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North Carolina Public Records: How to Perform a North Carolina Public Records Search

North Carolina Public Records: How to Perform a North Carolina Public Records Search
November 6, 2022

Public Records Search North Carolina: How to Find Public Records Information in the State of North Carolina 
The state of North Carolina, per the Public Records Law, imbues all citizens with the right to access records held by all public agencies in the state. 


Citizens do not need to offer reasons for requesting any public record as well, and fees for the records are typically minimal.


On the flip side, the law does not mandate public agencies to respond to North Carolina public records requests within any specific time, and requesters do not have any formal appeal architecture to fall back on if their requests are denied.


Different agencies and departments handle different public records, so it's essential to know the right North Carolina public records request process for each record before initiating a search. 

Public Records North Carolina: Vital Records 

North Carolina vital records provide information relating to the birth, death, marriage, and divorce of citizens of the state. 


These records are typically accessible to members of the public, but, depending on the type of record and the record's sensitivity, requirements for accessing them may vary.


Requesters who wish to obtain uncertified copies of North Carolina vital records may do so freely, without needing to provide accompanying documents. 

birth certificate


On the other hand, if an individual wants to obtain official records, they must submit a valid, government-issued ID along with their request.


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the agency in charge of maintaining and disseminating vital records in the state. 


Requesters of North Carolina vital records typically need to submit applications to this agency.


Parties interested in obtaining vital records from the DHHS must download and complete the appropriate application form, then attach a $24 payment fee and a government-issued ID with it. 


Next, they must enclose them in a self-addressed stamped envelope and submit the application in person or by mail to:


North Carolina Vital Records,
1904 Mail Service Center,
Raleigh, NC


Alternatively, requesters may access and obtain North Carolina vital records in appropriate state, county, or city offices. 


Marriage and divorce records in the state may be obtained in county courts where they were licensed or formalized. 

Public Records North Carolina: Criminal Records

Criminal records in North Carolina are official records that chronicle crimes that have been committed there. 


Courts, detention and penal facilities, municipal and state law enforcement organizations, and others prepare these documents.


Criminal records, sometimes known as rap sheets, list the felonies and misdemeanors that suspects and criminals have been found guilty of, along with their arrest, indictment, and conviction histories.

handcuffs on a piece of paper with fingerprints


Criminal records are accessible in various databases in North Carolina. Courts and law enforcement organizations are in charge of maintaining these databases. 


The majority of them are available online, and for small costs, citizens can obtain copies of these North Carolina public records.


The North Carolina Court System has an exhaustive database of all the accusations and convictions it has issued in concert with state law enforcement. 


Certified copies are available in person or by mail for those who are interested.

North Carolina Public Records Search: Criminal Records

Individuals interested in obtaining criminal records in North Carolina may perform name-based or fingerprint-based background checks through the North Carolina Court System.


To perform a criminal records search (both personal and third-party) in this way, interested members of the public must print and complete the criminal records request form, then submit it to the office of the clerk of court of their local county superior court. 


Criminal records requests may be submitted in person or by mail, and a $25 charge applies for each search request.

a warrant with handcuffs on it


Public Records North Carolina: Court Records

Per the North Carolina Public Records Law, members of the public can access court records on request. However, records that have been sealed by court order are exempt.


The procedures conducted under oath in any of the North Carolina courts are fully documented in court records. 


They contain information about the charges against and punishments meted out to the defendant, as well as case files, dockets, witness material, court opinions, and other records.

How to Access North Carolina Court Records 

Individuals interested in obtaining North Carolina court records must visit the office of any county's court clerk. 


These offices provide self-service terminals with which anyone interested may access records of court proceedings in the state.


Interested parties may find details pertaining to estate cases, civil cases, and special proceedings on these terminals. Searches may be performed by the defendant's name or the case file number.

Public Records North Carolina: Inmate Records

Inmate records in North Carolina contain details (both personal and administrative) of inmates incarcerated in any correctional facility in the state. 


These records are typically maintained and disseminated by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS).

a hand stamping a sheet of paper

How to Access North Carolina Inmate Records 

Through the free online inmate search tool which the NCDPS provides on its website. 


Interested members of the public can search for inmates (as well as parolees and escapees) using this tool. Requesters must provide the inmate's name and identification number to initiate a search.

North Carolina Free Public Records:


Aside from paid North Carolina public records search, you can also find North Carolina free public records. 


There are designated websites, such as, where you can get free access to public records in North Carolina, such as birth records, criminal records, marriage records, etc. 


You can perform a free search, and get access to various public records in the state of North Carolina and other states. 


You can choose between several types of queries (name search, phone number search, address search) and find the records that you are looking for within minutes.

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