What are Utah Public Records, and How are They Created?
Utah has set up a website called the Open Records Portal, which is a centralized tool to request government public records (Government Records Access and Management Act - GRAMA) from any agency. It is a well-organized tool with many different resources, such as a database of all agencies, a list of cities, towns, and counties. It also splits out educational agencies, transit districts, government bodies, special service districts, local districts, and interlocals. This agency also supplies statistics and government reports for your perusal.
Utah uses the term "government entity" to refer to government agencies that create, store, maintain, and share public records. Some examples might be state schools, the Department of Transportation, city offices like the Mayor's office, the courts, law enforcement, and many others.
"Record means a book, letter, document, paper, map, plan, photograph, film, card, tape, recording, electronic data, or other documentary material regardless of physical form or characteristics:
(i) that is prepared, owned, received, or retained by a governmental entity or political subdivision; and
(ii) where all of the information in the original is reproducible by photocopy or other mechanical or electronic means."
The Utah Division of Archives and Records Service is the agency in charge of all public record archives. They offer the public a generous website with many options for browsing digital collections. Along with vital records, they keep military, government, and other historical documents. You can visit them in person to view the source documents or collect copies for yourself. They also list retention schedules, so you know how long records in each agency are kept and when they are destroyed.
How to Access Utah Public Records?
The Utah.gov Open Records Portal provides the resources and instructions for making a public records request. Their guidelines are as follows:
- "Find the governmental entity you want to contact and select the Request Records button for that agency.
- If you do not already have an account with the State of Utah to connect to online services, you will create one here.
- Fill out the online form, including a detailed description of the records you want, then click Submit.
- You will receive a response within the time limit allowed by law.
- To review your submission and track the progress of your request, click on Records Requests."
You may visit certain government agencies in person to request records, but you might be asked to use the portal instead.
Different Types of Public Records in Utah
Utah Criminal Records
The Utah Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification offers public criminal records upon request. They make it easy to get a copy of your own state or national criminal record. They do charge a fee for this service. Additionally, you can contact local police for criminal records. You can consult court records to find information on convicted offenders and check out the Department of Corrections website also to search for offenders and their criminal records there also.
Some common types of criminal records in Utah include (but are not limited to):
- Felony and Misdemeanor Records - some common misdemeanors in Utah are DUI, minor in possession of drug paraphernalia, property theft, and driving with a suspended license. Some popular felonies in Utah include violent crimes, aggravated assault, prescription drug charges, kidnapping, stalking, and child abuse.
- Utah Jail and Inmate Records - both jails and prisons keep inmate records, and those too are public records. The Utah 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.
Utah Court Records
The Utah Court is the government agency in charge of all courts, and Court records in Utah. Their website is relatively simple but does include links to search District Court and Appellate Court cases. You can also review court filings, court transcripts, and find out about filing fees. There is also a section that talks about non-public court records that are private and kept confidential. You can also visit the courthouse in person to request copies of court records.
Some types of court records in Utah include:
- 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, worker's compensation cases, and name changes.
The court system in Utah consists of four simple levels. The top-level is the Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeals, then District Court, and finally Juvenile and Justice Courts.
Utah Arrest Records
To find Utah arrest records and other criminal files, you must contact either The Utah Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification or local police. You can also visit the Utah Courts to search for arrest records that way. One final resource would be the Utah Department of Correction to find arrest data on convicted felons.
Some different types of arrests records in Utah are:
- Drug charges.
- Simple assault.
- Misrepresenting the age of a minor.
- 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.
Utah Vital Records
Utah's Department of Health, Vital Records and Statistics Office is the government agency in charge of all vital records for the state. They state their mission as "The Office of Vital Records and Statistics maintains records for births, stillbirths, deaths, marriages, and divorces that occurred in the State of Utah." They have records dating back to 1905. You can request copies in person, online, and through the mail.
Other Public Records in Utah
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, other types of public records you can find in the state of Utah 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.
- Library Research.
- Personnel records for state agencies.
- Permits, licenses, and certifications.
- Government employee salaries.
- * 911 time response logs.
- Grant applications.
- Contracts involving government agencies.
- Settlement agreements.
- Agency decisions.
- Name, title, and salary of public employees and officials.
What Information is Not Public Record in Utah?
Utah has an extensive list of items that are not considered public records. A sampling from their open records law is:
- "Records concerning an individual's eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits, social services, welfare benefits, or the determination of benefit levels.
- Records containing data on individuals describing medical history, diagnosis, condition, treatment, evaluation, or similar medical data.
- Records of publicly funded libraries that when examined alone or with other records identify a patron.
- Records received by or generated by or for:
- the Independent Legislative Ethics Commission, except for:
- the commission's summary data report that is required under the legislative rule; and
- any other document that is classified as public under the legislative rule; or
- a Senate or House Ethics Committee in relation to the review of ethics complaints, unless the record is classified as public under the legislative rule;
- Records received by, or generated by or for, the Independent Executive Branch Ethics Commission, except as otherwise expressly provided in Title 63A, Chapter 14, Review of Executive Branch Ethics Complaints;
- Records would create a danger of depriving a person of a right to a fair proceeding or impartial hearing.
- Employment records concerning a current or former employee of, or applicant for employment with, a governmental entity that would disclose that individual's home address, home telephone number, social security number, insurance coverage, marital status, or payroll deductions.
- That part of a record indicating a person's social security number or federal employer identification number if provided under Section 31A-23a-104, 31A-25-202, 31A-26-202, 58-1-301, 58-55-302, 61-1-4, or 61-2f-203;
- that part of a voter registration record identifying a voter's:
- driver license or identification card number;
- social security number, or last four digits of the social security number;
- email address; or
- date of birth;
- A statement and any supporting documentation filed with the attorney general in accordance with Section 34-45-107, if the federal law or action supporting the filing involves homeland security.
- Electronic toll collection customer account information received or collected under Section 72-6-118 and customer information described in Section 17B-2a-815 received or collected by a public transit district, including contact and payment information and customer travel data;
- A criminal background check or credit history report conducted in accordance with Section 63A-3-201."