Arizona law defines public records as "Everything created or received by a public body, or public officer that relates to public business or is created or received in the course of conducting public business (even if on personal computers)." According to ARS 41-151.18, public records include "all books, papers, maps, photographs, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics … made or received by any governmental agency in pursuance of law or in transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation."
Officers of government agencies and legal professionals create public records. Sometimes individuals fill out forms that later become public records in Arizona. Law enforcement agents and other government officials also create them and are responsible for maintaining them and storing them.
"Any person may request to examine or be furnished copies, printouts or photographs of any public record during regular office hours or may request that the custodian mail a copy of any public record not otherwise available on the public body's website to the requesting person. The custodian of such records shall promptly furnish such copies, printouts, or photographs and may charge a fee if the facilities are available, except that public records for purposes listed in section 39-122 or 39-127 shall be furnished without charge."
The Arizona State Library, Archives, & Public Records (ASLAPR) office is the place to start. Public records are stored and maintained by various government agencies, and the ASLAPR has a listing of who to contact for copies.
The State Archives and Records Management Center is the agency in charge of archived records. They keep copies of birth certificates, death records, genealogy documents, along with naturalization and school records dating back beyond 50 years. They also keep records of old Supreme Court cases and water rights records.
Arizona's Ombudsman has a guide to getting copies of public records. It reads as follows:
If you are still denied access to the records you require, you can take your case to the courts.
Arizona's Judicial Branch offers a centralized website where the public can easily search for criminal records pertaining to criminal charges, convictions, sentencing, and other records 24/7. However, they do not guarantee the accuracy of records stored online.
Arizona criminal records may contain detailed physical descriptions of the offender, fingerprints, mugshots, prison records, sentencing, charges, court files, and more.
Some common types of criminal records in Arizona include (but are not limited to):
Arizona uses the eAccess system for storing and maintaining criminal and court records. The general public is urged to use this system rather than visit in person. You can also visit the Arizona Department of Corrections to look up inmate data and criminal records that way.
Court records in Arizona, for the most part, are all stored online for easy access. However, they do charge fees per document or offer bulk plans if you need more records on a regular basis. Some of the types of court cases available are lawsuits, criminal proceedings, property records, divorces, marriages, child support, civil filings, and small claims disputes. Along with the eAccess option, you can visit the actual courthouse to obtain paper copies after paying a fee.
Some types of court records in Arizona are:
Courts in Arizona are organized in four levels, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, then the Superior Court and Tax Court, and then Justice of the Peace Court and Municipal Court.
Court records in Arizona are maintained by Arizona's Judicial Branch. They use the online eAccess system to handle public record requests, but visitors can also show up in person at the courthouse for copies.
Although local police handle arresting individuals and filing out the initial paperwork, the Arizona Judicial Branch maintains and stores all Arizona arrest records online. These records may include court documents related to the case, fingerprints, mugshots, citations, police reports, and a full description of the offender.
Some different types of arrests records in Arizona are:
The Arizona Department of Public Safety is the government agency in charge of keeping and disseminating arrest and criminal records. You can request records through their website or in person. They do charge a fee, and records requests may take a few days to arrive. You may also contact local police for some types of arrest records.
Arizona's Department of Health Services maintains all vital records for the state. They issue copies of vital records upon request. They have birth and death certificates, marriage and divorce records, and genealogy reports as well. Arizona uses the VitalChek system for ordering copies of vital records online. They do charge fees for certified and non-certified copies. They also allow walk-in service in their Phoenix office.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, other types of public records you can find in the state of Arizona include, but are not limited to:
According to Arizona law, things that will not be supplied to the general public are unserved protection orders, mental health records, juvenile criminal records, probate cases, witness and victim information, as well as personally identifiable details like bank account details, social security numbers, and driver's license numbers. If records with these items on them are released, that information will be blacked out.