Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Long Does an Online Court Record Search Take?

In today’s day of cyberspace and global information sharing, you can find just about anything you are looking for online. This includes court records. With a few clicks of your mouse, you can now perform court record searches from the privacy of your own home. Just how long can you expect a thorough search to take? Well, it depends on the record.

Any search for court records usually begins at the courthouses website. If you know the county in which the person was tried, you can perform your search from the county site. Usually, the information you are looking for will pop up on your screen, ready to be printed out.

It can get a little murky if you aren’t sure what county or possibly even what state you should be searching. In this case, you may need to broaden your horizon. There are websites that will perform a court records search for you if you are unsure where to look or want to make sure you are performing a comprehensive search.

Some of these websites guarantee a 24 hour turnaround if you request the search on a business day during working hours. Criminal records take longer to search than civil records, and a county criminal search can take as long as three business days.

Since there is not one centralized court record system across the country, there is a chance your search can take even longer. Different states and counties have different reporting methods and record storing processes. Because of these jurisdictional issues, a search can take weeks or even longer.

Unfortunately, it does not matter how long the search for a court record takes, or even if any records are found, you will still be charged for the search. These websites do not guarantee results. There are many reasons records will not be found. Even, an individual who is currently serving a sentence in jail may not show up on a court record search depending on the statute of limitations for the jurisdiction they are in.

When paying for a court record search, keep an open mind and know that you may not get the records you are seeking. You are paying for the convenience of someone else spending the time and resources to perform the search for you.

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