If you are looking for information on public records in Idaho, you’re in the right place. We are going to go over the ins and outs of this matter in detail throughout this article.
Which Federal Laws Apply to Public Records in the United States of America?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into law in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson. It went into effect in 1967 and governs the public’s access to records held by governmental bodies.
How Does Idaho Law Define Public Records?
Established in 1990 and updated in 2009 (Idaho Code §9-340), the Idaho Public Records Act governs access to all public documents and paperwork in the state. All agencies that are defined as part of Idaho’s government (local entities included) must adhere to this act with the exception of the state militia.
The state of Idaho defines public records as any record that is held, created, or maintained by a public agency, regardless of the digital or physical characteristics of the document. There are also exemptions, which can be found in the subsequent sections. However, the Idaho Code is committed to its very broad concept of “public records” so there are strict request denial reasons and procedures in place.
You do not have to state a purpose when acquiring the records as there are no restrictions on use with the exception of creating phoning or mailing lists. The staff members at the agency responsible for the requested documents are allowed to ask minimal questions to ascertain that you will not be using the information for this exempt purpose as prohibited by section 74-120.
After requesting access to an open record in accordance with the Idaho Public Records Act, the agency has three days to respond to the request. This can be either a denial or acceptance. If more time is needed, the agency is allowed to take up to 10 days from the date of the request.
If, however, the agency does not respond within 10 working days, the request is determined denied. It must be noted that the agency must write a notice of official denial, clearly stating the reason as to why access was not granted.
Idaho Declared Legal Intention
The declared legal intention of the Idaho Public Records act is to give all people the right to examine and copy any public record of the state. The assumption that all public records in Idaho are open during working hours for inspection is valid.
Of course, everyone has a right to privacy so the balance between this concept and access is stated in the Idaho Code § 74-102.
Idaho Public Records Examples
All records held by public agencies in Idaho are available to be accessed by the public unless they are exempt under other statutes and Idaho codes. These records include:
- Criminals (including inmate records and arrest warrants)
- Property and tax
- Vital records
- Sex offender information
Idaho Public Records Exemptions
As previously mentioned, there are a number of exemptions listed in various sections of the Idaho Public Records Act. Below, you can find an extensive list of these exemptions along with the links to the relevant codes which you can peruse for more details:
- Records in court files or criminal proceedings which are prohibited under Idaho supreme court to the extent that confidentially would result in tampered decision-making — Title 74, 2015, ch. 140, section 5, page 349
- Any record exempt from disclosure by federal regulations or law during judicial proceedings — Title 74, 2015, ch. 140, section 5, page 349
- Investigatory records of law enforcement agencies as defined and conditioned in — section 74 (7) Idaho Code and section 74-124 Idaho Code
- Juvenile records of someone maintained according to chapter 5, title 20, Idaho Code except when the facts found within can be relinquished according to the court — Title 74 section 74-105
- Custody review board records of juvenile corrections including victim statements and family members — Title 20, chapter 5, section 20-533A
- Records related/proposed to critical infrastructure if the disclosure of the information could harm personal/property safety this includes the following:
- Security codes
- Vulnerability assessments
- Operation and security manuals
- Emergency response plans
- Escape and evacuation plans
- Records containing identification information of victims or witnesses
- Prisoner information that would be disclosed to another prisoner — Title 74, chapter 1, section 72-101
- Records that contain information relating to the future transportation of a prisoner
- Commission of pardons and parole records — Title 20, chapter 2, section 20-213A and Title 20, chapter 2, section 20-223
- Voting records of the sexual offender management board
- Records of the Idaho state police or sheriff relating to the following sections:
- Investigation records prepared by the department of health and welfare regarding its responsibilities of protecting/rehabilitating/caring for children and mentally ill people — Title 16, chapter 16
- Investigative records made from investigations made by complaints of discrimination to the Idaho human rights commission unless public interest outweighs the confidentially of the records
- Information gathered by the manager of the Idaho state insurance fund — Title 72, chapter 9
- Worker’s compensation records of the Idaho industrial commission except in specific circumstances listed in Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-105
- Investigation records made by the commission on vulnerable adults — Title 18, chapter 15, section 18-1505
- Certain criminal history records — Title 67, chapter 30
- Termination records of appointment, employment, or other insurance business relationship — Title 41, chapter 10, section 41-1019
- Records relating to compensation for crime victims — Title 72, chapter 10
- Identifying information of a complainant held by the department of health and welfare — Title 39, chapter 35, section 39-3556
- Records relating to the acquisition or transfer of a firearm
- Information protected or exempted under Idaho supreme court
- Records garnered by the office of state controller from agencies for entry into the criminal justice data system — Title 19, chapter 48, section 19-4803
- Retired employees’/pubic officials’ home addresses and other personal information
- Idaho state lottery records — Title 67, chapter 74, section 67-7412
- Personal records including:
- Personal debt
- Bank records
- Ownership of financial obligations of a public agency/independent public entity
- Vital statistics records
- Military records in adherence to title 65, chapter 3, section 65-301
- Social security numbers
- Individual personal data like full date of birth
- Applications for public care for the elderly or mentally or physically disabled — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-106
- Employment security records — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-106
- Screening and litigation information in some instances — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-106
- Hospital care records — Title 37, chapter 27, article III, section 37-2726 and title 37, chapter 27, article III, section 37-2730A
- Trade secrets — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-107
- Bids and appraisals — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-107
- Production records and proprietary information — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-107
- Tax commission and unclaimed property — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-107
- Clean water trust fund information — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-107
- Records identifying archaeological or geophysical sites/endangered species that aren’t widely known — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-108
- Oil and gas production information — Title 47, chapter 3
- Library records that would identify a person checking out a book — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-108
- Test questions and scoring keys — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-108
- Land management plans for voluntary agreements relating to conservation of sage grouse — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-108
- Museum/library material donated by a private individual — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-108
- Draft legislation — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-109
- Personal communication between members of Idaho legislature that isn’t related to public business — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-109
- Personal identifying information contained by a member of Idaho legislature — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-109
- Work papers related to the director of legislative performance evaluations before the final evaluation release — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-109
- Work papers related to audits before the final audit release — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-109
- Draft congressional and legislative redistricting documents — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-109
- Records of court proceedings relating to judicial note of abortion procedures of a minor — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-110
- Records pertaining to the Uniform Securities Act — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-111
- Information regarding water quality, hazardous waste, and air quality — Title 74, chapter 1, section 74-114
Where Can You Get Idaho Public Records?
Regardless of whether you are an Idaho citizen or not, you can access the public records held by the 44 counties in the state. You can request access in-person, by mail, over the phone, or online. The request must also be written if you decide to use the phone or in-person method.
Having said that, each department is different so you will have to comply with the various corresponding requirements if you are wanting to access records from multiple agencies.
You should always request access through the official channels to ensure accuracy and validity. Generally, you’ll be asked to supply the following information when making a request on the agency’s website or via the mail:
- Your name and contact information
- Name of the document you want to access (be as specific as possible to narrow the search)
- The date you want to receive the documents by
- How you would like the documents delivered (email or mail)
The State Controller’s Office is responsible for overseeing all public record requests. So, you should ensure that you send them to this email — firstname.lastname@example.org — after you have filled in the form.
Alternatively, you can post it to the following address:
Attn: Public Records Officer
PO Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0011
What Are The Fees Associated with Making an Idaho Public Records Request?
The fees for making a public record request cannot exceed the necessary labor costs associated with pulling the required documents. If the request you’ve made results in over two hours of labor, the agency is allowed by law to charge the actual labor costs.
These costs can be determined by a number of factors, including the following:
- Redaction of non-releasable information
- Electronic conversion costs
- Punch card sorting
- Computer programming costs
Any estimated labor costs will be itemized in your final bill of the information request so you can see exactly where your money is going.
As for electronic record transmission, there are no material costs involved. However, if you request more than 100 copies or use 250 computer pages, there will be extra fees.
Whenever mailing of documents is required, you will be charged the actual postage costs. All electronic/computer devices like flash drives and USB sticks will be reimbursed too.
Regardless of the requesting method you chose, the full schedule of fees will be given to you within the initial three-day response period. You may have to pay the fee before the request has been fulfilled depending on your situation.
In some situations, any fees might be waived. Generally, this only happens when the request will significantly improve the community’s understanding of governmental activities and work procedures. Sometimes, fees will be negated if you have no way to pay the fee.
The Idaho Public Record Act Title 74 Section 74-110 details further fee information but you can find a simple breakdown in the table below.
Approximate State Controller’s Office Fee ScheduleApproximate Fees
|Photocopy over 100 copies on standard paper (8.5 x 11 inches)||$0.04 per page plus $14.50 per hour of labor|
|Photocopying on anything other than standard paper (8.5 x 11 inches)||Actual cost calculated before production begins|
|Archived information retrieval||$3.00 per box|
|Redaction||$55.00 per hour|
|Actual search and retrieval labor costs over 2 hours||$14.40 per hour|
|If the State Controller’s Office incurs costs||Actual cost calculated at the time|
|Selling publications||Actual cost calculated at the time|
Court records tell you information about the civil and criminal trials that have been held in both local, county, state, and federal courts. The institution does have a right to expunge or seal specific details if they believe that a juvenile or victim is at risk of exposure or serious harm.
You will find the following information on court records in Idaho:
- Personal details
- Criminal details
- Proceeding details
- Court orders
- Case files
- Witness evidence and statements
- Jury files and documents
- Judge rulings
Idaho has 44 counties with seven judicial districts containing between 4 and 10 counties in each. It has been delegated this way to ensure authority and participation in every county.
The court system in this state is unified. This means that all the state courts are supervised by the Idaho Supreme Court as stated in the Idaho State Constitution Article 5 Section 2.
Each type of court deals with different issues:
- Supreme Court — a Chief Justice and 4 Associate Justices — claims against the state, extraordinary writs, interim orders, direct appeals from some agencies, and more are dealt with here.
- Court of Appeals — a Chief Judge and 3 Associate Judges — Appeals from district courts assigned by the Supreme Court only.
- District Courts — 41 district judges — Civil and criminal cases including the most serious felonies and any financial issue of over $10,000. Divorces may also be handled here. Appeals from magistrate judges will be heard here too.
- Magistrate Division — 87 magistrate judges — Civil actions up to $10,000. Misdemeanors, arrest warrants, small claims, preliminary hearings, and domestic relations can also be dealt with here. Small claims departments are held in this division and are dealt with by the magistrate judges. Generally, this is for civil actions up to $4,000.
Are Court Records Public Information in Idaho?
Yes, court records are public information in Idaho thanks to the 1990 Idaho Public Records Act. The reason behind this decision was to promote government accountability and clarity.
However, as mentioned previously, the institute may expunge or seal certain parts or all of a court record in specific situations. This especially happens when a minor or victim would be at risk should the information be disclosed.
Where Can You Get Copies of Court Records in Idaho?
Idaho has an online state database called iCourt that lists all court documents and trial information. You can choose how you wish to search — by case number or by name — to find files held at the District Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court.
The site is easy to use and you do not need to register to access the features. However, if you require ongoing access, you will be asked to make an account.
If you don’t know the case number or name of the record you are searching for, you can visit your local law enforcement agency. This includes both the Idaho State Judiciary and the courthouses. You can find the addresses of all courthouses in the state by clicking here.
Bear in mind that if you are visiting a law enforcement agency in person, you will need to speak to either a county or court clerk. They will then be able to pass you the relevant form and move forward with your request.
You can also ask for court record access over the phone: (208) 334-2210
Alternatively, you can mail your request to this address:
P.O. Box 83720,
Boise, ID 83720
The Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) oversees, keeps, and maintains the state’s criminal history information. It is an automated database that retrieves information from fingerprint arrest records given to the Bureau of Criminal Identification by criminal justice agencies.
The criminal records found in this database contain information specific to an individual’s criminal history. Only local, county and state law enforcement agencies are able to compile and create the information found therein. However, the data can be accessed by anyone online after paying the required fee and inputting the correct information.
The information displayed on an individual’s criminal record in Idaho will vary wildly. However, it may include the following:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Pending charges
- Arrest history
- Past and present warrants
Criminal History Search in Idaho
In accordance with the Idaho Public Records Act, you can access criminal records via mail, in-person, telephone, or online. All requests must go through the Idaho State Police.
Criminal history searches can be done by fingerprints or names.
For fingerprint searches, you must send an inked and stamped fingerprint card, payment authorization form, and a filled fingerprint criminal history search request form to the Idaho State Police. You will have to pay $20.00 by cash check or card for this service. There is an extra $1.00 processing fee if you do decide to pay via credit or debit.
For name-based searches, you follow the same procedure but without a fingerprint applicant card. You can find the relevant form here. The fee is the same and can be made by cash check or card. Just bear in mind that name-based searches aren’t as accurate as fingerprint ones.
How Long Does a Criminal History Record Check Take in Idaho?
The Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) in Idaho aims to ensure that all criminal history record checks are processed within 5 to 7 business days upon receipt. This excludes holidays and mail time.
Delays may occur if fingerprints are not of the required quality, are missing notes regarding amputations, or are out of sequence. If this happens, you will receive the fingerprint card along with a rejection note in the mail. You will then need to send a new set of fingerprints along with the rejected card back to the agency.
You won’t be charged for the reprint but if the second set is rejected, you will have to make a new application and pay the fees again.
How Long Does Arrest Information Stay On Your Record in Idaho?
Arrest information, regardless of whether it ended in a conviction or not, will show on your record indefinitely. But the Idaho Human Rights Commission ensures that employers should not ask about arrests since this does not determine guilt. Just note that arrest records aren’t automatically purged after various timeframes.
Can You Challenge Your Criminal History Record Information?
Idaho has a very strict policy when it comes to challenging your criminal history record information. The chances of winning any cases in this regard are extremely slim. However, you do have the option to expunge or seal depending on your specific criminal circumstances.
Expunging Records in Idaho
Expunging is essentially another word for “erasing”. Generally speaking, everybody with a criminal record wants this, but sadly, it is only granted in very rare circumstances in Idaho. You won’t be eligible for expungement unless you fall into one of the following categories:
- You were arrested or had a criminal summons but you went without charge for over one year.
- You’re looking to erase a juvenile offense.
- You were acquitted of offenses that came from a criminal summons or arrest.
Sealing Records in Idaho
This prohibits the public from accessing this part of the record. Sadly, sealing is also incredibly rare in this state. Before a court will allow for redacting or sealing parts or all of a record, it must find at least one of these things:
- Documents contain extremely intimate facts that would be extremely objectionable to most people.
- Documents contain information that the court deems would damage somebody’s reputation.
- Documents contain information that would severely damage somebody’s financial or economic climate.
- Documents contain information that would threaten the lives of individuals or a group of people.
- Documents that need to be kept confidential to ensure a fair trial.
Warrant Records Search
An arrest warrant is a written statement made by the court to all law enforcement officers that gives them the right to arrest someone or a group of individuals specified on the warrant. The scenarios in which a warrant can be made by the state are described in Idaho Code 7-1112.
All arrest warrants are searchable and accessible by the general public under the Idaho Public Records Act.
How to Search for Warrant Records by County in Idaho
To find warrant records, you must go through the Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. This department holds all criminal records and is searchable by name or fingerprints as mentioned previously.
If you use this method, you will need to mail the warrant request form to the following address:
700 S. Stratford Drive, Suite 120
Meridian, ID 83642
How to Request Warrant Records from Law Enforcement in Idaho
Your local law enforcement agency is able to give you access to all warrant records generated by them. Visit the location where the arrest warrant was made and speak to the clerk. They will be able to give you information about the warrant. You can also call your local office to gain this information.
What Is The Difference Between An Arrest Warrant and An Arrest Record?
Before carrying on, you should understand the difference between an arrest warrant and an arrest record. This is outlined below:
- Arrest record — Created after the arrest has happened.
- Arrest warrant — Documents given by a judge or magistrate allowing law enforcement officers to arrest a person or group of people.
We’ve put together a little overview of Idaho’s arrests and crime statistics below:
- In 2018, 52,292 arrests were made in Idaho. 11.5% of these were minors (under 18 years of age).
- 1,542 arrests for violent crimes were made in 2018.
- There are 4,791 registered sex offenders in Idaho. 77 of these are juvenile sex offenders.
What Shows Up on Arrest Records in Idaho?
You will find the following information on an arrest record:
- Name of arrestee
- Date of birth
- Physical description (complexion, weight, height)
- Identifiers (like tattoos and birthmarks)
- Crime classification (felony or misdemeanor)
- Active warrants
- DUI convictions
- Parole history
These records will remain public for the foreseeable future unless they are sealed or expunged which, as we mentioned, is very rare in Idaho.
What Is The Difference Between an Arrest Record and a Criminal Record?
A criminal record is a detailed report on someone’s criminal background including arrests, convictions, and lots more. An arrest record, on the other hand, is a document made by law enforcement agencies once somebody has been arrested.
What Is a Public Arrest Record?
Arrest records contain details of an individual who was taken into custody by law enforcement personnel due to suspicion or allegation against them. The person can be apprehended during the criminal act or after the violation in accordance with the Idaho Code.
Who Can Access Arrest Records?
Arrest records, commonly known as arrest reports, can be accessed by anyone upon request to the relevant law enforcement entity. They are likely to come up in a background check.
Are There Any Exemptions When Accessing Arrest Records in Idaho?
There are several reasons why you might not be able to view arrest records, including:
- Information is classified to protect natural security
- Focuses on rules and practices of an agency
- A different law prohibits the information disclosure
- Geographical information about wells is included
- And more.
How Do You Search for Arrest Records in Idaho?
To search for arrest records, follow either the fingerprint or name-based procedures as defined in previous sections.
Idaho Inmate Records
Inmate records in Idaho hold various information of both personal and administrative correspondence. All data within relates to a prisoner that is held in detention or correctional facilities across the state.
What Shows Up On an Inmate Record in Idaho?
Information on inmate records varies, but generally, they contain these details:
- Location of inmate
- Basic personal details (gender, name, age)
- Jail transfer details
- Registration number
- Incarceration status
Where Can You Access Idaho Inmate Records?
The Idaho Department of Corrections has an online database dedicated to the prisoners of Idaho. You can access information on those currently incarcerated, on parole, and probated people from here.
You can carry out an offender search by inputting the last name or their IDOC number. Additionally, you can use the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) website to see updates on the criminal’s custody status.
Sex Offender Information
You can search the Idaho State Police Sex Offender Registry by name, location, zip code, or other parameters. You will find various information upon searching including:
- Date of birth
- Residence and location
- Category of sexual crime they were convicted for
These records mark milestones including birth, marriage, death, and divorce. You can access them online via the State Department of Health and Welfare. Once on the website, you will need to fill the request form in and send it off with the relevant fee.
Property and Tax Records
While you can access your own tax records, they are not available to the public. However, the Idaho Tax Commission does provide public access to the following property and tax records:
- Personal property reimbursement
- Property tax reduction statistics
- Sale tax distribution per county
- Revenue sharing
- Comparative statement
- Policy documents
What To Do If There Is an Error With Your Public Records in Idaho
If you find a record with incorrect information, you should make a request in writing to the relevant agency.