Recorded or filed documents that are created and maintained by local, state, and federal government agencies are referred to as public records. These records are considered open for public inspection during reasonable business hours. Examples of public records include criminal records, historical data, maps, photographs, and any other government-related documents, recordings, or other mediums of information.
Each government agency is responsible for establishing the rules regarding access, fees, and other regulations having to do with public records. While protocol may vary from agency to agency, they all must comply with the local, state, and federal laws that define public records.
Generally, government agencies provide details regarding access to public records on their websites. You can usually find FAQs, contact information, office locations, and more online.
You can request public records online, in person, by postal mail, or by email. While you can quickly and easily obtain some public records, others can be more difficult to access. There are many exemptions defined by law, fees, and processing times to consider. That’s why we have put together this thorough article on Indiana public records. Let’s begin with how federal and state laws define public records.
Which federal laws apply to public records in the United States?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), signed into federal law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, mandates that all federal government agencies provide the public with access to records created, stored, or maintained by federal government agencies in a timely manner. The goal of the FOIA was to provide the citizens of the United States with a transparent, open government that they could trust and ultimately believe in.
The FOIA states that if a federal government agency denies a public record request, then they must provide the requester with the legal reason prohibiting the release of the requested information.
How does Indiana law define public records?
The Access to Public Records Act (APRA), Indiana Code 5-14-3, states that an individual can access any information regarding government affairs and the official acts of public employees and officials. The statute mandates that public employees and officials provide individuals with information when requested.
The APRA defines public records as reports, writings, tape recordings, studies, photographs, books, maps, and other information that is created, collected, kept, maintained, or filed with or by a city or county government or public agency. There are many forms of public records, such as paper, photographs, or electronically stored data.
Indiana law defines public records as disclosable or non-disclosable. You can access disclosable records but not non-disclosable records. If the public employee or official denies an individual access to a public record, they must provide the statute that declares the information to be non-disclosable.
The APRA defines what records are non-disclosable and therefore confidential. These records include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Records required to be kept confidential by state statute or federal law
- Certain employee personnel file information
- Confidential research information
- Adoption records
- Medical records
- Attorney work product
- Confidential financial information about an individual or company
- Law enforcement agency investigation records
- Security records, such as vulnerability assessments, intelligence assessments, or infrastructure details
- Trade secrets
For a full list of exemptions,click here.
The Indiana Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. It is the highest appellate court in Indiana. Five justices, including four associate justices and one chief justice, currently serve on the Supreme Court. Justices in Indiana are required to have practiced law in Indiana for a minimum of ten years or served as a trial court judge for at least five years.
The Judicial Nominating Commission, consisting of attorneys and other persons, is responsible for suggesting three candidates to the Governor when there is a vacancy. The Governor then chooses a new justice from those candidates, who serve two years and then is subject to a statewide retention vote. If the vote is in favor of the justice, they will then serve a ten-year term, with the vote occurring every 10 years.
The Judicial Nominating Committee also chooses which one of the five justices will act as chief justice for a five-year term.
Justices are required to retire when they turn 75.
The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over the following:
- Admittance to the practice of law
- Unauthorized practice of law
- Attorney discipline and disbarment
- Justice and judge discipline, removal, and retirement
- Administration of other court’s jurisdictions
The Supreme Court also directly reviews the following:
- Appeals involving lifetime sentences with no possibility of parole or death sentences
- Appeals involving post-conviction relief denials after a death sentencing
- Appeals involving parental consent to abortion waivers
- Appals involving state or federal statutes that have been determined to be unconstitutional
- Appeals of orders issued by lower courts requiring funds
- Indiana Tax Court decisions
- Indiana Court of Appeals decisions
Find out more information regarding the Supreme Court’s administrative duties here.
Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals is Indiana’s second-highest court, hearing all appeals from trial courts and certain state agencies, with the exception of the following:
- Lifetime sentences or death penalty cases
- Cases where a trial court finds a statute to be unconstitutional
- Attorney disciplinary cases
- Tax cases
Roughly 2,000 written opinions are issued annually by the 15 members of the Court. All decisions are considered final unless the Indiana Supreme Court grants further review.
Three-judge panels, which have statewide jurisdiction, hear the Court of Appeals cases. Cases are randomly assigned with panels rotating three times a year.
The Court attempts to issue a decision on an appeal within four months of receiving it, although there is no deadline required by law. The Court usually issues opinions sooner.
The Court of Appeals lists all opinions on its website, which are either available “for publication” (allowed to be cited as precedent in future cases) or “not for publication,” also known as “NFP” (cannot be used as precedent in future cases).
Indiana’s Tax Court, established by the General Assembly in 1986, has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving tax laws and initial appeals from decisions made by the Indiana Board of Tax Review and the Indiana Department of State Revenue.
The Tax Court hears appeals from certain decisions made by the Department of Local Government Finance. The Tax Court also hears original tax appeals, which follow inheritance tax determinations made by courts of probate jurisdiction.
Search Indiana Court Records
You can search court documents, filings, and other records online using mycase.in.gov. There are no fees for some of the data found using this site. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, or need a transcript for a specific hearing or trial from the court reporter, contact the clerk’s office in the county where the case was heard.
To make a public records request from the Indiana Supreme Court Office of Judicial Administration or one of its agencies, complete this form. You will need to include your name, phone number, address, contact information, and detailed record information with the agency’s name that maintains the record.
The state is required by statute to respond to an electronic public records request within 7 days of receipt. For denied requests, a written response with the statutory reason for nondisclosure along with the name and title of the person denying the request is provided.
Criminal records generally include an individual’s arrests, convictions, warrants, restraining orders, and incarceration information. The individual’s name, race, sex, birthdate, mugshot, offense details, and other personal information show up on a criminal record.
Criminal records are open for public inspection unless otherwise stated by law.
Indiana Arrest Records
We have compiled a brief summary of arrest records in Indiana in 2019 based on the FBI’s Crime in the United States report:
- 121,134 arrests in 2019
- 16,743 arrests for crimes against persons (offenses of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault)
- 17,132 arrests for property crimes (offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson)
The Indiana State Police (ISP) is responsible for creating, maintaining, and providing access to the state’s arrest records. The ISP provides access to name-based or fingerprint-based state criminal history reports. You can also access national fingerprint-based records via the ISP’s website.
Arrest records are public records in Indiana. You can use any one of the following means to search for arrest records.
Name-based Indiana Limited Criminal History
A name-based Indiana Limited Criminal History report (ISP LCH) includes only misdemeanor and felony arrests in Indiana and is based on an offender’s name, gender, birth date, race, and if required, birthplace, and social security number. You will only find criminal history information occurring in the state of Indiana using this search.
You will receive the following results when conducting a name-based ISP LCH:
- On File: The criminal record was found on file. The report will show misdemeanor and felony arrests occurring in the past year and misdemeanor and felony arrests that are over a year old and resulted in a disposition from the courts. The report names the accused, including any aliases, and shows arrest information, the charges filed, and dispositions.
- Not on File: The criminal record search produced inconclusive results. The state suggests running a fingerprint-based check in this case.
- No Records Found
You can order a name-based limited criminal history check in one of the following ways:
- Online: To order online, you will need to set up an account. The online fee is $15 per record if you have an Indiana Interactive subscription. For non-subscribers, the fee is $16.32 per record. You can pay by credit card.
- By Mail: You can request an ISP LCH by mail. The fee is $7.00 per copy. Acceptable payment forms are money orders or certified checks. Complete the form, include payment, and mail to the ISP CHLC, PO Box 6188, Indianapolis, IN 46206-6188.
Fingerprint-based Indiana Full Criminal History
A fingerprint-based Indiana Full Criminal History report includes all reported arrests, charges, and dispositions occurring in Indiana. Federal arrests or arrests by out-of-state agencies do not show up on this report. Usually, this report is requested for a Criminal Record Review Challenge.
The ISP Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Section works with IDEMIA to offer electronic applicant fingerprinting. There are fingerprinting service centers located across Indiana where you can go to have your fingerprints processed. You must first register online. You can pay the fee online by credit or debit card or at the fingerprinting service center by money order or cashier’s check.
Your fingerprints will be processed in two to four weeks. You will receive a No Record Letter (no record of any criminal activity was found) or a copy of your transcript with your criminal activity after the process is complete.
If you would like to challenge your record, you can email the ISP CJIS or call them at 317-232-8262.
Fingerprint-based National Full Criminal History
A national criminal history report is based on fingerprints and is the most complete criminal history report available to you. This type of report includes all dispositions, charges, and arrests from all federal jurisdictions and all US state jurisdictions.
Indiana Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile delinquency record is an official record detailing the criminal activity of children or adolescents under the age of 18. Per Indiana code 31-39-3-2, juvenile delinquency records are open to the public if a juvenile commits an act that is considered a crime if an adult committed the act. The following records are available to the public regarding juvenile criminal records:
- The sought-for or apprehended child’s sex and age
- The sought-for or apprehended child’s identity (in certain cases – review the entire code for more information)
- A description of the alleged offense, including what time the offense occurred, where the offense took place, the property involved, and any other details pertaining to the offense
- The identity of any victim
- A description of the method of apprehension
- If physical force was used, a description of the device used
- The identity of any officers working the investigation, with the exception of undercover units
Any other law enforcement records having to do with juvenile delinquencies other than what is listed above are considered confidential.
Indiana Inmate Records
The Indiana Department of Corrections maintains the state’s inmate database. Inmate records are considered public records in the state of Indiana.
There are 18 adult correctional facilities, three juvenile correctional facilities, and 13 work release centers in Indiana, as listed below.
- Reception Diagnostic
- South Bend Community
- Chain O’Lakes
- Correctional Industrial
- Wabash Valley
- Rockville (Female)
- Indiana State Prison
- Heritage Trail
- Indiana Women’s Prison
- New Castle
Juvenile Correctional Facilities
- Laporte Juvenile Correctional Facility
- Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility Treatment Unit
- Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility
- Craine House
- Duvall Center
- Clark County Work Release
- Hendricks County Work Release
- Vanderburgh County Work Release
- Whitley County Work Release
- Bartholemew County Work Release
- Cass County Work Release
- Elkhart County Work Release
- Lake County Work Release
- Tippecanoe County Work Release
- Vigo County Work Release
- Hope Hall
Search Inmate Records Online
To find an inmate who was or is currently incarcerated in an Indian correctional facility, search the Indiana Offender Database online.
You can search by the offender’s first name, last name, or both. You can also search by the offender’s number if you have that information.
A search will result in the following information:
- First, middle, and last name
- DOC Number
- Gender and race
- The location or facility where the offender is housed
- The earliest possible date of release
- Date of Sentence with description
- Term of the sentence in years, days, and months
- Conviction type
- Indiana citation code
- Cause number
- The county where the conviction occurred
- Projected release date
Sex Offender Information
In Indiana, sex offender records are public records and are open for inspection. Indiana Code 11-8-8-5 describes a sex offender as someone who is convicted of any of the following:
- Sexual battery
- Criminal deviate conduct
- Child exploitation
- Child molesting
- Child seduction
- Child solicitation
- Sexual misconduct with a minor as a felony (class A, B, or C)
- Vicarious sexual gratification
- Criminal confinement, when the victim is under 18 years old
- Kidnapping, when a victim is under 18 years old
- Possession of child pornography, if the offender was previously convicted in an unrelated possession of child pornography matter
- An attempt or conspiracy to commit any crimes listed above
- A crime considered equal to any of the above-listed offenses from another jurisdiction
In 2003, Indiana sheriff’s departments worked together to create the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry. The registry functions as a comprehensive database allowing the general public access to information about sex and violent offenders. This information includes the identity, appearance, and location of sex and violent offenders who work, live, or study in the state of Indiana.
The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) became responsible for maintaining the state’s Sex and Violent Offender Registration in 2006. The IDOC works with law enforcement agencies, prosecuting attorneys, judges, corrections officials, parole officers, and probation officers to provide training and information regarding the use of the registry and how Indiana Code 11-8-8 works.
You can search Indiana’s Sex and Violent Offender Registry online. To get started, enter one of the following search criteria:
- In your area: search by address, city, state, zip code, or offender address type.
- Name: search by first name, last name, or both
- City: search by an offender’s city of residence
- Non-compliant: search for non-compliant offenders
- Internet Names/Email: search using email or internet names
- Phone Number: search by phone number
Your search will produce the following results about sex or violent offender in Indiana:
- Registration Start and End Date
- Lifetime Registration (Yes or No)
- Physical Description, including age, sex, height, weight, race, eye color, hair color, scars, tattoos Address with map
- Any Other Known Addresses
- Offenses, including a description, date of conviction, conviction county and state, release date, case number, and sentence
To obtain a list of all registered sex and violent offenders in Indiana, click here.
You can also call the IDOC Sex and Violent Offender Registry at 317-232-1232 for more information.
Vital records refer to major life events, such as birth, death, paternity acknowledgments, adoption, and marriage. In Indiana, the office of Vital Records, a division of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), maintains vital records and issues certified copies of vital records for events taking place in Indiana.
The office of Vital Records provides the following services:
- Issues certified copies of birth and death certificates
- Issues certified copies of marriage records
- Processes record amendments and corrections
- Processes Adoption Decrees
- Processes requests for Acknowledgement of Paternity
- Processes Disinter/Reinter requests.
The fees for such services are as follows:
- Birth Certificate: $10.00 ($4.00 per additional birth certificate if ordered at the same time)
- Delayed Birth Registration: $10.00
- Correction or amendment on a birth certificate: $8.00
- Death Certificate: $8.00 ($4.00 per additional death certificate if ordered at the same time)
- Adoptive Medical History Search: $25.00
- Copy of Signed Paternity Affidavit: $8.00
- Putative Father Registry Search: $16.00
Fees for vital records services are non-refundable. The Indiana State Department of Health accepts checks and money orders (made payable to the Indiana State Department of Health).
Orders take 25 business days to process upon receipt of the request (excluding shipping).
There are third-party vendors that offer vital records at an additional fee, such as VitalChek or GoCertificates.
The ISDH Vital Records Office keeps birth records dating back to October 1907. Local health departments in the county where the birth occurred can look up birth records older than October 1907.
The ISDH Vital Records Office issues two types of birth certificates:
- Standard birth certificate: certified 8.5” by 5.5” copy of the original birth certificate.
- Long-form birth certificate: certified 8.5” by 11” copy of the original birth certificate.
Both types of birth certificates include gender, but only long-form birth certificates include the time of birth (if collected).
Eligible Birth Certificate Recipients
Indiana statute mandates that the birth certificate request must be by one who has a direct interest in the person named on the birth record. An individual or party has a direct interest if they are of immediate kin, have a legitimate financial or legal concern, or are protecting personal or property rights. Proof of relationship and proper photo identification is required when requesting a birth certificate.
Examples of eligible birth certificate recipients include:
- Parents or stepparents
- Siblings who are 18 years or older
- Children or Grandchildren who are 18 years or older
- Current spouse
- Uncle or aunt
- Court-Appointed Legal Guardian
- Social Agency
- State and Federal Agencies
For a complete list of eligible recipients with requirements regarding proof of relationship and identification, click here.
Order a Birth Certificate
You can order a birth certification from the ISDH Vital Records office using one of the following four methods:
- In-person: you can call the local health department where the birth occurred to find out the walk-in hours, associated fees, and identification requirements.
- Online: you can order birth certificates online using IN.gov or VitalChek. To find out more regarding fees and processing times, click on the links provided.
- Phone: you can call 866-601-0891 24/7 to order birth certificates.
- Mail: complete Form 49607, include proper identification, required documentation, payment (money order or check made payable to Indiana State Department of Health), and mail to the Indiana State Department of Health, Vital Records, 2 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
To find out the status of your birth certificate order, call 317-233-2700. A customer service representative will assist you.
The ISDH Vital Records office maintains death records dating back to 1900. The local health department in the county where the death occurred has access to death records before 1900. If you are searching for a death that took place from 1900 to 1917, you must include the city and/or county of death so that the record can be located.
Eligible Death Certificate Recipients
Indiana statute states that an individual requesting a birth certificate is required to have a direct interest in the registrant on the birth record. Direct interest means that a person or party is immediate kin of the registrant, has a legitimate legal or financial interest, or is protecting personal or property rights. Proper picture identification and proof of relationship must be presented when requesting a birth certificate.
Examples of eligible death certificate recipients include the following:
- Children or Grandchildren over 18 years old
- Siblings over 18 years old
- Aunts, uncles, nieces, or nephews over 18 years old
- Funeral Home/Director
- Legal interest
For a complete list of eligible death certificate recipients, including what proof of relationship and identification must be presented, click here.
Order a Death Certificate
You can order a death certificate in one of the following four ways:
- In-person: you can call the local health department where the death occurred to find out the walk-in hours, associated fees, and identification requirements.
- Online: you can order death certificates online using IN.gov or VitalChek. To find out more regarding fees and processing times, click on the links provided.
- Phone: you can call 866-601-0891 24/7 to order birth certificates.
- Mail: complete Form 49606, include proper identification, required documentation, payment (money order or check made payable to Indiana State Department of Health), and mail to the Indiana State Department of Health, Vital Records, 2 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
To check the status of your death certificate order, call 317-233-2700. You will be able to speak with a customer service representative.
The Division of Vital Records at the Indiana State Department of Health is responsible for amending a birth certificate once an adoption is finalized in a court of competent jurisdiction. Depending on what court orders may be involved determines what will show on the birth records, such as the place of birth.
In 1988, Indiana established the Adoption History Program to provide access to identifying, non-identifying, and medical adoption records.
Adoption Matching Registry
Individuals 18 years or older can register with the Adoption Matching Registry to obtain information from the Adoption History Program. Those eligible to receive adoption information must be at least 21 years of age, and include the following:
- Adult adoptees
- Birth parents
- Adoptive parents
- Birth siblings
- Deceased adoptee’s relatives or spouses
Eligible applicants must complete and submit State Form 47897: Non-Identifying Information Consent and State Form 47896: Identifying Information Consent. Applicants must provide photo identification, such as a passport or driver’s license.
Adult adoptees requesting identifying information are allowed access unless the birth parents chose to keep the adoption records sealed via the State Form 56535: Birth Parent Contact Preference Form.
There is no fee for adoption records.
Indiana Adoption Medical History Registry
In 1986, the Indiana Adoption Medical History Registry was founded to store and provide access to medical information.
A search of the Medical History Registry costs $25.00. You will need to complete the Application for Search of Medical History Information for Adoptee form. Mail the complete form, money order, or check made payable to Indiana State Department of Health, and required identification to Indiana State Department of Health, Vital Records, PO Box 7125, Indianapolis, IN 46206-7125.
In Indiana, you must contact the Clerk of Court in the county that the marriage was issued to order a copy of a marriage license.
You can also search the following sites if you do not know the county where the marriage license was issued:
- The Indiana State Library Marriage Database from 1958 to 2018 or through 1850
- The Indiana Court Marriage License Public Lookup
To order a copy of a Record of Marriage, complete State Form 54764, include proper identification, money order, or check made payable to the Indiana State Department of Health, and mail to Indiana State Department of Health, Vital Records, 2 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
As with marriage licenses, you must contact the clerk’s office in the county where the marriage took place in order to request a certified copy of a divorce decree. You cannot obtain a divorce decree online.
Information regarding divorces is open to the public in Indiana. To search for divorce cases, click here. A search will provide you with the following details:
- Parties involved
- Case number
- Filed date
- Petition type / filing details
- Hearing details
- Judicial Officer
- Sessions, comments, and results
- Orders/Decrees issued
- Child support details, if applicable
- Financial Information
Property Tax Records
Property tax records are public records. The Department of Local Government Finance in Indiana is responsible for the maintenance of property tax records in the state and offers a searchable database online.
You can search property tax records by entering any of the following information:
- Tax Bill Year
- Tax Payer Name (First Or Last)
- Billing Street Address
- Taxing District Rate (minimum or maximum rate)
- Total Tax Bill (total minimum or maximum)
Your search will provide the following tax bill details:
- Property information
- Tax bill ID
- Assessment year
- Parcel number
- Taxpayer name
- Taxpayer address
- Tax district
- Total AV
- Deductions and exemptions
- Net AV
- Total Gross Rate
- Gross Tax
- Net Tax
- Any penalties
- Total Taxes Due
The Indiana Secretary of State is responsible for maintaining and providing access to business records. You can search the Indiana SOS for information regarding business details; they are considered public records and open for inspection in Indiana.
You can search the database by the full or partial name of the business. Your search will result in the following information:
- Business ID
- Business Name
- Creation Date
- Entity Type
- Principal Office Address
- Registered Agent Name
You can also request certified copies of business documents on this site, such as Articles of Incorporation or Business Entity Reports.
Under Indiana Code 5-15-5.1, the Indiana Archives and Records Administration (IARA) creates, maintains, stores, and organizes government records.
Within the IARA are several divisions:
- State Archives: The Indiana State Archives preserves and offers access to the state’s historical documents.
- Records Management: Records Management creates records retention schedules and provides support regarding the conservation, storage, and management of public records for local and state government agencies in Indiana.
- Forms Management: The Forms Management Division offers management solutions for all public record forms.
- State Imaging and Microfilm Laboratory: The State Imaging and Microfilm Laboratory provides quality microfilming and imaging services.
- State Records Center: The Indiana State Records Center stores public records and is responsible for properly destroying documents no longer needed.
To research public records at the Indiana State Archives, you must make an appointment first. You can call 317-951-5222 or send an email request and you can set up a time to inspect documents.
You are also able to search the state’s archives online via the Indiana Digital Archives and Research Indiana Catalog. There is an extensive amount of information available, including:
- Courts Records
- Photographic Records
- Institution Records
- Military Records
- Naturalization Records
- Additional Historical Records
You can find your ancestors via the Indiana Digital Archives, www.in.gov/digitalarchives. Volunteers at The Friends of the Indiana State Archives worked to create this database.
A driving record in Indiana includes information regarding your driving history, such as violations, citations, current and resolved court-ordered suspensions, reinstatement fees, and other reports that affect your driving record. Oftentimes employers require that you provide them with a copy of your driving record.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is responsible for maintaining and providing access to driving records.
The BMV issues two types of driving records. You must have your driver’s license number to order one of these records.
- Official Driver Record (ODR): An ODR is a certified copy of your driver record that comes with a letter certified by the BMV. The fee for an ODR is $4.00. Click here to pay for and download your ODR.
- Viewable Driver Record (VDR): There is no fee to inspect your VDR. Click here to access your VDR.
You can request an ODR by mail if you don’t know your driver’s license number. Mail your completed Request for Certified Records – State Form 53789 and payment to the Indiana Government Center North, Room 402, 100 North Senate Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
What do I do if there is an error with my public records in Indiana?
If you believe that there was a mistake made with one of your public records, it is best to contact the agency that is responsible for the specific public record. You can typically find information on the agency’s website regarding how to address errors, corrections, and amendments.
For example, see links below to various Indiana government agencies for information on addressing any errors with your public record(s):
- Corrections and amendments to vital records
- Criminal Record Review Challenge
- Driver Record Material Error Review Request
We hope that our comprehensive guide on public records in Indiana has provided you with all of the information needed.