open Records Law allows access to government records for public inspection and copying unless specifically exempted by statute.

Which records are public in North Dakota

Which Records Are Not Public in North Dakota

In North Dakota, certain types of records are exempt from public disclosure under the state’s open records laws.

North Dakota Background Checks

North Dakota background checks can encompass a variety of records, depending on the purpose of the check and the specifics requested.

What Can Be Included In a Background Check Report?

Criminal Records

This includes records of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations. Criminal background checks in North Dakota are conducted through the North Dakota Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

Court Records

These records provide details about an individual's involvement in civil and criminal court cases. The North Dakota Courts Public Search allows access to court records.

Driving Records

This includes an individual's driving history, traffic violations, DUI records, and license status. The North Dakota Department of Transportation provides access to driving records.

Credit History

Credit reports, which are often part of employment background checks, provide information on credit and financial history. These reports are typically obtained from major credit bureaus and are not directly available through North Dakota state resources.

Employment History

This can include verification of past employment, job titles, and durations of employment. Employers often verify this information directly with past employers.

Education Transcripts

Verification of educational credentials, degrees, and certifications. Educational institutions provide this information directly, often with the consent of the individual.

Professional Licenses

Information about any professional licenses held, including status and disciplinary actions. The North Dakota Secretary of State provides information on licensed professionals in the state.

Sex Offender Registry Information

Details about registered sex offenders, including offenses and current status. The North Dakota Sex Offender Website offers access to this information.

Public Social Media Posts

Some background checks may include a review of public social media posts and online presence.

Reference Checks

Personal or professional references may be contacted to provide insights into the character and qualifications of the individual.

North Dakota Court Records

Overview of the North Dakota Court System and its Structure

The North Dakota Court System is structured into three primary levels: the Supreme Court, the District Courts, and the Municipal Courts.

Structure of the North Dakota Court System:

  • Supreme Court: The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state of North Dakota. It serves as the final appellate court, meaning it reviews and makes final decisions on cases appealed from the lower courts. The court is comprised of a Chief Justice and several Associate Justices. The Supreme Court primarily handles appeals from the District Courts. It also has the authority to issue original writs and oversee the administration of the state’s court system. Additionally, it interprets the state constitution and laws.
  • District Courts: The District Courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction in North Dakota. These courts are organized into several judicial districts, each with one or more judges. District Courts handle a broad range of cases, including civil disputes, criminal cases, family law matters, probate, juvenile issues, and other legal proceedings. They are the primary courts for most types of trials and legal proceedings in the state.
  • Municipal Courts: Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction and typically handle cases related to city or municipal ordinances. These courts are often presided over by judges who may not be required to be attorneys. Municipal Courts mainly deal with matters such as traffic violations, misdemeanors, and local ordinance infractions. They operate within the confines of the respective city or municipality.

Types of North Dakota Court Records

Civil and Small Claims Records

Criminal Court Records

Family Court Records​

Probate Court Records​

Traffic Court Records​

Bankruptcy Records

Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality

In North Dakota, access to court records is subject to various restrictions and confidentiality rules to protect privacy and sensitive information. Personal privacy is a key concern, especially for records containing sensitive personal data like Social Security numbers or medical information, which are often redacted or sealed. Juvenile records are generally kept confidential to protect the identities and privacy of minors involved in legal proceedings. In family law cases, certain records, particularly those related to child custody or divorce, may have restricted access to protect the involved parties’ privacy.


Additionally, law enforcement and investigation records related to ongoing criminal cases or intelligence information are typically confidential to avoid compromising active investigations. Business-related court records containing trade secrets or proprietary information are often sealed to protect commercial interests. Mental health records, due to their sensitive nature, are treated with a high level of confidentiality. Lastly, victim information, especially in sensitive cases such as sexual assault or domestic abuse, is usually protected to safeguard the victims’ privacy and well-being. These confidentiality measures ensure that while court records are generally accessible for transparency, the privacy and safety of individuals are also adequately protected.

What do these records contain

North Dakota Public Vital Records

Marriage and Divorce Records: In North Dakota, you can obtain marriage and divorce records from two primary sources. For recent records, you should approach the county clerk’s office in the county where the marriage license was issued or the divorce was granted. Each county in North Dakota maintains its own records. Contact information for the county clerk’s offices can typically be found on the respective county websites, accessible through the North Dakota Association of Counties. For historical records, the North Dakota Department of Health’s Division of Vital Records maintains marriage records from 1925 to the present and divorce records from 1880 to the present. These records can be requested via mail, in person, or online through the North Dakota Department of Health’s Vital Records section. Note that access to these records may be subject to certain restrictions for privacy reasons.

Birth and Death Records: In North Dakota, birth and death records are primarily available through the North Dakota Department of Health’s Division of Vital Records. This division maintains records of births from 1870 to the present and deaths from 1893 to the present. To obtain these records, you can request them either in person, by mail, or online. For in-person and mail requests, you can visit or send your request to the Division of Vital Records office. For online requests, the North Dakota Department of Health has partnered with VitalChek, an independent company that provides secure online ordering of vital records. You can access the service for online requests through the North Dakota Department of Health’s Vital Records website. It’s important to note that while these records are public, access may be restricted to immediate family members or legal representatives, particularly for records of recent events, to protect personal privacy.

North Dakota Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of Criminal Records in North Dakota

In North Dakota, criminal records, often referred to as “rap sheets,” are official documents that detail an individual’s criminal history. These records are compiled from various sources within the criminal justice system and include a range of information related to criminal activities and interactions with law enforcement agencies.

Information Included in Criminal Records

Criminal records in North Dakota, as in most jurisdictions, contain a detailed account of an individual’s interactions with the criminal justice system. The information typically included in these records consists of:

  • Personal Identification Details: This includes the individual’s full name, aliases, date of birth, nationality, and physical descriptors like height, weight, eye and hair color, and any identifying marks like tattoos or scars.
  • Arrest Records: Details about arrests, including the date, time, location of the arrest, the arresting agency, the reason for the arrest (such as the specific charges), and sometimes the circumstances leading to the arrest.
  • Charges: Information on the specific criminal charges brought against the individual. This may include both initial charges and any subsequent modifications to those charges.
  • Trial and Court Information: Details of court proceedings related to the criminal charges, including court dates, the presiding judge, the parties involved, trial outcomes, and details of any appeals or subsequent legal actions.
  • Sentencing Information: If convicted, the record will include details of the sentence, such as the duration of any imprisonment, fines imposed, probation details, and conditions of release.
  • Incarceration Records: For individuals who have been jailed, these records provide information about their incarceration, including the facility where they were held, inmate number, duration of sentence, and any parole or release dates.
  • Probation Details: If the individual was sentenced to probation, the record will include the terms of probation, duration, and the name of the probation officer.
  • Sex Offender Registration: For those convicted of sex-related offenses, their criminal record will include information related to their status as a registered sex offender, including the nature of their offense and current registration details.
  • Photos and Fingerprints: Most criminal records include a mugshot and fingerprints of the individual.
  • Outstanding Warrants: Information about any active warrants issued against the individual.

Police Records and Reports

Police records and reports in North Dakota encompass documentation of police interactions, investigations, and responses to criminal activities. These records can be requested from the local police department or law enforcement agency involved in the incident. For more information and to request these records, visit the North Dakota Attorney General's website.

Booking Records and Reports

Booking records in North Dakota provide details of individuals booked into custody, including their personal information, the charges, and the booking date and time. These records are typically maintained by the law enforcement agency responsible for the booking. To access booking records and reports, you may contact the local police department or sheriff's office in the area where the booking occurred.

DUI Records

DUI records in North Dakota document cases where individuals were arrested and charged with driving under the influence. These records can be obtained from the North Dakota Department of Transportation or the law enforcement agency that made the arrest. For DUI record requests, you can visit the North Dakota Department of Transportation website.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

Felony and misdemeanor records in North Dakota detail criminal convictions, whether for more serious felonies or lesser misdemeanors. These records are accessible through the North Dakota court system, where the case was adjudicated. To search for felony and misdemeanor records, visit the North Dakota Courts Public Search website.

Parole Records

Parole records in North Dakota contain information about individuals released from prison under parole supervision, including terms and compliance. These records are managed by the North Dakota Parole Board. To access parole records, you can contact the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or visit their official website.

Probation Records

Probation records in North Dakota track individuals serving probation sentences, detailing their terms and status. These records are available through the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or the court that issued the probation. Visit the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website for more information on probation records.

Warrant Search

In North Dakota, warrant searches can reveal active arrest or search warrants issued by courts. These searches are typically conducted through the sheriff's office or local law enforcement agency in the county where the warrant was issued. To conduct a warrant search, visit the respective county sheriff's website or the North Dakota Attorney General's website.

Inmate And Jail Records

Inmate and jail records in North Dakota provide information about individuals incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities. These records include inmate personal details, charges, and incarceration status. To access inmate and jail records, visit the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's website or contact the specific correctional facility.

What you can find

In North Dakota, inmate and jail records contain detailed information about individuals incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities. These records typically include:

  • Personal Information of the Inmate: This encompasses the inmate’s full name, date of birth, and possibly their physical characteristics like height, weight, and any distinguishing marks or tattoos.
  • Inmate Identification Number: Each inmate is assigned a unique identification number used for tracking and administrative purposes within the correctional system.
  • Criminal Charges: The records provide details about the charges for which the inmate was convicted, which could include the nature of the offense and the classification as a misdemeanor or felony.
  • Sentence Information: This includes the length and terms of the inmate’s sentence, detailing any prison time, probation, or parole stipulations.
  • Incarceration Details: Information about the inmate’s current incarceration status, including the facility where they are being held, their housing unit, and possibly their security level.
  • Booking Information: Details of when and where the inmate was booked into the facility, including the date and the law enforcement agency responsible for the booking.
  • Release Date: If applicable, the expected release date or details of any prior releases.
  • Parole or Probation Status: Information regarding parole eligibility, probation details, or any post-release supervision conditions.
  • Disciplinary Actions: Records of any disciplinary actions taken against the inmate while in custody.

How to Conduct an Inmate Lookup in North Dakota

Conducting an inmate lookup in North Dakota is a straightforward process, typically involving the following steps:

  • Identify the Correct Facility or System: Determine whether the inmate is in a state prison or a county jail, as the lookup process might differ. State prisons are managed by the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (NDDOCR), while individual counties operate local jails.
  • Use the Online Inmate Locator: For inmates in state prisons, the NDDOCR provides an online inmate locator tool. This tool allows you to search for inmates using their name, inmate number, or other identifying information. You can access this tool on the NDDOCR website.
  • Contact the Facility Directly: If you can’t find the information online or if the inmate is in a county jail, you may need to contact the facility directly. Each county jail has its own procedures for inmate lookup, and you can find contact information for county jails on the respective county websites.
  • Provide Necessary Information: When using the online search tool or contacting a facility, have all necessary information ready, such as the inmate’s full name, date of birth, or other identifiers. This information will help refine the search and ensure you find the correct inmate.
  • Check Third-Party Websites: There are also third-party websites that offer inmate lookup services. These can be useful, especially for searches across multiple jurisdictions, but ensure the website is reliable and up-to-date.
  • Follow Privacy and Access Rules: Remember that access to certain information might be restricted due to privacy laws. Be prepared to provide a valid reason for your inquiry if required.
  • Seek Assistance if Needed: If you encounter difficulties or need assistance, most facilities have a point of contact for public inquiries who can guide you through the process.

Can I look up mugshots in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, whether you can look up mugshots depends on the policies of the specific law enforcement agency or jurisdiction. Generally, mugshots are considered public records, which means the public can often access them.

North Dakota Arrest Records

North Dakota arrest records are official documents that detail the apprehension and detention of a person following their alleged involvement in criminal activity. These records are typically created by law enforcement agencies and contain various pieces of information related to the arrest.

What Do These Records Contain:

Here’s what North Dakota arrest records generally include:

  • Personal Information: The full name of the arrested individual, along with their date of birth, physical description (height, weight, eye, and hair color), and sometimes their photograph (mugshot).
  • Arrest Details: The date and location of the arrest, the law enforcement agency that conducted the arrest, and the name of the arresting officer(s).
  • Charges: Specific information about the charges brought against the individual. This includes the nature of the alleged crime(s), the severity of the offense (misdemeanor, felony, etc.), and any relevant statutes or legal codes.
  • Bail/Bond Information: If applicable, details regarding bail or bond amount set for the release of the individual pending trial.
  • Case Information: Information about the court handling the case, the docket number, and any scheduled court dates.
  • Booking Details: The process of documenting the arrest in the law enforcement system, which may include fingerprinting and additional photographs.

North Dakota Property and Asset Records Online

To find property and asset records in North Dakota online, you can follow these steps:

  • County Assessor’s Office: Each county in North Dakota has an Assessor’s Office that maintains records of all properties within its jurisdiction. These records typically include details like property owner, property value, and property description (size, location, structure type, etc.). Most counties have online databases where you can search for property records.
  • North Dakota State Land Department: This department maintains records of state-owned lands and assets. Their website may provide access to certain records or information on how to request them.
  • North Dakota Recorders Information Network (NDRIN): NDRIN is a centralized database that provides access to land records and other related documents from multiple counties in North Dakota. You can search for property records by name, address, or legal description. Note that access to some records might require registration or a fee.
  • Local Government Websites: Many city or town websites in North Dakota also provide access to property information. You can search for the official website of the city or town where the property is located and look for a section on property or land records.
  • GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Maps: Some counties and cities offer GIS mapping tools online, allowing you to visually search for property information based on maps.
  • Third-Party Websites: There are various third-party websites that aggregate property records from different sources. However, these might require a subscription or payment, and the accuracy of the information can vary.

Unclaimed Properties in North Dakota

To find unclaimed properties in North Dakota, visit the official North Dakota Unclaimed Property Division website and use the provided search tool to enter your last name or the name of a business. Review the search results to identify any unclaimed properties that may belong to you or your business. If you find relevant listings, follow the instructions on the website to file a claim, which usually involves providing documentation to prove ownership. Periodically check the website, as unclaimed property databases are regularly updated, and new listings may appear over time. For assistance or questions, you can contact the North Dakota Unclaimed Property Division directly for guidance. Avoid third-party websites that charge fees for this service, as the official website offers free access to search and claim unclaimed property.

Driving Records

To obtain driving records in North Dakota, you can visit the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) website and navigate to the “Driver License” section. From there, you can find information on how to request your driving record. The NDDOT provides options for both certified and non-certified copies of your driving record, and you can typically request it online or by mail. Additionally, you can visit a local NDDOT office for in-person requests. Be prepared to provide your driver’s license number and other necessary information when making your request. Keep in mind that there may be a fee associated with obtaining your driving record, and processing times can vary depending on the method you choose.

Civil Driving Infractions

In North Dakota, civil driving infractions refer to non-criminal violations of traffic laws. These infractions typically result in fines and penalties but do not involve criminal charges or potential incarceration. Here are some common civil driving infractions in North Dakota:

  • Speeding: Driving above the posted speed limit is one of the most common civil traffic infractions. The fine for speeding varies based on how much over the speed limit you were traveling.
  • Running a Red Light or Stop Sign: Disobeying traffic signals or stop signs can lead to civil citations. Running a red light or failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign are examples.
  • Failure to Yield: Failing to yield the right-of-way when required, such as when merging onto a highway or making a left turn, can result in a civil infraction.
  • Improper Lane Change: Making an unsafe or improper lane change without signaling can lead to a traffic citation.
  • No Seat Belt: Failing to wear a seat belt or not ensuring that passengers are properly restrained is a common civil infraction.
  • Cell Phone Use While Driving: Using a handheld cell phone while driving may result in a civil citation.
  • Expired Registration or License: Driving with an expired vehicle registration or driver’s license can lead to civil penalties.
  • Parking Violations: Illegally parking in a no-parking zone, blocking a fire hydrant, or parking in a handicapped spot without proper authorization are civil infractions.
  • Equipment Violations: Operating a vehicle with faulty equipment, such as broken headlights or taillights, may result in a civil citation.

Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance: If you are unable to provide proof of insurance during a traffic stop, you may receive a citation.

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

Address Search ​

To conduct an address search in North Dakota, you can utilize various methods. Online white pages and directories like Whitepages or Yellow Pages offer search features where you can input a person’s name to find their current address and contact details. Search engines like Google can also be helpful; simply enter the person’s name along with relevant location details, and the search engine may yield results containing their address. Additionally, social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be valuable resources, as many users share their current locations on these platforms. Public records, including property and voter registration records, may also contain address information and can be accessed through local government websites or offices.

People Search​

To conduct a people search in North Dakota, you can follow several approaches. Online people search services like Spokeo, PeekYou, or PeopleFinder allow you to search for individuals by entering their name and other identifying information, often providing contact details, including addresses and phone numbers. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter can be effective for finding people by entering their names and relevant details. If you are looking for someone with a professional background, LinkedIn is particularly valuable. Public records may also contain information about individuals, including their addresses, and can be accessed through government agencies or online databases. Local directories specific to North Dakota may provide contact information for residents in the state. It’s essential to respect privacy, use the information you obtain responsibly and legally, and verify information through multiple sources if possible, as not all data may be up-to-date or accurate.

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

Yes, you can search for the owner of a phone number in North Dakota through online reverse phone lookup websites and services. Websites such as Whitepages, Spokeo, and ZabaSearch offer reverse phone lookup features that allow you to enter a phone number and retrieve information about the owner, including their name, address, and sometimes additional contact details. Additionally, you can use search engines like Google to search for the phone number and check if any publicly available information about the owner is listed in online directories or websites. It’s important to note that the accuracy and completeness of the information may vary, and some services may charge a fee for more detailed reports.

How to Do a License Plate Lookup in North Dakota

In North Dakota, you can perform a license plate lookup to obtain certain information about a vehicle or its owner. To do this, you can visit the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) website and navigate to the “Driver License” or “Motor Vehicle” section. From there, look for options related to license plate lookup or vehicle information. The NDDOT may provide online tools or services that allow you to enter a license plate number and retrieve information about the vehicle, such as its make, model, and year. Additionally, some third-party websites offer license plate lookup services for a fee, but it’s recommended to use official government sources for accurate and up-to-date information. Keep in mind that access to certain details may be restricted to protect privacy and comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

In North Dakota, public records are generally accessible to the public. This means that individuals, organizations, and the general public have the right to request and access public records. There are no specific restrictions on who can request public records, and North Dakota’s public records laws are designed to promote transparency and openness in government.


However, it’s essential to note that while public records are generally accessible, there may be certain exemptions or restrictions on certain types of records to protect privacy, security, or other legitimate interests. Additionally, the process for requesting public records may vary depending on the government agency or office responsible for maintaining the records.


To request public records in North Dakota, individuals can typically submit a formal public records request to the relevant government agency or office. The request should include specific details about the records being sought, and there may be fees associated with the request, depending on the agency’s policies.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

In North Dakota, there may be fees associated with requesting public records, but whether or not fees apply can vary depending on the government agency or office responsible for maintaining the records and the nature of the request.

Are public records Free to access?

While there may be fees for obtaining copies of records, access to inspect public records is generally free. In other words, you can often review public records in person at the government agency’s office without incurring charges.

What is the response time for public records requests?

North Dakota law does not specify a specific timeframe for responding to public records requests. However, government agencies are generally expected to respond to requests in a reasonable and timely manner. The response time can vary depending on the complexity of the request and the volume of records involved.

Can my request be rejected?

While public records are generally accessible, there are exceptions and restrictions. Your request can be rejected, or certain information may be redacted to protect privacy, security, or other legitimate interests. If your request is rejected, the government agency is typically required to provide a reason for the rejection, and you may have the right to appeal the decision.

Scroll to Top