Louisiana Public Records

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The following is for informational purposes only

What are Louisiana Public Records, and How are They Created?

Louisiana's Public Records Law R.S. H 44:1 - TUH 44:41 dictates the rules around the maintenance of public records and the public's right to access them. According to the law, public records are defined as:

"Public Records are defined in R.S. HTU44:1H(UTA)(2)(a) to include all of the following, including copies, duplicates, photographs (including microfilm), or other reproductions:

Louisiana Public Records
  • Books.
  • Records.
  • Writings.
  • Accounts.
  • Letters and letter books.
  • Maps.
  • Drawings.
  • Photographs.
  • Cards.
  • Tapes.
  • Recordings.
  • Memoranda.
  • Papers.
  • Documentary Materials (regardless of physical form or characteristics, and including information contained in electronic data processing equipment)."

According to Louisiana law, public bodies create, store, and maintain public records. The law states that: "A Public Body is defined in R.S. HUT44:1HUT(A) (1) as any of the following, including any committee, subcommittee, advisory board, or task force of the following:

  • Branch.
  • Department.
  • Office.
  • Agency.
  • Board.
  • Commission.
  • District.
  • Governing Authority.
  • Political Subdivision.
  • Instrumentality of State, Parish, or municipal government, or
  • Public or quasi-public nonprofit corporations designated as an entity to
  • perform a governmental or proprietary function."

"The Public Records Law is meant to ensure that public documents are preserved and open to view by the public. The Public Records Law, which operates in conjunction with Louisiana's Open Meetings Law, is the enabling legislation to ensure the mandate in TUHArticle XII, Section 3UTH of the Louisiana Constitution that states, "no person shall be denied the right to observe the deliberations of public bodies and examine public documents, except in cases established by law."

Louisiana's Division of Administration is the Commissioner of Administration and the overseer of public records. They provide a few ways for patrons to get copies of public records through the mail, fax, email, or by phone.

The Louisiana State Archives is a division of the Secretary of State and tasked with identifying, collecting, preserving, maintaining and making public record archives available to the public. The State Legislature created this agency in 1956 as the official repository for the state's historical records. Their collection spanning more than 30,000 cubic feet includes: "books on general histories, census indexes, immigration schedules, church records, and family history. Some of the more popular records requested by patrons are assessment records, colonial documents, passenger manifests for the Port of New Orleans, military service records, Confederate Pension Applications, and records from the State Land Office, among others."

 

How to Access Louisiana Public Records?

How to Access Louisiana Public Records

The Louisiana Division of Administration is the agency in charge of public records requests. They allow you to make a formal request in a few different ways:

Fax: 225.342.1057

US Mail:
Commissioner of Administration
PO Box 94095
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9095

UPS or FedEx:
Commissioner of Administration
1201 N. Third St., Suite 7-210
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

In some cases, you will have to visit the government agency in person to request and collect public records. They may charge you a fee for copies.

 

Different Types of Public Records in Louisiana

Louisiana Criminal Records

Louisiana's State Police is the government agency that handles criminal records for the state. They have set up an online portal, where the public can request copies of criminal background checks and other public records related to crime. You do have to register to use the system. Otherwise, you can just log in and search. Each criminal record costs $26, and in some cases, you will need a signed consent form from the person you are investigating.

Some common types of criminal records in Louisiana include (but are not limited to):

  • Felony and Misdemeanor Records - some common misdemeanors in Louisiana are possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, DWI/DUI, disturbing the peace, public drunkenness, underage drinking, and resisting an officer. Some popular felonies in Louisiana include rape, armed robbery, manslaughter, kidnapping, treason, and arson.
  • Jail and Inmate Records - both jails and prisons keep inmate records, and those too are public records. The Louisiana Department of Corrections has an online search tool you can use to locate criminals and their records.
  • Police Records - local police can provide copies of incident reports, police reports, sometimes mugshots, and even crime scene photos upon request.

Louisiana Court Records

Different Types of Public Records in Louisiana

Court records in Louisiana are created, stored, and maintained by each individual court. Although the Supreme Court has a website where you can search for records and opinions, you cannot find local court files there. You need to visit each individual courthouse's website and search the files there or visit them in person to obtain paper copies. The District courts are where all the action takes place.

Some types of court records in Louisiana are:

  • Civil Court Records - domestic relations cases such as divorces, marriages, paternity lawsuits, custody and child support cases, estates, conservatorships, wills, civil lawsuits, and small claims lawsuits.
  • Criminal Court Records - criminal filings for misdemeanors, felonies, and other citations. These may include things like trial paperwork, sentencing, prison transfers, and evidence related to the court case.
  • Financial Court Records - bankruptcies, liens, tax issues, company stock filings, and corporate financial reports.
  • Other Court Records - such as bench warrants, arrest warrants, judgments, traffic tickets and other traffic violations, and name changes.

The Louisiana court system is split into three levels, first the Supreme Court, the District Court, and Circuit Court and Municipal Court.

Louisiana Arrest Records

Louisiana arrest records are managed by the Louisiana State Police and local law enforcement agencies. You can use the State Police website to search online for criminal records and arrest reports. You can also contact local law enforcement (police stations) for current arrest information or even go online and visit the courthouse's websites to find convictions and arrest data for offenders that way. 

Some different types of arrests records in Louisiana are:

  • Drug charges.
  • Murder.
  • Burglary.
  • Spying on someone or using a device to eavesdrop in a private space.
  • Prostitution.
  • DUIs.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Booking details like fingerprints and mugshots.
  • Arrest warrants granted by a judge.
  • Bench warrants for not appearing in court.
  • Crime scene photos.
  • Witness statements.
  • Property crimes and accompanying paperwork.
  • Vehicle records if one was used during the crime.

Louisiana Vital Records

The Louisiana Department of Health is the agency in charge of collecting, keeping, and managing all vital records for the state. They also handle amendments to correct vital records, paternity information, and health statistics for the state. You can order copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates for a fee. They allow you to order them via the mail, in person at one of their offices, or through the internet, fax, and phone using the VitalCheck system. They do charge extra fees for this service, but it might be quicker than the other two methods.

 

Other Public Records in Louisiana

Other Public Records in Louisiana

Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, other types of public records you can find in the state of Louisiana include, but are not limited to:

  • Government budgets and annual reports.
  • Driving records (without personally identifiable information).
  • Home addresses.
  • Maps, books, and tapes.
  • State health and wellness statistics.
  • Air and water quality (pollution reports).
  • Property records, real estate deals, and land deeds.
  • Home phone numbers.
  • Police and accident reports.
  • Liens & tax issues.
  • Company incorporation records.
  • Demographics.
  • Library Research.
  • Personnel records for state agencies.
  • Permits, licenses, and certifications.
  • Government employee salaries.
 

What Information is Not Public Record in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, not all information is public record. Some of it must remain private to protect citizens. Some examples of things that are not public records in Louisiana are:

  • "The work papers of the Legislative Auditor,
  • Documents containing trade secrets or proprietary information,
  • Documents pertaining to the security procedures, investigative techniques, or containing internal security information of a body.
  • Accident reports, or information in accident reports, as provided in R.S. 32:398.
  • Social Security Numbers of teachers.
  • Private and unlisted phone numbers.
  • Protected health information as defined in R.S. 29:762(10).
  • Investigative records (R.S. 44:3) held by the attorney general, police, district attorney, etc. pertaining to pending criminal litigation. This includes videos pertaining to the investigation, which should remain confidential until final adjudication or settlement. AG Op. No. 08-0218. This includes video or audio recordings generated by law enforcement officer body-worn cameras that are found by the custodian to violate an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Names of minors must be redacted from police records when presented to third parties."