The mission of this website is to provide all Maryland citizens with the right to obtain, preview, and examine public records. This ensures that these residents are given access to such information, which is in accordance with the Maryland Public Information Act. This law specifies that all government information and records are presumed accessible to the public.
The goal of this website is to provide access to these public records in an expedient and concise manner, and without requiring personal information unless the requested information is ruled confidential by law, or court decision.
The information presented on this site contains criminal records, court records, vital records, and over 50 million transparent public records.
Most records generated or maintained by the government in Maryland are open to the general public. The Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) defines a public record as any record made, received, or used by a public agency while carrying out official business. Interested individuals can request and obtain copies of Maryland public records by reaching out to the right agency in charge of a record. A public record is not limited to written materials. According to the PIA, a public record may exist in various formats, such as photographs, photostats, films, recordings, microfilms, computerized records, tapes, maps, cards, drawings, and any other material used to store information. For instance, a public record may include e-mail messages printed or electronically stored.
Some examples of public records available in Maryland include:
However, a public record does not include the personal matters and family engagements of any government official. A record seeker can make a Public Information Act request at any government agency (state, county, or municipal) in Maryland. This can be done by conducting a public data search at the relevant agency in charge of the record. Some records can be obtained through a free public data search, while some typically come at a cost.
Interested persons who wish to find public records in Maryland must contact the public agency in charge of the desired records. Under the PIA, public agencies are mandated to provide access to public records upon request from any interested person. That said, there are no uniform requirements due to different agencies handling different documents. Some of the basic steps to obtain a public record in Maryland include:
Public city 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 will need to provide enough information to assist with the search such as:
Third-party sites are not sponsored by government agencies. Because of this, record availability and results may vary.
Public records can also be accessed from third-party websites. These third-party public records aggregate websites offer search services that are non-geographically limited, making the search result expansive and typically straightforward. However, users will need to provide enough information to assist with the search, such as:
Third-party public records search websites are not government-sponsored services. Therefore, the availability and accuracy of results can vary.
A requester can look up public records for free in Maryland by inspecting the records or accessing online versions of the record. Although, obtaining public records for free depends on the type of record and the agency in charge of such records. To inspect a record, interested persons must contact the record custodian. Most times, agencies allow in-person requests that allow individuals to visit and inspect records during office hours.
Searching for online versions of a record is another way to look up public records for free in Maryland. Often than not, public agencies provide or maintain an online database where the public can access their records. For instance, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services provides online public access to the sex offender registry in the state. Interested persons can search for sex offender information in a particular area using the address, city, offender address type, zip, zip plus, and other search combination available on the database search. Additionally, a person can conduct a free public records search at any county clerk's office or county recorder’s office in Maryland to view documents. However, a low-cost fee may apply if they want to obtain a copy of such documents.
The state of Maryland began collecting public records in 1865, and these records typically cover all 23 counties. Over the last three decades, the standard of record keeping has been moving to the digital medium, meaning both government websites and third party organizations increasingly offer access to these records. Because of this availability and transparency, Maryland residents are offered the right to contribute to the commitment of the United States to be a fair and just society for all.