Public records are files, recorded documents, and any other form of information created by local, state, and federal government officials, agencies, or publicly funded entities. Public records can be computer files, audio recordings, photographs, maps, or historical documents; the physical form does not matter.
Public records hold the government accountable for its actions. The information government agencies create, maintain, receive, and store must be transparent, open, and accessible to all people during regular business hours.
You can request public records online, in person, by email, or postal mail from the government agency responsible for the information you seek. There are many types of public records, so finding the right agency can be difficult. That’s why we have put together a detailed article explaining how public records in Nevada work. We will begin with the federal and state laws that define public records.
Which federal laws apply to public records in the United States?
Most states base their open records laws on 1967’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The FOIA is the basis of a democratic society, ensuring an open and transparent government.
Under the FOIA, the public can request access to records created, maintained, received, or stored by any federal government agency. Federal agencies must provide any information a person requests under the FOIA; however, there are nine exemptions to the law. The exemptions ensure the protection of law enforcement, personal privacy, and national security.
How does Nevada law define public records?
According to Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 239, all citizens can access, inspect, copy the public records and public books of any government entity and during regular business hours unless otherwise exempted by the statute. The statute also notes that privatization contracts are public records.
Nevada defines local government entities as a school district, township, unincorporated town, incorporated city, county, or any other public agency or district or agency created to conduct local governmental business).
Local government entities are required to respond to a public book or record request within five business days. They must complete one of the following actions in that timeframe:
- Provide the requester access to inspect and copy a public record
- Let the requester know, in writing, if they do not have legal custody or control of the record or book. They must also inform them of the government entity that is responsible for the record or book.
- Let the requester know that they cannot meet the five-day requirement and state the earliest date and time they will be able to do so
- Suppose the request is considered confidential and cannot be released. In that case, the government entity must provide the requester, in writing, the specific statute or law that is the reason for the denial.
- Records containing names, phone numbers, addresses, or other personal, identifying information
- Social security numbers
- Public library records
Local government entities can only disclose records that are considered confidential per Nevada statute in the following cases:
- By court order or subpoena
- By attorney affidavit stating that the information is needed for investigation purposes
- Reporter or editorial employee requests
- NRS 239.0115 provisions
The Nevada Judiciary interprets laws and provides an unbiased check on the Executive and Legislative branches. The Nevada Judiciary is responsible for providing impartial, efficient, and accessible dispute resolution in legal matters.
Most of the public is familiar with or has contact with the Municipal and Justice Courts as these are the courts that handle traffic and parking citations and lesser civil filings. Both of these courts have limited jurisdictions.
The Nevada Supreme Court is the state’s highest court. Its primary responsibility is to hear appeals from decisions made by district courts. Supreme Court justices determine if any procedural or legal mistakes occurred, rather than conducting fact-finding trials. Administrative assessments and the state general fund equally subsidize the Supreme Court.
The Nevada Supreme Court has seven justices who serve six-year terms. The most senior justice serves as chief justice, which is a two-year term. The Governor appoints any mid-term vacancies.
Court of Appeals
The Nevada Court of Appeals, an appellate court, is based on a deflective model. A deflective model means that the Supreme Court assigns the three-judge Court of Appeals one-third of its cases, which are not typically precedent-setting. The Supreme Court can then focus on the cases worthy of published opinions. This model improves the overall effectiveness of the state’s court system.
Published opinions define Nevada’s case law. The public, attorneys, and lower courts can cite and rely on published opinions. On the other hand, unpublished orders pertain only to the specific parties who are part of the appeal.
Nevada’s District Courts have general jurisdiction over all legal disputes, including criminal, juvenile, family, and civil cases. Cases are typically resolved through mediation, arbitration, jury trials, or bench trials. District Court judges also hear appeals from Municipal and Justice Court cases.
The state and Nevada’s 16 counties split the District Courts’ funding. The state pays for District Court judges’ salaries, and the counties pay for court facilities and support staff. Nevada has 82 judges who preside over 11 Judicial Districts, which comprises 17 county courts.
The Justice Courts are responsible for small claims disputes, misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases, evictions, temporary protection, and other civil matters not exceeding $15,000.
Nevada’s justices of the peace also rule on gross misdemeanor and felony arraignments and hold preliminary hearings to decide if adequate evidence exists for a criminal trial at District Court.
Each county funds Justice Courts, with the funds received by the courts going to their specific county treasurer for disbursement to the state and county. Nevada has 65 justices of the peace that preside over 40 justice courts.
The Municipal Courts oversee cases involving traffic violations and misdemeanors occurring in incorporated municipalities’ city limits.
The city funds each municipal court, with most of the funds going to the municipalities’ general fund.
Nevada has 30 municipal judges presiding over 17 municipal courts.
Clerk of the Courts
The Clerk’s Office is the custodian of the courts’ records and is responsible for managing the courts’ dockets, scheduling oral arguments, issuing writs as directed by the courts, administering the Settlement Program, and supervising the courts’ publications.
The Clerk’s Office answers questions regarding case status, files briefs, and other documents, searches for records regarding pending cases, and is the main point of contact for the Nevada Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
Contact information for the Clerk’s Office is listed below:
- Las Vegas Location (702-486-9300): 408 East Clark Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101
- Carson City Location (775-684-1600): 201 South Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada, 89701
You can also send an email if you need information or have questions.
Administrative Office of the Courts
Nevada’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) ensures the state’s court system delivers efficient and timely justice through effective leadership. The AOC works to fulfill the Supreme Court’s policy goals and constantly reviews the courts’ processes to maintain the state’s high standards for the Judicial Branch.
The AOC is also responsible for developing and maintaining information technology that is crucial for court management. The AOC trains and certifies court interpreters offers judicial education and oversees programs created to resolve conflict, assist with family permanency, and improve access to justice.
Are court records public information?
Nevada court records are considered public information unless otherwise stated by law. Generally, you can access the following information:
- Parties involved
- Docket entries
- Case description
- Court minutes
- Court orders
- Jury files and records
- Sentencing information
- Witness information
Search Nevada Court Records
There are several ways to search for Nevada court records. You can search online or contact the court where the case was heard. The following links will provide you with a list of every court in the state, most of which have information regarding court records on their website.
You can search for cases filed in the Nevada Supreme Court and Court of Appeals online via the Appellate Courts Case Lookup:
- Search by Case: To search by case, you will need to know the five-digit case number.
- Search by Participant: You can also search by the respondent or appellant’s name or company/organization name.
Your search will result in a list of docket entries and the following details:
- Case Number
- Case Title
- Filed Date
- Category (civil appeal, criminal appeal, original proceeding)
- Type (general, criminal, family law, life, fast track, administrative agency, other)
- Subtype (proper person, child custody/proper person, post-conviction/proper person, direct, general)
- Case Status
- Court (Supreme Court or Court of Appeals)
There is no charge to use the online public portal. If you would like for the Clerk’s Office to provide you with copies of filed documents, there is a fee of $.50 per page. The Clerk’s Office typically requires that you submit payment with your request.
To expedite the process, make sure to include the docket number or case name with any other details when you submit your request.
Some courts require that you request records in writing or in person. If you cannot obtain the court records you are looking for online, contact the court where the case was heard for further instructions.
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 179.070 defines a criminal history record as information managed by criminal justice agencies about an individual’s arrests, indictments, sentences, detention, correctional supervision, dispositions, acquittals, convictions. Criminal history records also include information about the status of an individual’s parole or probation and details regarding the registration of a convicted person under NRS 179C.
Criminal history records do not include the following information:
- Intelligence or investigative information regarding juveniles
- Materials identifying wanted persons or fugitives
- Chronological, original records of entry
- Gaming industry license or permit information
- Court records and lists of court opinions and decisions, public judicial proceedings, and information disclosed during public judicial proceedings.
- Misdemeanor traffic violations.
- Certain traffic offense records
- Actions taken by the state board of pardons/parole commissioners, with the exception of an offender’s parole or probation status. except information concerning the status of an offender on parole or probation.
- Records from out-of-state agencies.
The Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History maintains criminal records; it is part of the Records Bureau located in Carson City, NV at the Department of Public Safety’s Records, Communications and Compliance Division
This section provides detailed information regarding specific types of criminal records, which criminal justice agency maintains them, and how to search for them:
- Sex offenders
- Juvenile criminals
Based on the 2019 FBI Crime Data Explorer, Nevada arrest statistics were as follows:
- 161,076 arrests in 2019
- 29,745 arrests for crimes against persons (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, certain sex offenses, assault, human trafficking, etc.)
- 18,924 arrests for property crimes (offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, vandalism, fraud, forgery and counterfeiting, embezzlement, arson, etc.)
- 112,407 arrests for crimes against society (drug abuse violations, driving under the influence, drunkenness, disorderly conduct, weapons violations, prostitution, gambling, family and children vagrancy, etc.)
- There were 493.8 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Nevada, compared to 379.4 per 100,000 people in the US
- There were 2,322.1 property crimes per 100,000 people in Nevada, compared to 2,101.9 per 100,000 people in the US
Search Arrest Records in Nevada
You can request your fingerprint-based Nevada criminal history record from the Criminal History Repository. Only the subject of the records is permitted to make the request. You will need to submit the following information with your request:
- The DPS-006 form filled out in its entirety
- Proof of identity (must submit a completed standard fingerprint card FD-258)
- The appropriate fee. Acceptable forms of payment are a cashier’s check or money order
- Payment needs to be made payable to the Department of Public Safety Records, Communications and Compliance Division
- Mail all documentation to the Department of Public Safety Records, Communications and Compliance Division, 333 West Nye Lane, Suite 100, Carson City, NV 89706
The Criminal History Repository will issue a notice of no criminal history record document if the search does not turn up any results.
If you do not include all of the required information, the Criminal History Repository will return your request without processing it.
Requests for criminal history records typically take 45 to process and mail results.
You can also go to your local police department or sheriff’s office to check your criminal history record, but you will only receive records that are specific to that department or office.
NRS Chapter 171.108 states the following concerning warrants of arrest:
- A magistrate is required to sign the warrant and include the office name
- A warrant of arrest must include the defendant’s name or identifying information if the name is unknown
- A warrant of arrest is required to include the date that it was issued and the town, city, or county where it was issued
- A warrant of arrest is required to define what offense the defendant is being charged with in the complaint
- A warrant of arrest orders the arrest of the defendant, who must be brought before the closest magistrate
Search Warrant Records in Nevada
Several Nevada courts allow you to search for warrants online:
- Clark County case search
- Henderson Justice Court warrant list
- Henderson Municipal Court warrant list
- Las Vegas Municipal court warrant search
- North Las Vegas Municipal Court warrant search
You can also call your local law enforcement agency to inquire about any outstanding warrants.
Nevada Juvenile Criminal Records
Under NRS Chapter 62A.030, a “child” is defined as the following:
- An individual under the age of 18
- An individual under the age of 21 who committed an illegal act prior to turning 18 years old and is subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court
- A juvenile sex offender falling under the juvenile court’s jurisdiction according to both NRS 62F.205 to 62F.360
A “child” does not refer to the following:
- An individual exempt from the juvenile court’s jurisdiction as described in NRS 62B.330
- An individual who is heard as an adult in criminal proceedings under Nevada statute
Nevada’s juvenile justice system is managed by both the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and the counties of the state. Counties are responsible for front end duties such as the following:
- Juvenile Arrest
- Juvenile Referral
- Juvenile Diversion
- Juvenile Court Services
- Juvenile Detention Facilities
- Juvenile Probation Services
DCFS manages juvenile correctional parole services. Generally, youths under the age of 12 are not placed in a correctional or private facility. However, if a youth is 8 years of age or older and needs placement in an institution or correctional facility, or requires psychiatric services, the state can commit the youth.
The Nevada DCFS oversees three state facilities:
After successfully completing the state’s programs, juveniles are released with supervision. The Youth Parole Bureau provides case management services and mental health services. The Youth Parole Bureau has offices in Elko, Reno, Fallon, and Las Vegas.
Juvenile records in Nevada are considered confidential and can only be accessed by a court order. The person requesting the juvenile record must have a legitimate interest in that record.
Nevada Inmate Records
The Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) maintains the state’s inmate records. The NDOC manages the state’s Conservation Camps, Correctional Facilities, and Transitional Houses. You can view a map or see the list below for more information:
- Wells Conservation Camp (WCC)
- Three Lakes Valley Conservation Camp (TLVCC)
- Three Lakes Valley Boot Camp (TLVBC)
- Tonopah Conservation Camp (TCC)
- Stewart Conservation Camp (SCC)
- Pioche Conservation Camp (PCC)
- Jean Conservation Camp (JCC)
- Humboldt Conservation Camp (HCC)
- Ely Conservation Camp (ECC)
- Carlin Conservation Camp (CCC)
- Silver Springs Conservation Camp (SSCC) *This site is closed
- Warm Springs Correctional Center (WSCC)
- Southern Desert Correctional Center (SDCC)
- Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC)
- Lovelock Correctional Center (LCC)
- High Desert State Prison (HDSP)
- Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center (FMWCC)
- Ely State Prison (ESP)
- Southern Nevada Correctional Center (SNCC) *This site is closed
- Nevada State Prison (NSP) *This site is closed
You can search for an inmate online or by submitting a public records request.
Search Inmate Records Online
You can search for Nevada inmates online by offender ID or by name. An online inmate search will provide you with these details:
- Offender ID
- Height Weight
- Custody Level
- Prior Felonies
- Booking Information
- Offense Description
- Sentence Details
- Parole Hearing Details
- Offender Book ID
The state of Nevada also allows you to download various offender databases, including the following:
Family Services handles all questions concerning inmates. The agency can be reached at 775-887-3367. Victim Services assists victims’ questions regarding inmates; their number is 775-887-3393. Law enforcement personnel needing access to the portal can send an email or call 775-887-3309 for assistance.
Submit a Public Records Request for Inmate Records
Under NRS Chapter 239, you can submit a Public Record Request (PRR) to inspect or copy public records or books to the Nevada Department of Corrections. Your PRR should provide as many details as possible in order to ensure a successful search. The NDOC must respond to your request within five business days.
The fee per page copied is 15 cents or if requested in electronic form, the cost of the electronic removable device, such as a flash drive. Shipping fees will be added to the total as well.
The NDOC will notify you of the total fees prior to processing your request. Checks or money orders must be made payable to the Nevada Department of Corrections. The NDOC will mail you the information via FEDEX.
Sex Offender Information
NRS Chapter 179D defines sex offenders as an individual that was convicted of any of the following sexual offense:
- Sexual assault
- Battery with intent to commit sexual assault
- Statutory sexual seduction
- Lewdness with a child
- Indecent or obscene exposure
A complete list of sex offenses is provided in NRS 179D.097.
You can search for sex offenders in the state of Nevada online by name, vehicle, or geographical location. A search will result in the following information:
- Tier Level
- Date of Birth
- Scars, Tattoos, and Marks
- Vehicle Information
- Physical Description
- Conviction Date
- Conviction Description
- Court Name
- Conviction Name
- Offense Location
- Institution Name
For more information regarding sex offenders in Nevada, you can contact the following agencies:
- The Sex Offender Registry of the Records, Communications and Compliance Division at 775-684-6262 (ext. 2)
- The Nevada Attorney General’s Office at 775-684-1100
- Local law enforcement agencies
Vital records include life events such as birth, marriage, death, divorce, and adoption. Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) is the agency that oversees the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Under NRS 440.650, the Office of Vital Records requires that you have a direct and tangible interest in the record you are requesting. You must show proof of identity when submitting a request for a vital record.
Certified Copies of Birth and Death Certificates
The Office of Vital Records keeps Nevada birth and death certificates dating back to July 1, 1911. Generally records for events occurring before 1911 can be found in the County Recorder’s office where the event took place.
Birth and death records are considered confidential in Nevada. Only qualified access can obtain birth and death records. Those that are considered a qualified applicant include:
- The subject of the record
- Children or grandchildren
- Legal Guardian
- Attorneys or other legal representatives of the above
- Insurance agencies
- Law enforcement
You can order birth and death certificates online from VitalChek or by mail.
- Order online via VitalChek: VitalChek requires that you submit proof of identity when ordering birth or death certificates online. VitalChek uses an Identity Verification Document for certain orders. The fee is $37.50 per certified copy and takes up to two weeks for delivery.
- Order by mail: You can order birth or death certificates from the Nevada Office of Vital Records by mailing in your application, payment (credit card, cashier’s check, money order, or check), and proof of identification to the Office of Vital Records, 4150 Technology Way, Suite 104, Carson City, Nevada 89706. The fee is $25.00 per certified copy.
If you are ordering a birth or death certificate by mail and using a credit card, be sure to include the following:
- A copy of the cardholder’s driver’s license
- Authorization for Credit Card Use
If you need to make a correction to a birth or death certificate, Nevada offers a Correction Packet with instructions. Corrections are $45.00 each.
Marriage Licenses and Divorce Decrees
The Office of Vital Records can search for and confirm marriages and divorces from 1968 to September 2005.
To order a certified copy of a Nevada marriage certificate, you must submit a written letter to the County Recorder in the county where the license was issued.
The Nevada County Clerk that granted the divorce can issue divorce records.
The state of Nevada charges a fee of $10 per name searched for record verification. You will need to complete the Request for Marriage or Divorce Search of Records form, include payment (credit card, money order, or check). If paying by credit card, you must complete the Credit Authorization Form and photo ID.
The Nevada Marriage Officiant Public Search allows you to search for a minister by first or last name, organization name, or county.
According to NRS 127.140, adoption records in Nevada are sealed and considered confidential. Adoption records are not open for inspection by any person with the exception of the following:
- Court order
- Eligible State Register for Adoptions individuals
- Certain information made available for inspection by a natural parent, an adoptive parent, or sibling that does not contain confidential, identifying information
The Nevada Adoption Reunion Registry database allows adoptees, birthparents, and relatives to register for a match, otherwise known as a family connection. There must be a notarized application in the database for a match to take place between applicants.
Only certain individuals can register for a family connection with the Nevada Adoption Reunion Registry Database:
- Adoptees who are 18 years of age or older
- Birth Parents who no longer have parental rights or have relinquished a child for adoption
- An adoptee’s relatives who are related within a certain degree
Registration requirements depend on who you are as the registrar:
- Adoptees: Adoptee application
- Birth Parents: Birth Parent application
- Relatives: There are two steps for relatives. The first step is to register your contact information (Relative Part 1). If a match is found, the Adoption Reunion Registry Coordinator will provide you with more information. A notarized Birth Parent Consent Part 2 Application is required to obtain an adoptee’s contact information.
Written confirmation for registry applications generally takes 30 days. Medical information or non-identifying requests can take up to 60 days to process.
Adoptees searching for non-identifying information can submit a Request for Non-Identifying Information for Adoptee-Adoptive Parent form. Non-identifying information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- A physical description of the birth parent(s)
- Marital status
- Adoptee’s time and place of birth, length and weight at birth, hospital, and any siblings
An adoptee is not required to register for the Adoption Reunion Registry or obtain consent from a birth parent to request non-identifying information.
- Entity Number
- NV Business ID Number
- Registered Agent Name
- Officer Name
- Mark Number
There are advanced search options as well. Your business search will result in the following information:
- Filing Date
- Type (Corporation, LLC, Partnership, etc.)
- Nevada Business ID
- Entity Number
- Mark Number
You can manage a business entity’s documents, such as certificates, formations, and renewals via this site, which uses SilverFume.
The Nevada Secretary of State offers additional public records resources including financial information, voter statistics, and more. See below for details:
Aurora is the database where Financial Disclosure Statements (FDS) and Campaign Contributions & Expenses (C&E) Reports are filed by appointed or elected public officials, political parties, candidates, non-profit corporations, political action committees, recall committees, or independent expenditures.
Click here to search for FDS and C&E Reports and FDS. Files date back to 2004.
The Nevada State Library, Archives, and Public Records manages the state’s historical records.
The State Archives Is responsible for collecting, preserving, and providing access to Nevada’s state and territorial government records, which date back to 1851.
You can conduct an Alphabetical or Subject Search of the state’s historical records. These records are pulled from over 17,000 cubic feet of state and territorial government records and more than 100,000 photos depicting the people and places that define Nevada’s history.
Subject searches include:
- Business & Labor
- Health Services
- Land Use
- Elected Officials
- Water Resources
You can also search alphabetically by subject, such as World War II, Attorney General, or Public Utilities Commission:
The Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records also offers tours and research hours Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, with the exception of state holidays. The address is 100 N. Stewart Street, Carson City, NV 89701.
Property Tax Records
Nevada’s Department of Taxation oversees the state’s property tax records, with individual county assessors and treasurers responsible for providing their county-specific records.
You can find Treasurer and Assessor pages on each Nevada county website, as listed below:
- Washoe County
- Storey County
- Lincoln County
- White Pine County
- Pershing County
- Mineral County
- Eureka County
- Humboldt County
- Lander County
- Lyon County
- Esmeralda County
- Elko County
- Douglas County
- Clark County
- Nye County
- Churchill County
- Carson City County
Below are helpful links when searching for property tax records in Nevada:
- Nevada Assessors Map
- Nevada Association of Counties Directory
- Nevada County Clerks & Treasurers Map
- Nevada County Recorders Map
The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for maintaining and providing access to driving records. Pursuant to Nevada statute, only the subject of the record can obtain driving records.
The Nevada DMV provides access to your Driver History Report in several ways.
- Self Service Kiosk and In Person: You can obtain a School Bus, 3-year, or 10-year history at any DMV office or self-service kiosk locations. You will need to have your license with you. There is no form to complete. The fee is $8.00 with a $1 kiosk processing fee. The Records Section can assist you with certified copies of driving records.
- Online: You can obtain and print a 3-year or 10-year history online using MyDMV or Nevada Official Driving Records Online. You will be required to enter the following information exactly as shown on your driver’s license:
- Driver’s License Number
- Social Security Number
- First, Middle, and Last Name
- Eye and Hair Color
- Height and Weight (Pounds)
- History Type – Three-Year History or Ten-Year History
- By Mail: You can mail a completed Application for Individual Record Information (IR 002), a check or money order made payable to DMV, and mail to DMV Records Section, 555 Wright Way, Carson City, NV 89711-0250. The cost is $8.00 or $13.00 for a certified copy.
What do I do if there is an error with my public records in Nevada?
If you think that there’s a mistake with any of your public records, it is best to reach out to the government agency responsible for the record. Many agencies provide FAQs on their websites that directly address what to do if you feel there is an error. You can also contact the agency directly via phone, email, or by visiting in person.