What are judicial records?
Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
In short, judicial records are the logs and the evidence for any court case, whether it is about a criminal act, divorce proceedings, lawsuit, etc. Judicial records may contain sensitive data about an individual’s finances, identifying information such as names and addresses, and marriage and divorce records, as examples. Additionally, these records may contain details regarding court determinations of obligations to another party. These are all public records, and are therefore available, digitally or in print, to the public. They also include records from both federal and state courts.
How judicial records may put your personal information at risk.
Because judicial records are public records, and because they may contain sensitive information, they may be a tool fraudulent persons may use to steal your identity. Criminal identity theft can be particularly damaging, as it may affect all aspects of your life, from your credit score, job, housing opportunities, and much more.
Examples of the contents of court records that may be available to the public are:
- Court proceedings related to juveniles
- Mental health related proceedings
- Financial accounts & social security numbers
- Paternity & adoption related proceedings
- Protection order files and documents related to domestic violence
- Alcohol & drug treatment records and psychological evaluation documents
Sealed or expunged court records
A sealed or expunged record may prevent strangers from knowing the details of the case in question. In this situation, an individual may not be able to retrieve copies of relevant documents at any point after the sealing or expungement.