I would argue public records are the back bone of skip tracing, background checks and many other investigations for any real-world private detective, but if you are denied access, then you need to know what options you have to shake loose these valuable government records!
The paid databases have their place in our industry, but if you don’t have access, you need to be a public records ninja!
Also, the paid, online databases only have a fraction (a fraction!) of what’s available when you get the source document themselves!
Know these three things…
1. Know your state law.
Find your state law, read it and learn it. I have gotten access to MANY public records after receiving a “no” from a government employee simply by knowing the law! The employee may simply tell everyone who seems to be an “outsider”, “No.” I’ve seen it happen! But, when you know the law, things tend to go your way!
Pro Tip: Read the law directly and don’t rely solely on a summary prepared by a well-meaning organization or person – even a reliable organization. Understand the law itself and not just a summary of the law.
2. Know what is “exempt” under your state law.
You can make a big fuss and spend a lot of time trying to get access to something that is spelled out in law as exempt from disclosure.
“Exempt” means it does not have to be released by the government. These are typically records like juvenile arrest records or medical records.
3. Know the process set-up in state law to challenge a denied public records request.
This usually includes the “enforcement mechanism”. For example, it might spell out that challenges to a denial of public records can be submitted to your states Attorney General or similar office.
If you like this helpful tip, then don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. If not, you can get it right here…
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.