Colorado regulated the availability of public records under the Colorado Open Records Act, which the state implemented in 1969; since then, the policy has been updated to reflect broader legislative developments.
Finding the appropriate record custodian is the first step in any excursion into public archives. This is because, like all other states, Colorado does not have a single agency responsible for preserving all public documents. Once you've done this, you can call, email, mail, or come in person to get public records.
Anybody wishing to get, preview, or use public records can visit the State Records website. All members of the general public have access to this information. The data is instantly and concisely provided without demanding any personal information. This is unless the record in question is confidential by law.
Right to Access Public Records in Colorado
Accessing information from public records is typically easy. You can search for and see the records if they are public and accessible. However, the general public cannot examine a file if it is locked or a court order prohibits public access.
Millions of individuals nationwide, including in Colorado, benefit from public documents. They can give the user information about a person's criminal background so that you can make more informed choices regarding them. These records allow you to deal with people more safely, which keeps you and your family safe.
Public Records in Colorado: Limitations/Exemptions
Before you embark on searching records online or in person, you should keep in mind that while all records are to be made public, some circumstances could make some information classified as confidential.
You have to know the records that are totally accessible and those that are under the exemptions to prevent fruitless efforts.
Colorado Criminal Records
The state's principal repository for arrest and other public criminal records is the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a Department of Public Safety branch. You can access public criminal records online using the CBI's Internet Criminal History Check System (ICHC). You must provide the following information for the findings to be accurate:
● First and last name
● Date of birth
● Social security number (not mandatory, but it provides better results when given)
The state uses the same web platform as ICHC to assist residents in gaining online access to arrest records. Public access to warrant information is available; you should send a request by letter to CBI or the Colorado county sheriffs to access it.
Colorado Inmate and Jail Records
You can check inmate information using the online query database maintained by the Colorado Department of Prisons. Only one or more of the following details are required as the search criteria:
● DOC number or the 6-digit identification number assigned to offenders
● First and last name
● Date of birth
There are various jails and prisons in Colorado, and you can look up their addresses online and visit a specific prison for details about an inmate they held.
Colorado Court Records
Colorado also considers court records public and can be obtained by anybody interested online.
The following information is required to look up a court record online:
● First and last name
● Case number (year, class, and case sequence)
● Attorney bar number
● Date Range
You can also request access to court records from the Colorado Judicial Branch.
Colorado Driving Records
The Division of Motor Vehicles in Colorado offers online access to driving records. Suppose the appropriate paperwork for release, affidavit of the intended use, and statement of fact are completed. In that case, the individual listed on the driving record or qualified intermediaries like an attorney or private investigator may also seek another person's driving records.
You only need to provide a working email address and spend $9.00 for a non-certified copy of your driving records or $10 for an official, more thorough driving record to submit a request.
Colorado Vital Records
Vital records in Colorado are tricky as they are primarily considered confidential. However, you can acquire a copy online for $20.00. You must pay an extra $13.00 per copy for any simultaneous requests for additional copies.
Visit the Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE) Vital Records to place an order for a copy of a birth or death record in Colorado. The DPHE does not keep records of marriages or divorces. However, they offer confirmation for civil partnerships, marriages, and divorces registered at the state registry between 1900 and 1939 and from 1975 to the present.
Colorado Public Records Laws Exceptions
The Colorado Open Records Act forbids governmental entities from allowing the viewing or transfer of certain records to protect confidential or sensitive data. It permits various exceptions to its laws even though it guarantees broad access to public documents. These exceptions include the following:
Colorado Law Enforcement Records
Custodians are required to restrict access to any documents related to an investigation by the sheriff, the police, or the district attorney. Access to security protocols or intelligence data developed or managed by any of the stated authorities should likewise be denied by custodians.
Colordao Personnel Files
Personnel files on employees are private. All data containing an employee's home address, phone number, financial information, or other sensitive information are completely off-limits.
Colorado Medical Records
Only people of interest may have access to medical records, which are regarded as confidential. However, the autopsy reports produced by coroners are not considered exempt medical documents.
Colorado Trade Secrets
The general public cannot see or obtain copies of privileged and sensitive information, such as financial, business, geological, or geophysical trade secrets.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Colorado Public Record?
Anybody wishing to access publicly available data kept by a state or local agency may submit a request, and the record custodian will provide access in accordance with the Public Records Act.
According to the CORA, record custodians are required to deliver requested records promptly. Custodians must notify the applicant and arrange a time and date to access the record if it is not immediately available. The time and date should be no more than three working days apart.
Public records are accessible to every resident of Colorado; you only have to be sure of the type of record you need and if it is truly accessible to every member of the public. Some of these records can also be accessed by you using third-party websites like truepeoplesearch.io, which possess tools that allow for thorough searches.