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According to the South Dakota public records law "all citizens of this state, and all other persons interested in the examination of the public records, as defined in § 1-27-1.1, are hereby fully empowered and authorized to examine such public record, and make memoranda and abstracts therefrom during the hours the respective offices are open for the ordinary transaction of business and, unless federal copyright law otherwise provides, obtain copies of public records in accordance with this chapter." Along with that, "Each government entity or elected or appointed government official shall, during normal business hours, make available to the public for inspection and copying in the manner set forth in this chapter all public records held by that entity or official."
Public records are created, stored, maintained, and shared by all different types of government bodies. A government body may include the local police station, the courts, a town clerk's office, the Secretary of State's office, the Department of Corrections, and other local and state offices that receive funding from South Dakota.
"Public records include all records and documents, regardless of physical form, of or belonging to this state, any county, municipality, political subdivision, or tax-supported district in this state, or any agency, branch, department, board, bureau, commission, council, subunit, or committee of any of the foregoing. Data, which is a public record in its original form, remains a public record when maintained in any other form."
The South Dakota State Historical Society is the public agency in charge of historical public records for the state. They store many of their collections online, making it easy for you to search and review many different types of government documents. Their mission states: "The State Archives of the South Dakota State Historical Society collects, appraises, accessions, describes, organizes, preserves, determines significance, and makes available manuscript collections, South Dakota state, county, and town government records, photographs, maps, and other archival materials which have permanent historical and research value."
South Carolina has a very liberal, open records law. However, there is no one agency in charge of handling records requests. You must contact each one separately and follow their rules to obtain copies. The general process is:
If for some reason, your public records request is denied, South Dakota has a special government agency called the Office of Hearing Examiners who handles disputes and filing appeals. You can contact them directly for help.
South Dakota uses a unified justice system, and this often makes finding records easy since everything is consolidated under one roof. The state has set up a self-help search portal where you can search for records, and it includes criminal records going back to 1989. Civil cases go back to 2003. Unless the cases are sealed, they will be available online using this search tool. The tool is not free. However, you must set up an account and pay for an annual subscription to use it. Each search costs money as well. Other options for finding criminal records are contacting local police, searching court records, or contacting the Department of Corrections.
Some common types of criminal records in South Dakota include (but are not limited to):
The South Dakota Unified Justice System is the government agency in charge of Court records in South Dakota. The state is very progressive, and all court cases are stored online for easy access and searching. Their website also allows you to pay fees and fines and e-file for court cases. They have special areas and resources for attorneys, jurors, and people performing research.
Some types of court records in South Dakota include:
The court system in South Dakota consists of a simple three-level court system starting with the Supreme Court, the Circuit Court, and Magistrate Court.
South Dakota arrest records are handled by the Unified Justice System which links law enforcement to the courts. Therefore, you can use their online portal search tool to find information about recent arrests or any other criminal information you need. The only records not stored online are sealed records.
Some different types of arrests records in South Dakota are:
The South Dakota Department of Health is the government agency that collects, maintains, preserves, and issues all vital records for the state. They manage births, deaths, fetal deaths, marriages, and divorces. You can request certified copies online, in person, and through the mail. This agency also handles adoption information and amendments to incorrect vital records. They have special resources for genealogy researchers.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, other types of public records you can find in the state of South Dakota include, but are not limited to:
In South Dakota, not all records are public. According to their Sunshine Laws, the following records are exempt from public consumption: