Colorado's Open Records Act (CORA) defines and designates how public records may be accessed and by whom. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, "The Colorado Open Records Act "CORA" requires that most public records be available to the public. A "public record" includes most writings made, maintained, or kept by our office. However, there are some exceptions concerning records made available under CORA.
Anyone can request public records in the possession of a government office, including the Secretary of State's office."
In Colorado, public records are created by law enforcement, lawyers, government agencies, and various personnel, the courts, and other state and local organizations. In some cases, an individual may contribute paperwork, which later becomes public record.
The Colorado Open Records Act stipulates that "All public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times, except as provided in this part 2 or as otherwise provided by law, but the official custodian of any public records may make such rules with reference to the inspection of such records as are reasonably necessary for the protection of such records and the prevention of unnecessary interference with the regular discharge of the duties of the custodian or the custodian's office."
The Colorado Secretary of State is the government agency in charge of public records. They process requests upon receipt. However, they warn that not all public records are stored with them. In many cases, you will have to contact the government agency which has custody of the records you need.
Colorado's State Archives office is the agency in charge of keeping historical public records. They have a website making it easy to perform an online search. Among their collections, they store historical records, legal records from the courts (divorce and probate), mining data, legislative records, water records, and military documents. They also offer resources for genealogy.
To access the state of Colorado's public records, follow the steps below:
If the Secretary of State does not have the records you are looking for, you may have to visit other government agencies to retrieve them. The process of accessing records with them may be different.
The Colorado Judicial Branch is the agency in charge of all court and criminal records. You cannot access any records through their website. However, they have partners with LexisNexis to put records online using a tool called CoCourts. This portal allows you to search for records and view them, but you cannot get copies unless you visit the actual courthouse who processed the criminal trial. They also offer criminal court records using another service called Background Information Services (BIS), where you can pay to access criminal records online. Both services do charge fees for online access.
Some common types of criminal records in Colorado include (but are not limited to):
You can use both of the services listed above to find and review criminal records. However, for copies, you need to visit the courthouse in person. Some local police stations may also offer them to you upon request.
Court records in Colorado, are stored and maintained by each local courthouse or court type. The Colorado Judicial Branch maintains court records online using two different tools CoCourts , and BIS. Both of these services charge fees to search for records. If you need actual copies of documents, you will need to visit the courthouse where the proceeding took place. They allow public access to records but will charge you a fee for processing.
Some types of court records in Colorado are:
Courts in Colorado are organized in six levels, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, then District Court, Juvenile and Probate Courts, County, and Municipal Courts, and then Water Court.
Along with online access, you can visit each courthouse in person to pick up copies of documents and files.
Colorado arrest records are available to the general public through two websites, the CoCourts or BIS background check service. Colorado has its own internal CICJIS portal for exchanging criminal information between government agencies. When accessing records online, you must pay a fee. You can also visit the courthouses in person or the local police for arrest information. You may also have to pay a fee but can get actual paper copies.
Some different types of arrests records in Colorado are:
Each individual police station collects, creates, stores, and maintains their own arrest records. The courts will also have copies of some arrest-related records. You can consult both resources to find what you need.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is the agency in charge of collecting, storing, and disseminating vital records for the state. They offer birth and death certificates, adoption records, along with marriage and divorce certificates upon request. They can supply you with copies in person, but they also offer two online options with VitalChek and GoCertificates. Additionally, you can order them through the mail or by phone.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, property records in Colorado are also public. Here are the others:
Not all records are public records in Colorado. Things like medical records, trust fund accounts, trade secrets, marketing plans, warrants, sealed or juvenile criminal records are not public records. Also, records that contain personally identifiable details like social security numbers, tax IDs, driver's license numbers, and other information will not be provided. If public records contain these items, they will be redacted (blacked out) before given to anyone.