New Jersey Public Records
Through the Freedom of Information Act, anybody in New Jersey interested can access public records at all levels of government. Any paper, written or printed book, microfilm, data/image processed document, and information kept in government offices are considered public records. Public access is available for electronic documents, audio recordings, and images stored by governmental entities.
Per the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA), officials have seven days to reply to a records request. However, depending on the nature of the request, some records might be accessible immediately. The Government Record Council (GRC), acting as a safeguard for public trust, ensures that interested parties in New Jersey have access to public records.
How to Find New Jersey Public Records
When you search for New Jersey public records, you can do so through several sources, depending on what you need to find. The state's access to records aligns with the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Therefore, you can legally find records for public view on several sites.
Knowing which state agency has the documents you're looking for is crucial for obtaining access to the proper record. Records requests under OPRA are not finished until it is sent to the custodian in charge of the requested data.
The following link to an alphabetical compilation of state listings on the OPRA website can help you locate the needed record. You can also access records at specific sites for vital records, court records, property information, and historical archives.
Are New Jersey Public Records Available Online?
You can access public records online. You can find them at several sites, depending on the file you wish to access.
For example, you can obtain vital statistics, such as marriage, birth, death, and divorce information and certificates, by visiting the Department of Health (DOH) website. You can obtain records by submitting a request online, through the mail, or by stopping by in person at 140 E. Front Street in Trenton. You can also use the new VitalCheck site or call 877-622-7549 to place an order.
By using the above methods, you can access birth records (from 1922), marriage records (beginning in 1931), death records (from 1931), and domestic partnership information (beginning in 2004). Civil union records (beginning in 2007) and domestic and foreign adoptions are also available. Birth certificates that ended in stillbirth are available from 1969.
If you’re seeking court records in New Jersey, they are available through the New Jersey Courts website.
The Administrative Office of the Courts oversees an automated data processing system that makes court information available to the general public. The provision of information complies with rules approved by the Supreme Court, which is also empowered to establish costs for remote access.
The Judiciary created the Electronic Access Program (EAP) to give subscribers access to specific mainframe software so they may read information about cases filed with the trial court for business purposes.
The Automated Case Management System (ACMS), Civil Judgment and Order Docket (CJOD), Family Automated Case Tracking System (FACTS), and Automated Traffic System are the court information systems that the EAP utilizes to make case and judgment information available.
Information includes archives and information covering arrests, criminal records, jail and inmate info, traffic violations, liens and judgments, bankruptcies, property records, company ownership, unclaimed property, and professional registered licenses.
What Records are Available in New Jersey?
You can find an extensive range of records in New Jersey. Records may include, but are not limited to archives, including the following:
- Vital statistics (birth, death, marriage, and divorce information)
- Court records
- Jail and inmate files
- Property records, such as mortgages, liens, and deeds)
- Bankruptcy information
- Sex offender registration
- Unclaimed property
- Historical records
What Records Are Non-Public in New Jersey?
Some records in New Jersey are exempt from public disclosure. Examples of common records include:
- Criminal investigatory records, where cases are under investigation
- Victims’ records - which are only open to the victim
- Trade secrets and proprietary business and financial information
- Records that fall under attorney-client privilege
- Information according to a court order that is considered confidential
- Expunged court records
- Probation details
- Juvenile criminal histories
Types of Public Records Available in New Jersey
Common records available in New Jersey include the following:
New Jersey Vital Statistics
As mentioned, vital statistical information is available for review. You can directly access the information through the Department of Health (DOH).
New Jersey Public Criminal Records
You can gain criminal history information online about convictions. You won't receive the information unless the defendant was charged and convicted of the crime. Juvenile information and probation information are not accessible.
You can also go through the State Police and find criminal history information through the department's Criminal History Records Information (CHRI) site.
Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in New Jersey :
Arrest Records and Warrants
Information for individuals detained for federal offenses and misdemeanors have records in the files of the arresting agency. The documentation includes the offender's name, violation, arrest location, and the arresting officer. A mugshot is also a part of the file.
To obtain an arrest record directly, you need to visit the local state office--a sheriff’s department or police department--responsible for the arrest. The FBI also has files available for access.
Inmate and Jail Records
You can directly access inmate and jail records by visiting the website of the Department of Corrections, which offers information for 11 correctional state facilities.
Jails and Prisons in New Jersey :
New Jersey Background Checks
When a background check is performed in New Jersey, it is done through the State Police database. A search reveals criminal record data from counties that report to the State Police central online file.
The background check includes the defendant's name, case number, charge, filing date, type of offense, disposition, disposition date, and sentence.
New Jersey is one of 30 states that enforce the "ban the box" rule. The state's Opportunity to Compete Act restricts employers from asking a candidate questions about a person's criminal history until after the initial interview.
The law applies to any inquiry about a person's background. This includes questions on the application form and interview prompts. Employers also cannot ask about expunged offenses.
However, New Jersey employers may obtain arrest or conviction records and use them in hiring decisions. Employers are legally obligated, as well, to give each job applicant a chance to respond to a background check finding.
Additionally, the Opportunity to Compete Act governs how companies with 15 or more employees can advertise job positions.
In job postings, employers with at least 15 employees may not state that "individuals with an arrest record or criminal history need not apply." Companies may market jobs in a way that encourages everyone to apply, even those with a criminal background.
Landlords may run a criminal background check after they make a conditional offer to a potential tenant. They may consider first-degree offenses from the past six years or second- or third-degree crimes in the past four years. They can also consider any fourth-degree offenses from the previous year.
How to Find Sex Offenders in New Jersey
You can find sex offender registration on the State Police website. Offender information is available that details the name, address, offense, and conviction date. The offender’s photo is also part of the file.
New Jersey Public Vital Records
To directly access vital records, go to the state’s Department of Health (DOH) website. Everything you need to obtain about death, divorce, birth, and marriage information is available on the site.
You can also submit requests through the mail or visit the office in person, located at 14 East Front Street in Trenton, New Jersey. Orders may also be placed at 877-622-7549 through VitalCheck services.
New Jersey Court Records
For all court records in New Jersey, direct access may be obtained through the New Jersey Courts. Using the site allows you to access reports for criminal and civil cases in the superior courts and to obtain municipal court information. You can also access tax court data.
State Court System in New Jersey
The court system in New Jersey includes the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, local courts, tax courts, and municipal courts. The system is one of the most basic court systems in the U.S. The trial courts are part of the state's Supreme Court.
Courts in New Jersey :
You can get information on driving records in New Jersey by visiting the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website. However, a driving record in New Jersey is not called a "record." The state calls "records" driver history abstracts. You must reference that you're seeking a driving history.
Driving histories in New Jersey include information about traffic violations, suspensions, accidents, and fee payments. Violations are further defined by the type and date of the infraction incurred.
Points you receive for driving violations stay on your record permanently. Any points drivers receive may result in a license suspension and an increase in insurance premiums. Drivers who accumulate six or more points within three years are charged a minimum $150 fine. If a driver receives 12 or more points, they lose the right to drive, and their license is suspended.
While points remain a permanent part of your record, you can still reduce the points you have by maintaining a clean driving record for a year or taking a driver safety course.
New Jersey License Plate Lookup
The easiest way to find out information about a license plate is to use one of the private companies online to perform a license or vehicle identification number (VIN) search.
You can also visit individual license branch locations for the information.
In addition, you can access the information at NewJerseyRecords.org for license plates and other records. The site is privately owned and is not a government site.
New Jersey Property and Asset Records
You may obtain direct access to property and assets records by visiting the clerk's office for a specific county in New Jersey or by visiting the county office in person. Free basic access is available for the search, as well as subscription-based access.
You can find information on deeds and mortgages by going through the clerk's office for the county where the property is located.
The New Jersey Treasury Department features a website to look up unclaimed property.
Important Government Agencies in New Jersey
Below are some of the critical government agencies in New Jersey:
Counties in New Jersey
List of Content
- How to Find New Jersey Public Records
- Are New Jersey Public Records Available Online?
- What Records are Available in New Jersey?
- What Records Are Non-Public in New Jersey?
- Types of Public Records Available in New Jersey
- New Jersey Public Vital Records
- New Jersey Court Records
- State Court System in New Jersey
- Driving Records
- New Jersey License Plate Lookup
- New Jersey Property and Asset Records
- Important Government Agencies in New Jersey