Missouri Public Records
Tips for background checks and obtaining Missouri public records for businesses
The Missouri Sunshine Law is the state’s version of the federal Freedom of Information Act, and its purpose is to ensure that public documents, including Missouri court records, are open to the public for the purposes of background checks and other needs. The law does provide that the records' custodian (usually the court clerk if they are Missouri public court records) can charge a reasonable fee for copying and research time. However, some jurisdictions allow you to view a Missouri court record free on the Internet or through employment screening software.
Missouri business owners and human resource departments may want access to Missouri criminal records or Missouri divorce records. Missouri has a vital statistics office. However, you need the names of both spouses to get marriage and divorce information. The easiest and fastest way to obtain Missouri court records on an individual is through an online provider. Many of these tout free Missouri court records, but that is not the case.
Consider the following:
- Some online providers of Missouri public records charge different rates depending on how often and how long you use their service. Utilizing an employee screening agency may get you better rates on background check information than requesting those records individually.
- Missouri public records are not always updated or correct with online providers.
- Weigh the cost of your personnel department doing the research against the cost of paying for Missouri court records to an online provider.
Try a free Missouri public court records search first
Before you pay for a background check, try free channels first.
Check any information received through an online source with the court
If you must pay for an online background search, know that some online providers may not have updated employment information, criminal history, or other data. They could also get names mixed up without a social security number and date of birth.
Learn what public information is covered under Missouri's Sunshine Law
Business owners such as developers may be interested in public records for a municipality to determine if building in that location is viable.
- The companies that provide Internet searches are inexpensive when you consider how fast they can conjure up information. The problem is that many websites say they offer free Missouri public records when most really do not. And you still can't be certain that the information is 100% accurate without checking through the appropriate court if you use a non-governmental online search. Always contact the court named in that situation.
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