South Dakota Public Records
The South Dakota Public Records Act is a state law that requires all government agencies in South Dakota to make their records available to the public. The act also requires that all government agencies provide a written explanation of their policies and procedures for accessing public records.
The Public Records Act is designed to give the people of South Dakota access to information about their government.
However, it does not require that every record be made available to the public. Some documents are exempt from disclosure under the act, such as confidential medical records, law enforcement investigation records, and certain personnel records.
How to Find South Dakota Public Records
Public records are defined as any information that a government agency maintains.
Each government agency has its policies and procedures for making public records available.
The South Dakota Health Department is the primary source for vital records such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce. Meanwhile, South Dakota also has a central database of criminal records called a Public Access Record Search (PARS) system.
You can also either visit the government agency or submit a written request for the records you seek.
When submitting a written request, please include as much information as possible about the records you seek and why you request them.
Are South Dakota Public Records Available Online?
Like many states, South Dakota offers some public records online through its official website. However, not all public records are available online.
Some of the public records that are available online include:
- Vital Records
- Criminal Records
- Business Filings
- Court Records
You may need to create an account and log in to access these records.
You can also access some public records through third-party websites like InfoTracer. These websites have no affiliation with the government, but they may have access to some public records.
What Records are Available in South Dakota?
The types of records that are available to the public vary from state to state. However, some common types of public records include:
- Vital Records: birth, death, marriage, and divorce records
- Criminal Records: arrests, convictions, and mugshots
- Business Filings: business licenses, permits, and registrations
- Court Records: civil and criminal court cases
- Property Records: property ownership and tax records
The South Dakota State Historical Society also maintains various historical records, including newspapers, maps, and photographs.
What Records are Non-Public in South Dakota?
Like other Open Records laws, South Dakota also has a few exceptions regarding public records.
Some of the records that are exempt from disclosure under the South Dakota Public Records Act include:
- Trade secrets
- Information that could compromise public or individual safety
- Criminal investigation records
- Personnel records
- Confidential medical records
- Test results
Types of Public Records Available in South Dakota
Below are the most common types of public records available in South Dakota:
South Dakota Public Criminal Records
PARS is the central database that keeps South Dakota's criminal records. These records include felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions from all 66 counties in South Dakota.
To request criminal records from PARS, you can Search As A Guest or create an account. For multiple record searches, you may need to email PARS to create a draw-down account for your company. You can email your request here.
Some information you can find in a South Dakota criminal record include:
- Subject's name and aliases
- Case information
- Disposition and sentence
- Date of Birth
Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in South Dakota :
Arrest Records and Warrants
Each county in South Dakota keeps its arrest records. To request these records, you must contact the sheriff's office in the county where the arrest was made.
Certain counties such as Clay, Custer, and Fall River have an active warrant search feature on their website. If the county does not have this feature, you will need to call or visit the sheriff's office to inquire about active warrants.
The Department of Corrections also keeps a central database of all incarcerated inmates on parole or probation in South Dakota. This database is called Offender Locator, which can be searched by name or DOC number.
They also have a Most Wanted List, which includes fugitives who have failed to appear for sentencing, are on the run from authorities or have committed new crimes while on probation or parole.
Inmate and Jail Records
As mentioned above, the South Dakota Department of Corrections keeps a database of all inmates in the state called Offender Locator.
Details that you can find in an inmate record include:
- Inmate name
- Custody status
- Release date
- Physical features
- And more
Jails and Prisons in South Dakota :
South Dakota Background Checks
South Dakota employers often conduct background checks on job applicants. These checks may include a criminal background check, employment history, credit report, and more.
Background checks are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which sets strict guidelines on how employers can use this information.
To order a background check in South Dakota, you must go to the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. A set of rolled fingerprints will need to be taken, and you will need to fill out the DCI Authorization and Release form.
How to find Sex Offenders in South Dakota
The South Dakota State Legislature changed the sex offender registry laws, offering a public access internet site providing information on all registered offenders in the state.
You can either do a text search where you can enter an offender's last name, first name, or alias, or a neighborhood search where you can enter an address, city, or county to find offenders living or working near you.
An individual can also exclude incarcerated offenders, those on probation or parole, and those with a suspended sentence.
Some information that can be found on the sex offender registry includes:
- Name and aliases
- Date of birth
- Physical description
- Home address
- And more
South Dakota Public Vital Records
The Department of Health is in charge of vital records for the state of South Dakota. You can request birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates from this office.
To request a vital record, you will need to be either a:
- The registrant's spouse
- Next of kin
- Authorized representative
Proof of relationship will need to be provided and a form of identification. The requested records can be mailed, picked up in person, or ordered online.
To order in person, you must fill out this application form, submit proof of identification, and pay a $15 fee. Sending by mail requires a completed application, which is signed before a notary or presented with a clear copy of a photo ID and the correct fee.
You can go to this website for online orders and follow the instructions.
You may check the details here for more information on obtaining South Dakota's vital public records.
South Dakota Court Records
Civil judgments and bankruptcies are public records in South Dakota. They can be accessed online through the South Dakota Unified Judicial System.
You need to create an account to access the records.
You may also go to the court clerk's office in the county where the case was filed and request the records in person or by mail.
Fees will apply.
State Court System in South Dakota
The South Dakota Unified Judicial System is the state's court system that hears civil, criminal, juvenile, and probate cases.
There are three levels of courts in South Dakota:
- Supreme Court: The Supreme Court is the highest in the state, and its main task is to review appeals from lower courts.
- Circuit Courts: There are 7 circuit courts in South Dakota that hear both criminal and civil cases.
Magistrate Courts: Magistrate courts are the lowest level of court in the state and have limited jurisdiction. They mainly deal with small claims, traffic violations, and misdemeanors.
Courts in South Dakota :
The Department of Public Safety maintains all driving records for South Dakota.
You may request your driving record or the record of another driver if you are a company that employs drivers, an insurance company, or a government agency.
You may request the driving record by mail by completing this form and submitting a $5 fee.
You may also request the driving record by going to this office and paying a $5 fee.
For a company requesting driving records, you need to accomplish this form. A $5 fee per record will also apply.
Civil Driving Infractions
A civil infraction is a noncriminal violation punishable by a monetary fine.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety maintains records of all civil driving infractions. These can be seen in driving records or court records.
South Dakota License Plate Lookup
There is no online database of license plates in South Dakota. However, you may request a license plate record by contacting the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
Third-party websites also offer license plate lookup services. However, these are not affiliated with the state and may charge a fee.
South Dakota Property and Asset Records Online
The county register of deeds maintains property records in South Dakota.
If you know the county where the property is located, you may go to that county's register of deeds office and request the records in person or by mail.
Some counties have made their property records available online with corresponding fees.
Meanwhile, unclaimed property in South Dakota is maintained by the State Treasurer's Office. This office holds abandoned or unclaimed property for the rightful owner.
You may search for unclaimed property by going to this website.
Important Government Agencies in South Dakota
Below are some essential government agencies in South Dakota:
3. South Dakota State Historical Society
4. South Dakota State Legislature
5. South Dakota Attorney General
8. South Dakota Highway Patrol
9. Department of Public Safety
10. South Dakota Unified Judicial System
Counties in South Dakota
- Bon Homme
- Charles Mix
- Fall River
List of Content
- How to Find South Dakota Public Records
- What Records are Available in South Dakota?
- Types of Public Records Available in South Dakota
- Important Government Agencies in South Dakota