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Indiana Court Records

Indiana Court Records consist of various legal documents related to cases handled by Indiana state courts. These are public records under Indiana Access to Public Records Act (APRA), which means they are available for viewing and research purposes.

This law ensures that court records in Indiana are generally accessible to the public, except in limited circumstances where specific exemptions apply, such as records that contain sensitive information or documents sealed by court order.

These records document the details of legal proceedings, including evidence presented, decisions made, and the reasoning behind those decisions. By making these records available to the public, the courts ensure that everyone can understand how the legal system works and can hold judges, attorneys, and other court personnel accountable for their actions.

Without these records, the legal system would lack transparency, and ensuring fairness and justice for all would be much more challenging.

Court records in Indiana contain a wealth of information about legal proceedings in the state. Depending on the case and stage, these documents may include different information. Generally, the following are some of the information or materials that you can find when you access these documents:

  • Basic case information, such as the names of the parties involved, the case type, and the court that heard the case
  • Copies of legal documents filed by both parties, including pleadings, motions, and petitions
  • Copies of orders and judgments issued by the court, which can provide insights into the reasoning behind the court's decision
  • Transcripts of the trial, which provide a detailed account of the testimony and evidence presented during the proceedings
  • Docket entries, which provide a chronological record of the proceedings, including any hearings, orders, or motions filed in the case

Which Indiana Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?

Understanding how the state court system operates to obtain court records in Indiana is essential. This knowledge includes familiarity with the various levels of courts within Indiana, their jurisdiction, and the procedures involved in filing and processing court documents.

You can effectively locate and obtain the necessary court records by thoroughly understanding the Indiana court system and its workings.

In Indiana, the court system comprises the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Trial Courts. Most publicly accessible records in Indiana are in the following Trial Courts:

Indiana Circuit Courts

Circuit Courts in Indiana have general jurisdiction over all criminal and civil issues but often only hear cases that exceed the authority of lower courts.

These courts can consider proceedings involving all forms of felonies and minor crimes. In counties lacking Superior Courts, they handle misdemeanors and ordinance infractions.

In terms of civil proceedings, a Circuit Court in Indiana can hear general civil claims exceeding other courts' jurisdiction. In counties without Superior Courts, these courts also hear small claims matters, except in Marion County, where each township has its local Small Claims Court.

Aside from that, Indiana Circuit Courts have the authority to hear domestic relations proceedings, including:

  • Divorce
  • Paternity
  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Domestic violence protection orders

Circuit Courts have concurrent jurisdictions with the Superior Courts over the following cases:

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Mental health
  • Probate matters

Indiana Superior Courts

Aside from the shared jurisdictions with the Circuit Courts, Superior Courts in Indiana have broad authority over most civil and criminal issues, although they vary based on county-specific jurisdiction. Some courts may have particular divisions, such as Criminal, Civil, and Family.

Generally, Indiana Superior Courts consider matters involving felonies, misdemeanors, general civil claims, and small claims, except in Marion County, where each township has its own Small Claims Court.

Indiana City and Town Courts

City and Town Courts in Indiana have limited authority, which varies depending on the court.

Generally, a City Court or Town Court has the authority over the following cases:

  • Certain misdemeanors
  • Infractions
  • All municipal or town ordinance breaches

These courts may have some authority over civil matters, subject to monetary restrictions. But they can't hear the following:

  • Equity
  • Injunctive relief
  • Dissolution of marriage
  • Libel
  • Slander
  • Probate matters
  • Foreclosures with disputed property titles
  • Other cases involving concerns of title to real estate

Indiana Tax Court

The Indiana Tax Court, headquartered in Indianapolis, is a specialized court in the state that handles tax-related cases. The court has jurisdiction over disputes involving state and local taxes, including income tax, property tax, and sales tax.

The court's primary function is to provide an independent forum for taxpayers to challenge tax assessments or penalties imposed by state or local tax authorities.

Indiana Marion County Small Claims Courts

Small Claims Courts in Marion County townships have jurisdiction over disputes involving relatively small amounts of money, usually $8,000 or less.

These courts handle cases involving landlord-tenant disputes, contract disputes, and other legal matters where the claim amount falls within the court's jurisdictional limit. The court also handles cases involving auto accidents and personal injury claims.

Indiana St. Joseph County Probate Court

The St. Joseph County Probate Court in Indiana has jurisdiction over probate matters, such as the administration of estates, the probate of wills, and the appointment of guardians and conservators for minors and incapacitated adults.

In addition, this court has exclusive jurisdiction over adoptions, child protection, juvenile delinquency, and paternity issues.

This court shares jurisdictions with the Circuit Court and Superior Court.

What are the Common Public Court Records in Indiana?

Indiana has a range of public court records that offer valuable insights into legal proceedings and are available to the general public. The following are some of the most prevalent public Indiana Court Records, along with an overview of the type of information they contain.

Indiana Civil and Small Claims Records

Indiana Civil Records and Small Claims Records from courts are legal documents and records related to court proceedings in Indiana. However, there are some critical differences between the two.

The main differences between these court records in Indiana are the types of cases they document and the amount of money involved in the disputes.

Civil court records typically document more complex cases and involve more significant amounts of money, while small claims court records document more minor disputes resolved in a more informal setting. Additionally, the procedures and rules for small claims court cases are often more straightforward and streamlined than those for civil court cases.

Civil court cases in Indiana involve various legal issues, such as personal injury claims, contract disputes, property disputes, and family law matters. On the other hand, some common types of small claims court cases in Indiana include disputes over unpaid bills, damaged property, and breach of contract.

Nonetheless, when you access both of these records, it will typically give you the following information:

  • The names and contact information of the parties involved in the case
  • The disputed amount of money
  • The cause of the legal dispute and the legal theories presented by each party
  • Details of the legal proceedings, including motions, orders, and filings
  • Final judgments or decisions made by the court
  • Evidence presented by both parties, such as receipts, contracts, or photographs
  • Any witness testimony or statements made by the parties involved

Where to Find Indiana Civil and Small Claims Records?

Civil matters, including small claims, primarily come within the jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts and Superior Courts of Indiana. Generally, Indiana's Small Claims Courts hear civil cases if the amount in dispute does not exceed $6,000. However, in Indiana Marion County Small Claims Courts, the amount could go up to $8,000 in damages.

Statutorily, some City and Town Courts can hear small claims cases. This court's jurisdiction in small claims proceedings depends on the region's population where the court sits.

Town Courts in the biggest town in counties with more than 400,000 but less than 700,000 residents and City Courts in the five cities with the highest population in counties with 400,001 to 699,999 residents may hear small claims up to $6,000.

City Courts in non-county seat cities with populations under 35,000 may hear small claims cases up to $3,000.

Conversely, City Courts in cities with a population ranging from 10,500 to 11,000 may hear small claims cases in which the amount in dispute is at most $1,500.

Moreover, the Indiana Tax Court has a small claims docket with initial jurisdiction over the Indiana Department of Revenue refund claims of less than $5,000.

Once you have identified the court and have the case number, contact the court clerk to request a copy of the record. You can do this by phone, email, or in person. Be prepared to provide your identification and pay any fees for obtaining the record.

Indiana Criminal Records

One of the most requested Indiana Court Records is criminal records. Indiana Criminal Records refer to official records of an individual's criminal history maintained by law enforcement agencies and the Indiana state government.

These records are essential for background checks, employment screening, and other legal or administrative purposes.

Upon accessing a criminal record in Indiana, you may find a range of information, including:

  • Personal information, such as the person's full name, date of birth, gender, and race
  • Any identifying information, such as tattoos, scars, or other distinguishing features
  • Any known aliases
  • Fingerprints
  • Mugshot
  • Arrest information, such as the arrest date and location, the agency that made the arrest, and the charges brought against the person
  • Conviction details, such as the conviction date of the conviction, the court where it took place, and any post-conviction status
  • Information about any fines, probation, or jail time imposed as part of the sentence
  • Details about any outstanding warrants for the person's arrest

Indiana's local courts and law enforcement agencies send criminal record information to the Indiana State Police (ISP). Using this collective data, the ISP has established a central repository called the Criminal History Search Services (CHSS), which provides access to Indiana Criminal Records.

You can conduct a name-based or fingerprint-based search to obtain information about an individual's criminal history from this state repository.

Alternatively, you can submit a Request for Limited Criminal History form and a certified check or money order for the appropriate fee to the ISP Criminal History Limited Check Section mailing address (provided in the form) to obtain a criminal record in Indiana.

Indiana Traffic Records

Indiana Traffic Records are official documents that contain information about the driving and traffic history of individuals who use the roads in Indiana.

Several government agencies create and maintain these records, including the police departments, the state's courts, the Department of Transportation, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). However, the BMV serves as Indiana's primary custodian of traffic records, acting as the central repository for these documents.

Various individuals and organizations use these records for different purposes, such as insurance companies investigating claims, attorneys representing clients in traffic cases, or employers conducting background checks.

A typical traffic record in Indiana will reveal the following information:

  • Driver information, such as the name, address, driver's license number, and other identifying information
  • Vehicle information, such as the make, model, year, and license plate number
  • Any citations or charges issued
  • Traffic violations
  • Traffic ticket fines
  • Reinstatement fees
  • Court-ordered suspensions

There are a few ways to access Indiana Traffic Records, including online and in person. The myBMV website is one online option that provides a quick and easy overview of driving records. To use this website, users will need to create a BMV account.

Another online option is the Driver License Record Search, which requires users to have an account and pay a fee for access.

For those who prefer an in-person approach, you can visit your local BMV office or submit a request to the county clerk where the traffic citation occurred.

Indiana Probate Records

Indiana Probate Records refer to the legal documents associated with the administration of a deceased person's estate, including wills, inventories, and other records related to the distribution of assets, payment of debts, and identification of heirs.

In some cases, these records may also refer to documents related to guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. These documents show the appointment of a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated person.

The specific information in the records varies depending on the probate record type and the case circumstances. But below are some common types of information you may find in probate records in Indiana:

  • Names and relationships of family members, including spouses, children, parents, and siblings
  • Dates and locations of birth, marriage, and death
  • Inventories of the deceased person's assets
  • Information about the decedent's debts and creditors
  • Copies of the dead person's will or other estate planning documents
  • Court orders appointing executors, administrators, or guardians
  • Information about the distribution of the deceased person's assets to heirs and beneficiaries

You can obtain these records from the Circuit or Superior Court in the county that handled the case. If you cannot locate the records in these courts, try to contact or visit the Indiana St. Joseph County Probate Court.

You can also contact the county clerk's office in the county where the individual lived. The clerk's office will be able to tell you what probate records are available, how to access them, and whether there are any fees for obtaining copies.

If the county clerk and the court clerk didn't have the records, try checking with the Indiana Archives and Records Administration. The state archives may have some probate records from various counties.

Indiana Family Records

Indiana Family Records from courts are legal documents and records related to cases handled by the Family Court in the state.

Family records in Indiana courts may include various documents, such as petitions, orders, judgments, and decrees, as well as transcripts of court hearings and other court-related proceedings.

These records can provide important information about legal disputes involving families and children, including details about child custody arrangements, support payments, and other matters related to the well-being of children.

In Indiana, there is no distinct Family Court system. Instead, specialized Family Court divisions within the Indiana Superior Courts address most family law cases.

Additionally, the Indiana Superior Courts have separate Juvenile Court divisions authorized to adjudicate cases involving minors.

In Indiana, specialized registries are available to search for particular family law cases, such as child abuse and guardianship. However, certain family law records, such as adoption and most juvenile records, are not accessible online.

It is also feasible to access publicly available family court documents at the court and county clerk's office where the case occurred.

It is worth noting that access to Indiana Family Records is often restricted and confidential and may be subject to legal and procedural requirements for obtaining such records. Access to these records may be limited to parties involved in the case or their legal representatives or require a court order or other legal process.

Indiana Bankruptcy Records

Although bankruptcy records are not in the state's trial court system, they are frequently searched for in Indiana Court Records.

Bankruptcy is a legal process that enables debtors to seek relief from debt through liquidation or reorganization. It also assists creditors in recovering debts in an organized manner. Since bankruptcy is a federal process, Indiana state courts lack the authority to hear bankruptcy cases. Instead, bankruptcy cases are exclusively handled by federal courts.

Indiana Bankruptcy Records refer to official court documents and records related to bankruptcy cases filed in Indiana. The most common bankruptcy filings in Indiana are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most popular bankruptcy type in Indiana. It liquidates non-exempt assets to settle outstanding debts. In most cases, debtors who file for this bankruptcy have few assets and several unsecured debts, such as medical bills and credit card debt.

On the other hand, filing bankruptcy in Chapter 13 allows debtors to restructure their debts and pay them off over three to five years. Most of the time, debtors who file for this bankruptcy chapter have a steady income and want to keep their assets, such as their home or car.

Regardless of the bankruptcy filing, a bankruptcy record in Indiana typically has the following information:

  • Personal and contact details of the debtor
  • A detailed list of the debtor's assets
  • A list of the debtor's liabilities
  • Information about the bankruptcy filing, including the petition date and the court handling the case
  • Court orders, judgments, and other legal documents related to the bankruptcy case
  • Information about creditors, including names, addresses, and amounts owed
  • Details about any bankruptcy proceedings, including any hearings or meetings of creditors

How To Obtain Bankruptcy Records in Indiana?

Indiana has two federal bankruptcy courts: the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

The former has offices in Hammond, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, and South Bend, while the latter has locations in Evansville, Indianapolis, Terre Haute, and New Albany. These courts serve their respective districts and are responsible for handling bankruptcy cases within their jurisdiction.

The first step in obtaining Indiana Bankruptcy Records is determining which bankruptcy court has jurisdiction over the case. It will depend on the bankruptcy filer's residence or business location. Once you know the in-charge court, you can request the records from that court.

To request bankruptcy records in Indiana, you will often need to fill out a bankruptcy record request form. You can typically find this form on the website of the bankruptcy court that has jurisdiction over the case.

You can also visit the Bankruptcy Court Clerk's Office in person and use the court's public access computers to look for bankruptcy records. The public terminals and their records are accessible without restriction.

Alternatively, you can use the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. To use PACER, you must create an account. PACER is a good option if you need to access bankruptcy records from multiple courts or if you need to access the documents quickly.

Regardless of your chosen method, you must provide the case number, the debtor's name, and the filing date and pay the applicable fee to access and obtain a bankruptcy record in Indiana.

Indiana has a case search called the Odyssey Case Management System. It allows users to search for court cases in all of Indiana's Trial Courts, including Circuit and Superior Courts. This system provides access to case information, including party names, case numbers, case types, and court events.

To obtain copies of Indiana Court Records from this portal, search for the relevant case and select the option to print available documents. No charges are associated with downloading and printing records from this case search portal.

However, if the records you need are unavailable on the portal, you should contact the clerk's office or the court clerk in the county where the case was heard. You can find the contact information for the clerk's office and court clerk in the Indiana Court Directory.

The clerk's office and court clerk can provide certified copies of court records upon request for a nominal fee that covers the cost of searching and copying the records. Records requests can be made in person or in writing via mail-in. Note that the process for accessing court records varies depending on the specific court and the type of record requested.

For more information on requesting public court records in Indiana, consult this Indiana Judicial Branch guide page. You can also seek help or assistance from your local library, the Indiana Supreme Court Law Library, or the Indiana State Library.

Counties in Indiana

Courts in Indiana

Indiana Supreme Court200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN
Indiana Court of Appeals115 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN
Marion County Circuit Court200 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN
Lake County Circuit Court2293 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN
Allen County Circuit Court715 S. Calhoun St., Fort Wayne, IN
Hamilton County Circuit Court1 Hamilton Sq., Noblesville, IN
Elkhart County Circuit Court101 N. Main St., Goshen, IN
Vanderburgh County Circuit Court825 Sycamore St., Evansville, IN
Tippecanoe County Circuit Court301 Main St., Lafayette, IN
Porter County Circuit Court16 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN