I have a keen interest in acquiring New York public records, but I find myself uncertain about where to begin. This predicament is a common one among New Yorkers seeking access to state or federal records. Consequently, Records Page has taken on the noble mission of providing free guides to assist others in navigating the process of obtaining the information they require.

Click Here to Search New York Records: https://newyork.recordspage.org/

New York Public Records

New York Public Record Laws

Under the umbrella of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Americans have the liberty to request government records. The New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) extends this privilege to residents of New York, granting them the ability to request records, albeit with the restriction that these records cannot be used for charitable or sales purposes.1

Many individuals opt to search for public records through third-party websites, as numerous state and federal repositories impose fees and may necessitate extensive travel to obtain specific information. However, government sources generally offer the most current and reliable information about individuals. Ultimately, individuals must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches before selecting the tools that align with their specific needs.

Furthermore, individuals must understand how and where to conduct searches in the appropriate jurisdiction, court, and documents.

New York Criminal Records

New York criminal records, often referred to as rap sheets, typically include details such as misdemeanors, felonies, work history, incarceration records, and other crucial information. These records play a pivotal role in helping prospective employers assess whether an individual can be entrusted with public responsibilities and the trust of their peers.

It is worth noting that having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify a person from employment opportunities. In cases involving minor offenses, individuals may be granted a chance for a fresh start.

Are Criminal Records Publicly Accessible in New York?

The majority of criminal records in New York are classified as public records. However, it is important to note that sealed records can only be accessed by the individual subject to the record and authorized personnel. Additionally, criminal records held by the New York State DCJS (Division of Criminal Justice Services) are not accessible to the general public.2

How to Find New York Criminal Records?

As mentioned earlier, criminal records maintained by the New York State DCJS are not considered public information. Therefore, individuals can only obtain their criminal history reports through this bureau. (Employers and licensing agencies are required to submit a request form to access an individual’s criminal history via the DCJS.)

New York residents have the option to request two types of records: suppressed and unsuppressed records. Suppressed records exclude expunged or sealed information, while unsuppressed records include commonly sealed information, such as certain juvenile offenses and acquittals.

Here are the steps for obtaining criminal history records:

In-state—Individuals should schedule a fingerprinting appointment via IdentoGO online or by calling (877)-472-6915. Subsequently, they must submit payment of $13.50 in the form of a money order, check, or credit card. Requests cannot be collected in person; instead, individuals must await a response by mail, which typically takes approximately one month.

Out-of-state—Residents residing outside New York should utilize the IdentoGO website to locate the nearest facility to their place of residence. Afterward, they should attend their appointment and pay the required fee of $43.50.

If an IdentoGO facility is not available in their vicinity, they can print a fingerprinting card, complete it, and bring it to their local police department for processing.”

New York Criminal Records

Following these steps, individuals can enroll in Cardscan and submit a payment of $13.50. After completing the enrollment process, they should print, sign, and send the confirmation form and fingerprinting card to the following address:

Recipient: IdentoGo Department

CS Dept-New York Address: 340 7 Springs Wy #250 City

Brentwood State: Tennessee (TN) ZIP Code: 37027

For inquiries or comments regarding self-conducted criminal history checks, individuals can reach out to the New York State DCJS through email or phone:

New York State DCJS Email

[email protected] Phone: (518)-485-7675 or (518) 457-9847

There is a convenient option for interested parties to perform criminal history checks on New Yorkers without requiring special authorization. The New York State Unified Court System offers a Criminal History Record Search (CHRS) service for a fee of $95.00. Users can obtain a CHRS application, complete it, and submit both the application and payment to the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA). Alternatively, they can sign up for a Direct Access account.

People have the choice to register for either a Public Account or a Corporate Account through the Direct Access website. Public Accounts enable users to request up to five searches simultaneously and make payments using credit or debit cards. Corporate Accounts are available to individuals who have previously used the CHRS service. Corporate Account holders can make payments via ACH as well as credit/debit cards.

Furthermore, individuals can access criminal history records through various means such as background checks, offender searches, and arrest records, as elaborated later in this guide. For a more comprehensive explanation, our resource on New York public criminal records and arrest records outlines all available avenues for obtaining criminal records within the state, including county jail inmate rosters for every county.

Finding Mugshots and Juvenile Records in New York State

Mugshots, commonly referred to as arrest or inmate photos, play a vital role in aiding law enforcement and the public in identifying individuals involved in criminal activities. In New York State, however, public access to mugshots is restricted due to budget constraints, and these records are not covered under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

Nonetheless, there are specific circumstances under which individuals can access mugshots in New York. Law enforcement officers must provide valid reasons for releasing mugshots, such as when seeking assistance in locating an escapee.

Despite these limitations, New York residents can still find mugshots using various resources:

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS): The DOCCS maintains a Most Wanted page that lists photos of absconders along with their conviction information.

FBI’s New York Wanted Section: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provides a New York Wanted section on their website, which features photos and details about suspects, missing persons, and offenders.

News and Radio Websites: Numerous news and radio websites may carry mugshots. To find them, individuals can simply enter “New York Most Wanted” into a search engine, which should yield relevant results. Offline sources like TV news stations and newspapers can also be considered.

New York Juvenile Records

Juvenile records in New York are not public records. The New York State Unified Court System classifies minors who commit crimes into several categories:

  • Juvenile Delinquents: Children aged 7 to 18 who do not have a criminal history record, as their cases are private and overseen by the Family Court. They may be placed into treatment programs or supervised by social services.
  • Juvenile Offenders: Minors aged 13 to 15 who may acquire a criminal record if found guilty of a serious crime. The County or Supreme Court may consider them Youthful Offenders if deemed appropriate. A judge can also transfer their cases to the Family Court, classifying them as Juvenile Delinquents.
  • Youthful Offenders: Teens aged 14 to 19 who are spared from having a lifelong criminal record. Their Youthful Offender status is determined by the courts.
  • Adolescent Offenders: Individuals aged 16 or 17 who have been convicted of felonies. If eligible, they can be transferred to the Family Court and treated as Juvenile Delinquents.

It’s important to note that none of the above categories are classified as adult offenders. The Raise the Age (RTA) law mandates that juveniles cannot be convicted as adults until they reach the age of 18.

Only the juvenile, their parent(s) or guardian(s), and law enforcement personnel are permitted to access juvenile records. If tried as Juvenile Delinquents or Youthful Offenders, their cases are automatically sealed.

Checking for Warrants in New York (Free Warrant Check in NY)

Individuals who suspect they may have a warrant issued against them should promptly verify whether it is an arrest warrant or a bench warrant. This proactive approach allows them to voluntarily address the situation, avoiding the embarrassment of being arrested at home or in public.

Warrant in New York

To initiate a search, individuals can choose a search engine and input the keywords “New York Warrant Search.” This action will generate results from various sources, including websites affiliated with sheriff’s offices, police departments, and county governments. For example, NYC311 provides contact information for criminal courts, facilitating the retrieval of warrant status information.

How Can I Find Information on Sex Offenders in New York?

The New York State DCJS administers a Sex Offender Registry, encompassing Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. Level 2 offenders represent a moderate risk, while Level 3 offenders pose a high risk. Residents can even subscribe to relocation alerts in the event a registered sex offender relocates.

Visitors to the website can employ the registry’s search function to locate an offender using criteria such as last name, county, or zip code. Furthermore, they can refine their search by selecting options like “Incarcerated,” “ICE Custody,” or “In Custody.” Each search result includes a photo of the offender, their address, risk level, and other pertinent details.

An interesting aspect of this registry is its limited residency restrictions. Individuals can conduct searches on offenders residing outside New York, and even outside the United States.

How Do I Obtain a Background Check in New York?

Background checks are a prerequisite for many professions, particularly those related to security, healthcare, and data entry. They are also essential for various life situations such as self-defense, loan applications, and apartment rentals. A typical background check in New York typically includes an individual’s driving record, credit history, and court records.

However, New York differs from many other states when it comes to background checks. Due to the Fair Chance Act, most employers cannot inquire about an applicant’s criminal background before offering them a job. They must conduct a two-step background check, which involves conducting reference, educational, and other non-criminal checks before hiring and checking the applicant’s criminal history after hiring.

Nevertheless, individuals can utilize the tools and methods outlined in the section on criminal records to conduct self-background checks for employment purposes or to obtain a new or updated professional license after being hired.

Individuals interested in selling or possessing firearms must adhere to the regulations outlined in the NY SAFE Act. Whether applying for a license, renewing one, selling firearms, or registering assault weapons, they must complete and submit the necessary firearm license and certification forms.

Understanding New York Court Records

New York court records primarily include litigant names, property disputes, pending bench warrants, and related information. While some court records in the state are accessible to the public, others are sealed or non-disclosed, particularly those associated with custodial matters.

New York State comprises several trial and appellate courts, some of which operate within New York City and others outside the city:

New York City Trial Courts: These courts handle civil and criminal cases, encompassing issues like rental payments and small claims in civil cases, as well as petty offenses, misdemeanors, and felony hearings in criminal cases.

Trial Courts Outside New York City: County Courts have jurisdiction similar to Town, Village, and City courts, overseeing petty offense and misdemeanor cases, as well as felony cases. Town or Village Justice Courts handle arraignments and petty offenses, while City Courts deal with civil suits related to rent and housing disputes, as well as certain criminal cases. District Courts are located in five Suffolk County towns and Nassau County, handling petty offense, misdemeanor, and felony cases.

Appellate Courts: Appellate Terms of the Supreme Court consider “second-chance” cases transferred from New York City’s criminal and civil courts, as well as district, city, and town/village trial courts outside the city. County Courts also serve an appellate role for town, city, and village trials. Appellate Divisions handle criminal and civil appeals from trial courts, as well as civil appeals from County Courts and Appellate Terms of the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals serves as the state’s equivalent to the Supreme Court, hearing appeals from lower courts, establishing legal rules, and reviewing appeals related to judicial misconduct.

Trial Courts In and Outside of New York City: The Family Court addresses juvenile delinquency, child welfare, custody disputes, guardianship, and other family and child-related matters. The Supreme Court handles cases related to marriage dissolutions, felonies, and high-value civil cases. Outside of New York City, County Courts oversee criminal trials, while Supreme Courts handle civil trials. The Court of Claims manages cases involving monetary damages against state entities like the City University of New York and the New York State Thruway. The Surrogate’s Court deals with estate matters, adoptions, and probate processes.

How Can I Search for Court Cases in New York?

Those interested in accessing court cases, whether personal or for others, can utilize the resources provided by the New York State Unified Court System. The system offers an online repository that enables users to locate local, Supreme Court, criminal, and family cases. To initiate their search, individuals will need specific information such as the attorney’s name and index name.

Court Cases in New York

Regrettably, eCourts exclusively houses non-confidential case details. Those in pursuit of private records, provided they possess the requisite legal authority, must reach out to the County Clerk or the Clerk of the Court at the respective record’s location.

This can be accomplished by visiting the New York State Courts webpage. On the left-hand side, there is a court locator that allows individuals to select the county and/or court type before clicking “Find the Court.”

For visitors seeking assistance with court records or other judicial matters, the New York State Unified Court System can be reached via email, phone, or mail.

Obtaining New York Bankruptcy Records

Individuals in search of state bankruptcy records can locate them in three distinct bankruptcy courts:

  • New York North Bankruptcy Court
  • Locations: Utica, Albany, Syracuse
  • New York Southern Bankruptcy Court
  • Locations: White Plains, Manhattan, Poughkeepsie
  • New York Western Bankruptcy Court
  • Locations: Rochester, Buffalo

Residents may visit any of these locations in person. However, if they prefer to access bankruptcy information from the comfort of their homes, they can utilize the McVCIS (Multiple-Court Voice Case Information System). This phone system can be accessed by dialing 866-222-8029, with respective extensions 6261, 6262, and 6264. What makes this service convenient is its availability 24/7, accommodating even the busiest of schedules.

Another convenient source for accessing information is the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) site. Users can conduct their research using a mobile device, and digital documents cost only $0.10 per page. Those who qualify may even be eligible to have fees waived if they are unable to pay them.

Understanding New York Inmate Records

As of late, approximately 20,500 inmates reside in New York jails, with the state’s prison population totaling approximately 43,500.

New York inmate records typically encompass demographic information, convictions, and the name of the correctional institution. These details are invaluable to law enforcement agencies and parole boards, as they aid in determining an inmate’s eligibility for probation or early release.

Finding Someone Arrested & in a New York Jail

Individuals curious about the status of an arrestee or jail inmate can become members of Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE). Through this website, people can monitor the custody status of inmates in city and county jails, in addition to accessing services for crime victims.

Arrested & in a New York Jail

Furthermore, residents have the option to use a search engine to locate a specific jail in New York by searching for “jail inmate search New York.” For instance, the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office provides a weekly report containing the names of arrestees and details of their charges, including some with mugshots.

Additionally, the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) offers an inmate lookup feature that allows users to find inmates in city jails within New York, specifically in Queens, Bronx, Kings, and Richmond counties. Visitors to the site can access information such as release dates, bond amounts, and the New York State Identification Number (NYSID).

Residents can also find contact information for the police department or county jail they select from the search results and make direct calls. In some cases, police officers may inform callers that the individual they are inquiring about has been in custody for only a few days and has not yet had a trial.

To locate New York State Prisoners

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) offers a prisoner search feature, allowing users to search for inmates by name, birth year, and Department ID Number (DIN).

Interested parties looking for federal inmates can utilize the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate locator or choose from the prison locator list.

For those wishing to send money to a New York Prisoner

the New York City DOCCS provides multiple funding options for family and friends to support their loved one’s needs, including hygiene products and essentials. They can send money through MoneyGram or JPay using various methods:

  • MoneyGram: Customers can visit a nearby location, and the receive code is 1317.
  • JPay: JPay offers four deposit methods, including telephone, mail, online, and an app.
  • Telephone: Patrons can dial (800)-574-5729 to send money with the assistance of customer service.
  • Mail: People can mail a money order or check along with a deposit form to JPay at P.O. Box 531190, Miami FL 33153. They can submit an English or Spanish deposit slip.
  • Online: Web deposits can be made using a debit or credit card.
  • App: Individuals can download the JPay app from Apple or Google Play to send deposits.

Please note that deposit fees vary depending on the chosen method.

New York State Prisoners

Prisoner Visitation

To arrange a visit to a New York State DOCCS facility, individuals must first contact the specific facility to obtain detailed information, as each institution sets its visiting hours and days. Adult visitors are required to present valid government identification, such as a driver’s license or a state ID. For minor visitors, birth certificates serve as acceptable forms of identification. Before commencing their visit, all visitors are obligated to sign a statement confirming their understanding of the facility’s rules.

New York Vital Records

Vital records in the state of New York encompass a range of documents, including fetal death and stillbirth certificates, pre-adoption certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates, genealogy records, death certificates, and divorce certificates. This section of the article focuses on the following types of vital records:

  • Death certificates
  • Divorce certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Birth certificates

Accessing New York Vital Records

While technically anyone can request access to these records, there are specific time restrictions in place. Birth certificates, for instance, do not become public records in New York until they are at least 75 years old.

Death and marriage records become available to the general public once they are 50 years old or older.

Divorce decrees, on the other hand, remain sealed for a century.

Checking Marital Status in New York (Free Marital Records)

Individuals seeking information on someone’s marital status must meet certain criteria to access their marriage or divorce records. They must either be the spouse of the subject or obtain permission from the courts.

It’s worth noting that while there are restrictions on who can access this information through Vital Records, third-party search sites may utilize government resources and other online platforms, such as social media, to provide additional information when access to vital records is limited.

For a glimpse into the prevalence of divorces in New York, the graph below illustrates divorce rates by county, based on estimates from the United States Census Bureau over the past five years.

Free Marital Records

Individuals can acquire marriage certificates and divorce decrees from the county where the event took place. Alternatively, they have the option to purchase these certificates from the New York State Department of Health (DOH), Vital Records.

To request marriage and divorce certificates, patrons can utilize three methods: by phone, online, or through mail:

  • Phone or Online: Customers can contact VitalChek at (877)-854-4481 or place an order through their website.
  • Mail: They may also choose to send a completed mail-in marriage or divorce certificate form along with payment to the following address:

New York State (DOH) – Vital Records PO Box 2602 Albany, NY 12220

Obtain a Duplicate Birth Certificate or Duplicate Copy of a Death Certificate in New York

For those seeking a replacement birth certificate or a copy of a death certificate in New York, eligibility is limited to immediate family members, spouses, or court-authorized representatives. Individuals must be legal adults to obtain their birth certificates.

Residents can request replacements from either the New York State DOH or the New York City Department of Health (DOH). The procedures for obtaining birth and death certificates from the New York State DOH are similar to those for marriage and divorce certificates.

Alternatively, orders for New York City DOH certificates can be placed via VitalChek, by mail, or in person at the following address:

New York City DOH Office of Vital Records 125 Worth St. #144 New York, NY 10013

Additionally, customers have the option to schedule appointments online.

Navigating government information can be challenging, but once individuals become familiar with the process, they can develop the knowledge and confidence to access New York public records effectively.


What are New York Public Records?

Public records in New York refer to a wide range of documents and information created or maintained by government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. These records are typically accessible to the public and can include court records, property records, birth and death certificates, and more.

How can I access New York Public Records?

Accessing New York Public Records can vary depending on the type of record you need. Some records, like property records, may be available online through government websites or local county clerks’ offices. Others, such as criminal records, may require a formal request through specific agencies or courts.

Are New York Public Records available for free?

While some New York Public Records can be accessed for free online, others may come with associated fees for copies, searches, or certification. The cost can vary based on the type of record and the agency providing it. Additionally, certain records may be restricted for privacy or security reasons.

How can I obtain a copy of my birth certificate or other vital records in New York?

To obtain vital records like birth certificates, marriage licenses, or divorce decrees in New York, you typically need to contact the New York State Department of Health or the local registrar’s office where the event occurred. You may apply online, by mail, or in person, and there are fees associated with these requests.

Are there any restrictions on accessing New York Public Records?

Yes, there can be restrictions on accessing certain public records, particularly those related to sensitive personal information or ongoing legal matters. Additionally, some records may be subject to redaction to protect sensitive information before they are made available to the public. It’s essential to be aware of these restrictions when requesting public records in New York.