Are Idaho Records Public?
Idaho's public records law enables interested persons to obtain copies of public documents from designated record custodians. Per the Idaho Code § 74-102, interested persons or entities can inspect Idaho public records at any custodian agency within business hours. In turn, public agencies, including local and state agencies, must create, store, file, re-create, and issue public documents on request to interested parties. Publicly accessible documents may include the following:
- Idaho sex offenders data
- Idaho divorce records
- Idaho court records
- Idaho arrest or incident reports
- Idaho property records
- Idaho inmate records
- Idaho bankruptcy records
The Idaho Code 74-101 declines public records as any writing containing general information maintained, stored, or created by a local or state agency. In addition, public records may exist as videotapes, maps, symbols, architecture plans, audio files, emails, and SMS. However, a record official's personal notes are not classified as public documents, provided the note is not shared with other persons.
Who Can Access Idaho Public Records?
Under the 74-102. Public Records — Right to Examine, all interested persons or entities can access and obtain copies of Idaho public records from custodian agencies within official business hours. Nevertheless, not all public documents are accessible to the public. The state's open records law exempts certain records from public disclosure if it violates the privacy of record subjects. For example, law enforcement records containing the identity of crime victims and witnesses are excluded from public view.
What is Exempted Under the Idaho Public Records Law?
The Idaho public record law lists certain information as exempt records. The exemption clause prevents custodian agencies from providing access to the listed records. In some cases, custodian agencies may redact sections or whole documents from the public. Under the open records law, the following data are exempt from public access:
Court Files in Judicial Proceedings
According to the state’s public records law, court files in judicial proceedings are exempt from public access. Furthermore, the law exempts memoranda and notes used in making decisions in judicial proceedings. However, the exemption does not prevent disclosing information necessary for a background check on an individual, albeit the state may heavily redact the information to protect sensitive data. Idaho Statutes 74-104.
Investigatory Records and Juvenile Records
Law enforcement records are generally open to the public but are exempt from public access under the following conditions:
- Interferes with investigation proceedings;
- May lead to invasion of personal privacy;
- Denies a person's right to an impartial adjudication or fair trial;
- Reveals the identity of a confidential source in a criminal investigation;
- Endangers the safety and life of a law enforcement employee;
- Reveals investigative techniques and strategies;
- Discloses the identity of a complainant in child abuse, neglect, or abandonment case, unless the reporting party consents to the disclosure of the information; Idaho Statutes 74-124.
Pursuant to chapter 5, title 20, juvenile records are primarily confidential. Idaho Code 20-533A exempts. However, the court may disclose specific information in a juvenile record to entities with a legitimate interest in the treatment, welfare, and protection of the record bearer under 13 years of age. In addition, the court may also release certain non-confidential juvenile information to the school district where the juvenile is enrolled.
Personnel information detailing a public employee's marital status, sex, race, contact details, performance evaluations, and social security number is not disclosed. In addition, state laws prevent the disclosure of the names of applicants to classifier positions. However, a public employee's position and salary scale are open to public access. Exempted personnel records also include retired public employees' financial records, home addresses, and telephone numbers.
Under Idaho Statutes Title 74-106(4), the following personal records are not accessible to public members:
- Personal debt records filed with a public agency;
- An individual or entities bank records coated by a public depository for public funds transactions;
- Information on ownership of bonds and other financial instruments;
- Vital statistics records;
- Military records according to the Idaho Code 65-301;
- The last four digits of a driver's license number, employee identification number, or a business's tax ID number.
Trade Secrets and Data
The Idaho public records law exempts the disclosure of an individual or entities' trade secrets. Trade secrets, in this context, refer to formulas, computer programs, patterns, methods, processes, and techniques that grant individuals or entities an economic advantage over other competitors.
Likewise, this section covers a business's production records, housing, financial, and financing records inspected or submitted to a public agency as required by the law.
Under Idaho Code Title 74 - 108, the following archaeological are exempt from disclosure:
- All data identifying the location of endangered or archaeological findings, provided the information is not already public knowledge;
- Oil and gas production files and documents submitted to the oil and gas conservation commission in line with Idaho Code Chapter 3, Title 47.
Data about the Uniform Securities Act
Unless disclosed by the director of the Finance Department, the following records are exempt from disclosure:
A record created or maintained by the director of the state finance department in connection with an inspection or audit under section Idaho Code 30-14-411(d). According to chapter 14, title 30 Residential address or social security number, unless used as a business address.
Where Can I Access Public Criminal Court Records in Idaho
Idaho public criminal court records are primarily maintained by the court clerk where the case was recorded. In Idaho, district courts handle criminal cases and are responsible for storing and issuing copies of these court documents to interested parties. Interested persons may obtain Idaho public criminal court records by contacting the court clerk’s office in charge of the documents. Court clerks might provide access through in-person, mail, or email options.
Similarly, online copies of Idaho criminal court records are obtainable via the iCourt Portal. The portal maintains statewide storage of court records from 1995 to date. Notwithstanding, record seekers may also obtain older criminal court records via the platform.
To search for criminal court records on the iCourt portal, record seekers may use the basic or smart search option. A requester must input the record bearer's name or court case number and select the "submit" tab to access Idaho criminal court records. In addition, the iCourt features advanced search options for precise search results. The listed advanced options include:
- General options;
- Party Search Criteria;
- Case Search Criteria;
- Protection Order Filters.
This option allows requesters to search court cases by selecting the court location and search criteria in the drop-down menu.
Party Search Criteria
Using the party search criteria, record seekers can search by a party or business name and aliases. They may also filter by booking number, FBI number, and SO number.
Case Search Criteria
The case search criteria allow record seekers to filter search results by case status, file start date, case type, file end date, and judicial officer.
Protection Order Filter
Also, record seekers may use this option to filter search results by protection order type or status.
How Do I Find Public Records in Idaho?
Requesters must contact the designated record custodian to get Idaho public records. For example, persons seeking to obtain inmate records must contact the Idaho Department of Corrections. Similarly, requesters searching for Idaho vital records must send a request to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the custodian of vital records in the state. State residents and non-residents can learn how to do a public record search in Idaho via the following general steps:
Know the Requirements for Obtaining Idaho Public Documents
Record custodians in Idaho have different requirements before issuing public documents to interested parties. Thus, requesters seeking to understand how to access public records in Idaho must start by identifying the record custodians and their requirements. For instance, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will only issue public records to the record subject and other authorized persons. Likewise, juvenile records are only accessible to the record subject, school districts, and other authorized entities.
Contact the Custodian Agency Holding the Public Document
Record seekers must contact the agency responsible for issuing the preferred information. Under the Idaho public records law, custodian agencies are responsible for maintaining, storing, and giving copies of public records to requesters. Through custodian bodies, record seekers may obtain public documents via online or offline options. In some cases, record seekers must visit the agency's physical address to view or inspect public documents. That said, listed below are some of the custodian agencies in Idaho:
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Idaho marriage, divorce, death, and birth records are under the agency's jurisdiction. It maintains a statewide database of all vital records documented in the state's counties and cities. Through the custodian agency, interested and eligible persons can order a public document online or offline at the address below:
Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0036
Idaho Arrest Records and Reports
Law enforcement agencies at the county level are responsible for maintaining and generating arrest records for interested public members. Therefore, record seekers must contact the law enforcement agency overseeing the region to obtain arrest records or reports. In contrast, the iCourt Portal maintains a statewide catalog of all criminal convictions documented within the state.
Create and Send Request for Idaho Public Records
Record custodians will only issue copies of public records after a written or in-person request. Sometimes, the agency may provide a downloadable request form that record seekers must fill out before obtaining Idaho public records. In the absence of a request template or form, record seekers must write a request letter and include the following information:
- The requester's full name
- The case number (this applies to court records);
- Record seeker’s contact details;
- The record seeker’s full name and, or aliases;
- Government-issued ID (if required);
- Preferred mode of delivery;
- Purpose of the request - provide a detailed description of your request;
- The timeframe when the record was documented;
- The record bearer's birth date;
- Other necessary data required for obtaining public records in Idaho;
- Additional information to assist with the search.
Using Third-Party Sites
Some public records may also be accessible from third-party websites. These non-government platforms come with intuitive tools that allow for expansive searches. Record seekers may either opt to use these tools to search for a specific record or multiple records. However, users must typically provide enough information to assist with the search, such as:
- The name of the subject involved in the record (subject must be older than 18 or not juvenile)
- The address of the requestor
- A case number or file number (if known)
- The location of the document or person involved
- The last known or current address of the registrant
Government agencies do not sponsor third-party sites. Because of this, record availability and results may vary.
How Much Do Public Records Cost in Idaho
Under the Idaho public records law (Idaho Statutes Title 74 - 102 (10)), record custodians must not charge fees for the first hundred pages of a requested public record. In addition, record custodians must not charge for the first two hours of labor utilized in response to a request for a public record. In contrast, the law allows custodian agencies to charge fees for labor and to copy public documents under the following conditions:
- If the request is for more than 100 pages of Idaho public records;
- If the amount of time for obtaining the requested document exceeds two hours;
- If the document contains redacted information.
For providing copies of a microfilm or computer disc, custodian bodies must charge uniform fees not exceeding the following:
- The record custodian's cost of copying the information in that format;
- The agency's cost of converting the electronic record to another electronic format.
How Do I Look Up Public Records in Idaho?
To requesters asking, "where can I public records for free, the following are the best resources:
Record custodians do not charge fees for copies of public documents less than 100 pages. In addition, custodian agencies will not charge a fee if it takes less than two hours to procure the requested information.
Inspection or Viewing of Public Records
Similarly, record seekers can view or inspect public documents for free at the custodian's physical location. Inspection of public records is allowed during official business hours. Also, requesters can view certain public records, such as genealogy data, at computer systems in public libraries.
Requesting for Online Copies of Idaho Public Records
Idaho government agencies and departments also provide access to public records via online platforms. More so, a majority of these online platforms allow users to access information for free. For example, the Idaho Department of Corrections uses an online database to provide information on incarcerated or paroled inmates and those on probation. Therefore, record seekers can find inmate data by filling out the inmate's name and IDOC number.
Similarly, the Idaho Sex Offender Registry hosts an online search portal where public members can access all convicted sex offenders’ data in the state. Requesters can obtain sex offender information via the search options listed below:
How Long Does it Take to Obtain an Idaho Public Record?
Per Idaho Statute 74-103, it takes three to ten business days to obtain a public document after sending a request to a custodian agency.
Do I Need to State My Purpose When Requesting Public Records in Idaho?
Generally, record seekers do not need to provide a statement of purpose before obtaining public records in Idaho. Nevertheless, record custodians may take the following actions before issuing the requested documents:
- May verify the requestor's identity in line with the Idaho Code 74-113;
- Ensures the requested data is not used for compiling mail or telephone lists;
- Ensures the requested information does not violate an individual's privacy.
What Happens if I am Refused a Public Records Request?
After a record custodian denies a public record request, record seekers are authorized to file a petition with the district court in the county where the record or some parts of the records are stored. Idaho Code § 74-115(1) requires record seekers to file a petition for accessing the requested document within 180 days of the denial notice.
After the petition is filed at the court, the court clerk will fix a time for the record custodian to reply to the petition. In addition, the court will set the hearing date within 28 days after the petition is filed.
Furthermore, the court will examine both written and oral presentations from both parties (the record subject and public agency) before making a decision. Under state law, the prevailing party in the court case will receive compensation for litigation fees.
As an alternative option to filing a court case, record seekers may use a record custodian's internal appeal structure to solve a denial of requested records.
How to Remove Names from Public Search Records
Idaho state law does not allow individuals with criminal convictions to remove or delete their information from public records searches. However, the state enables persons with a non-criminal conviction to erase or remove their data from public records. As an alternative option, record bearers with certain criminal convictions can restore lost rights via the following options:
Idaho Code Ann. § 19-2604(1) enables persons in a deferred or probationary sentence to dismiss the charge and change the judgment from a felony to a misdemeanor. This process restores a record subject's civil rights, including the right to bear arms.
Persons convicted of felonies can petition the sentencing court to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor after serving the complete sentence. Furthermore, convicted persons are eligible to reduce their criminal records to misdemeanors five years after completing the sentence.
Note: The court will only reduce the charge for violent offenses if the prosecuting attorney agrees to the reduction. Furthermore, sex offenders and persons convicted of violent crimes may petition the court to expunge records after ten years of good conduct, Idaho Code Ann. § 18-8310.
Likewise, the law allows victims of human trafficking convicted of prostitution to expunge their criminal records. Also, juvenile offenders can delete their names and information from public records searches after a waiting period. Juveniles convicted of felonies can apply to seal records after reaching 18 years or five years after release from a juvenile detention center or correctional facility.
What is the Best Public Record Search Database?
Idaho government agencies and departments are primarily the best public records search database for all public records. For example, the Idaho Department of Corrections maintains the best public search database for all incarcerated and paroled offenders. In addition, convicted sex offenders' data, including registered and absconded offenders, are obtainable via the Idaho Sex Offender Registry.
At the county level, local agencies and departments provide the best resource for accessing Idaho public records. For example, the Ada County Assessor's Office is responsible for generating and issuing information on all properties within the county. The Assessor's Office maintains an online searchable portal for accessing property records in Ada County. Similarly, via an online search platform, the Canyon County Police Department maintains a list of all arrested persons alongside identifying data such as pictures, date of arrest, and charges.