Maryland's Attorney General's Office provides guidance on the Maryland Public Information Act. They describe the state policy as: "The public's right to information about government activities lies at the heart of a democratic government. Maryland's Public Information Act (PIA) grants the people of this State a broad right of access to public records while protecting legitimate governmental interests and the privacy rights of individual citizens."
The Attorney General's Office provides a PIA manual and some FAQs to help patrons obtain the records they need.
Various state and local government agencies create public records. When someone is born or dies, public records are created to mark those events too. Local law enforcement also creates public records when they arrest someone, photograph and fingerprint them. The courts create records throughout the day filing cases, making motions, and mediating disputes. In many cases, individuals and legal professionals also help to create public records in Maryland.
"A public record is defined as the original or copy of any documentary material in any form created or received by an agency in connection with the transaction of public business. Included in this definition are written materials, books, photographs, photocopies, firms, microfilms, records, tapes, computerized records, maps, drawings, and other materials."
Maryland's Attorney General's Office is the government agency in charge of instructing the public on how to request records. However, records are created, stored, maintained, and issued by each individual state and local government agency or organization. General requests for public records may also be obtained through the Maryland Attorney General's Office by mail.
The Maryland State Archives is the agency in charge of collecting, preserving, and storing all historical public records for the state. Although they have paper documents you can review in person, they also have an extensive library online that you can search through. Some of the things you will find are census documents dating back to 1776, school records, government publications, vital records, historical documents, land and cemetery records, and much more. Maryland is steeped in history, and they encourage patrons to browse their collections.
Maryland's Attorney General's Office is the agency in charge of public records for the state. They encourage you to contact state, county, or municipal entities for detailed information. They offer this method to obtain records:
You can also submit requests for general public records directly to the Attorney General's Office or call or email them for more information.
Maryland's criminal records are handled by state and local law enforcement agencies. The Maryland State Police have a department that handles public records requests, and they supply police reports as you need them. You can also check Maryland's court records to find conviction information and court documents related to criminal records. If the person was incarcerated, the Maryland Division of Corrections would have information related to criminal convictions and other details. You can use online services or visit these resources in person for records.
Some common types of criminal records in Maryland include (but are not limited to):
Court records in Maryland are created, stored, and disseminated by the Maryland Courts. They have an extensive website with lots of features to help court patrons. They allow the public free access to court records except for the following items:
Some types of court records in Maryland are:
Although some court documents appear online, you can also visit the courthouse in person to request copies of court records in Maryland.
Maryland arrest records are created by law enforcement and the courts. You can also request background checks through the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Local police may also be able to provide you with some fresh arrest records, and you can always check the Maryland Division of Corrections to find convicted felons and their arrest records in Maryland.
Some different types of arrests records in Maryland are:
Maryland's Department of Health is the agency in charge of all vital records for the state. They collect, store, and preserve all vital records. You can order copies of birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage and divorce certificates. They also handle adoption paperwork and health statistics. They offer parents a commemorative birth certificate option instead of a regular birth certificate for their children.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, property records in Maryland are also public. Here are the others:
According to Maryland's Public Information Act, a few things are not considered public records.
"For example, some public records are confidential under federal or state statutes, under court rules, or under various common law privileges such as attorney-client privilege and executive privilege. GP § 4-301. The PIA itself also protects certain records from disclosure (for example, adoption records, personnel records, certain personal information in Motor Vehicle.
Administration records). In addition, some information contained in public records must remain confidential (for example, an individual's medical information, confidential commercial information, and trade secrets). GP §§ 4-304 to 4-327 (Part II), §§ 4-328 to 4-342 (Part III). In some cases, these protections may be waived.
Other records may be withheld if the agency decides that disclosure of those records would be "contrary to the public interest." Examples of records subject to discretionary disclosure include investigatory records, information related to academic, licensing, and employment examinations, and documents of a pre-decisional and deliberative nature. GP §§ 4-343 to 4-357 (Part IV)."