Louisiana Court Records
Louisiana Court Records refer to the various documents and materials generated, maintained, and preserved by Louisiana courts as a result of legal proceedings. These records provide a thorough and chronological description of the legal issues and court cases that have occurred in the state.
State court records serve as a valuable resource for legal professionals, researchers, historians, and the general public seeking to understand the state's legal history, property rights, and other legal matters.
They provide essential information such as case summaries, party names, court orders, judgments, and other legal documents that help to shed light on past legal disputes and inform current legal decisions.
In Louisiana, many court records are considered public and accessible to the general public. The Louisiana Public Records Law, found in the Louisiana Constitution and the Louisiana Revised Statutes, provides the public right to access most government records, including court records, with certain exceptions.
The Louisiana Public Records Law defines public records as any materials created or received by a public body in connection with official business, regardless of form or characteristics.
However, certain types of court records, such as juvenile court records, adoption records, and mental health records, are not public. Additionally, some court records may be subject to confidentiality agreements or sealed by court order.
Which Louisiana Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?
To efficiently locate court records in Louisiana, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of the state court system. Familiarizing oneself with the various courts in the state can simplify determining which court holds jurisdiction over a specific case and where to search for pertinent court records.
In Louisiana, the majority of publicly accessible records are housed within the trial court system, which includes the following courts:
Louisiana District Courts
Louisiana District Courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction in the Louisiana state court system. Despite having general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, District Courts typically only take on cases that fall outside the purview of other courts.
Some examples of civil and criminal cases that a District Court can hear are as follows:
- Civil disputes involving amounts of $50,000 or more
- Felony criminal cases
- Juvenile delinquency cases
- Family law cases, including divorce, child custody, and child support
- Probate and estate cases
- Real estate and property disputes
- Workers' compensation cases
Louisiana Family Court of East Baton Rouge
All proceedings for annulment, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, community property partition, and unexpected family issues in East Baton Rouge Parish are exclusively within the Family Court of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Louisiana Juvenile Courts
Louisiana Juvenile Courts handle cases involving minors accused of committing delinquent or criminal acts or needing protection and services.
These courts are established under the Louisiana Children's Code and are responsible for adjudicating juvenile cases.
Certain matters, such as adoption proceedings involving individuals under the age of 17 and juvenile delinquent actions committed by individuals under the age of 17, are exclusively within the purview of the Juvenile Courts of Caddo, Jefferson, East Baton Rouge, and Orleans Parishes. However, individuals over 15 may be tried for severe crimes in District or City Courts.
Some Juvenile Courts share jurisdiction with the District Courts over particular child support and criminal cases involving abandonment, nonsupport, or child abuse.
Furthermore, most delinquency matters, such as the following, are often handled by other Louisiana courts with juvenile jurisdiction:
- Children in need of care
- Juvenile traffic charges
- Certain cases involving mental health issues
- Cases involving the termination of parental rights
Louisiana Parish Courts
These courts share jurisdiction with the District Courts over civil disputes with money or property values up to $20,000 and criminal matters, including state, parish, and municipal law infractions, provided the crime is not punishable by a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.
Parish and District Courts may also have joint jurisdiction in certain juvenile matters.
However, the Parish Courts in Louisiana lack jurisdiction over the following cases:
- Separation of property
- Disputes over the title to immovable property
- Civil or political constitutional rights
- The right to public office or public position
- Habeas corpus
- Certain other types of cases
Louisiana City Courts
Certain categories of civil and criminal issues are within the restricted jurisdiction of Louisiana City Courts. In certain places, City Courts have replaced Justice of the Peace Courts and the Mayor's Courts.
The civil jurisdiction of City Courts extends to cases with a value between $15,000 and $50,000. When a defendant waives their right to a jury trial and an appeal, a City Court may establish a Small Claims division for most common civil claims with less than $5,000 in dispute.
In criminal matters, City Courts often hear crimes that are not punishable by hard labor and trials without a jury trial. Most criminal prosecutions in City Court are ordinance, traffic, and misdemeanor offenses.
In some issues, these courts may also hear juvenile cases.
Louisiana Justice of the Peace Courts
The Louisiana Justice of the Peace Courts have limited jurisdiction that varies depending on the court's location. In areas where City Courts have been established, these courts don't exist.
Generally, the Courts of the Justice of the Peace handle various criminal cases, including preliminary hearings for many criminal cases, minor infractions, litter violations, and non-felony criminal charges. In regions where it is present, it adjudicates civil cases and disagreements involving $5,000 or less.
However, probate proceedings, real estate title disputes, cases where the State or political subdivision is a defendant, and other categories of cases as specified by law are beyond the purview of Justice of the Peace Courts.
Louisiana Mayor's Courts
Mayor's Courts in Louisiana have the authority to impose fines, jail time, probation, and court expenses for municipal and traffic law violations. In communities without City Court, the Mayor's Court is the primary legal authority for handling these cases.
In some instances, instead of the mayor, the council of aldermen may elect a magistrate to preside over the Mayor's Court. In such cases, Magistrate Court may be used interchangeably with the Mayor's Court with an appointed magistrate.
Aside from the trial courts, Louisiana's judicial system includes appellate courts such as the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. There are five Louisiana Courts of Appeals, each with jurisdiction over a specific state geographic region.
These courts serve as an avenue for appeals from the trial courts and are responsible for maintaining and managing certain Louisiana Court Records.
What are the Common Public Court Records in Louisiana?
The state of Louisiana offers a broad selection of court records that are accessible to the public, with the most commonly available ones listed as follows:
Louisiana Civil and Small Claims Records
Louisiana Civil Records and Small Claims Records refer to official documents and records related to civil cases filed and processed in Louisiana courts.
Louisiana Civil Records pertain to litigation that typically exceeds the $5,000 monetary limit of the state's Small Claims Court. Depending on the amount of money at stake, these records are in the Civil Court division of the Parish Courts, City Courts, or District Courts.
Civil Records in Louisiana may include relevant documents related to civil cases such as personal injury claims, contract disputes, family law matters, and other non-criminal matters.
On the other hand, Louisiana Small Claims Records pertain to cases that involve monetary claims of $5,000 or less. Small Claims Court is a simplified process designed to resolve minor disputes quickly and inexpensively.
As per the regulations stated in Louisiana Revised Statute (LA RS) 13:5201, the City Court and the Justice of the Peace Courts are the higher-level entities under which Louisiana Small Claims Courts fall. Thus, these two courts manage all the small claims records in Louisiana.
Small Claims Records in Louisiana may include relevant documents related to small claims such as property damage, unpaid debts, and other minor disputes.
Both Louisiana Civil and Small Claims Records are available to the public. Interested parties can request access to these records by contacting the appropriate court and following the court's procedures for obtaining these court records.
What Information Do Louisiana Civil and Small Claims Records Contain?
Although the Louisiana Civil and Small Claims Records may differ in their contents, as Small Claims Court proceedings tend to be less formal than Civil Courts, both repositories include information about legal disputes in Louisiana, which includes:
- Names of the parties involved in the case, including plaintiffs, defendants, and their attorneys
- Case numbers and dates of filings
- The claim, party claims, and remedy sought in the legal conflict
- The court that heard the case, the judge who presided over the case, and any other relevant information related to the court
- Transcripts or recordings of court proceedings, including hearings and trials
- Court orders and judgments, including rulings on motions, decisions on the merits of the case, and orders for specific relief
- Notices of appeal and related documents if the case was appealed to a higher court
- Information about any settlements reached by the parties outside of court
Louisiana Criminal Records
Louisiana Criminal Records refer to any documentation or information related to criminal offenses within the state. These records include information on arrests, charges, convictions, and sentencing for crimes such as misdemeanors, felonies, and traffic violations.
In Louisiana, criminal records serve a crucial role in conducting background checks, particularly for employers who are legally obligated to do so. The information on these records enables employers to evaluate the risk associated with prospective employees, facilitating informed hiring decisions.
Aside from state courts, the Louisiana State Police (LSP) maintain Louisiana Criminal Records and make them accessible to the public. However, access to certain types of criminal records may be restricted or require a court order, such as juvenile records or records related to ongoing investigations.
The most convenient way to obtain Louisiana Criminal Records is through the LSP Internet Background Check (IBC) system. To access this system, seekers must first obtain authorization from the LSP and register an account. Note that there is a fee for each name-based criminal record search for this service.
Alternatively, one can request a Louisiana Criminal Record by mail. To do this, the requester must prepare a set of fingerprints, an authorization form, and a disclosure form. Payment must also be included in a money order, cashier, or business check. Then, mail the application packet to the LSP Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (BCII).
Lastly, individuals who wish to obtain or review their criminal records in person must visit the BCII office at 7919 Independence Blvd in Baton Rouge, LA, and present a valid state-issued photo ID or driver's license. In addition to the processing fee, this method has an additional cost for fingerprinting.
See this web page for up-to-date information on accessing Louisiana Criminal Records and details on costs and other concerns.
Louisiana Traffic Records
Louisiana Traffic Records are documents that contain information related to motor vehicle accidents and incidents that occur on Louisiana roads and highways.
These records contain a wide range of information related to vehicular traffic, including accident reports, citations, and violations. In addition, these records may include police reports, witness statements, and driver's license suspensions and revocations.
The Louisiana Public Records Law grants members of the public access to traffic records. However, the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) prohibits the disclosure of certain information in these records to the public.
Under the DPPA, personal information, including a driver's name, residential address, social security number, and medical records, are confidential and withheld from public disclosure.
The Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) or state courts create Louisiana Traffic Records when someone with a Louisiana driver's license commits a traffic offense. The same agencies maintain and disseminate the records to interested persons upon request.
Louisiana residents can access their traffic records through the OMV online service by requesting their official driving records. To search for their record, they must provide their name, birth date, address, driver's license number, audit number, and license class.
Upon purchasing the record, printing it immediately or within 30 days is advisable. If this time frame elapses, the individual must repurchase it.
Furthermore, the Louisiana state court system maintains traffic case records. To access these records, individuals must contact the court that handled a specific case or utilize any case search or retrieval tool available on the court clerk's website.
Free access to these records is generally available to those who visit a courthouse during working hours. However, some court clerks, such as the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court, offer remote access to traffic case records, but requesters must pay a fee to search or print the documents.
Louisiana Probate Records
One of the standard Louisiana Court Records is the probate records. Probate records are legal documents generated during the state probate process.
In Louisiana, the probate process occurs in the District Court of the parish in which the deceased resided.
The Louisiana probate procedure includes designating an executor or administrator, inventorying the deceased's assets, paying taxes and debts, and distributing any remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Throughout this process, numerous records are generated, including wills, inventories, petitions, receipts, and distribution records.
These records contain a wealth of information on the deceased and their family members, including their names, dates of birth and death, occupations, and places of residence. They also provide information on the deceased's assets, such as land, buildings, personal property, debts, and creditors.
Louisiana probate records are a valuable resource for anyone conducting genealogical research in the state.
One way to access Louisiana probate records is by contacting the District Court of the parish in which the deceased resided. The court clerk's office can access the documents, but one must give the decedent's name and the date of their death to facilitate the search.
Another way to access Louisiana probate records is through online genealogical databases, such as the Louisiana Digital Library (LDL). The LDL allows individuals to search for probate records by name, date of death, and other relevant information. Additionally, it may provide access to other genealogical resources, including census and land records.
Louisiana Family Records
Family records from courts in Louisiana are essential documents for individuals who want to comprehend and maneuver through the legal system in matters related to their family. These records provide information regarding legal disputes involving families, such as divorce, child custody, adoption, and domestic violence.
Louisiana Family Records include various legal documents, such as petitions, orders, judgments, and transcripts of court proceedings. These records often contain sensitive and personal information about the parties involved, including their names, addresses, and financial information.
Family court records also benefit historians, genealogists, and researchers since they provide light on Louisianan families' dynamics and interrelationships. The documents can help trace family histories, providing information on marriage and divorce dates, children's names, and legal guardianship.
Generally, the requester must provide the court clerk or archivist with the case number, the names of the parties, and any other relevant information to access a Louisiana Family Record. They may also need to fill out a request form and pay a fee.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Records
Trial courts maintain the majority of Louisiana Court Records. However, bankruptcy records are administered explicitly by the following federal courts in the state:
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Louisiana
Louisiana Bankruptcy Records are vital for individuals and businesses seeking information about bankruptcy filings.
Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that absolves people and businesses from excessive debt. Like in other states, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the common types of bankruptcy filings in Louisiana.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy entails selling off the debtor's non-exempt possessions to reimburse creditors. Individuals with limited income or assets often utilize this form to pay off their debts. Most unsecured debts, such as medical bills, are discharged in this bankruptcy filing.
On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires the creation of a repayment schedule that allows the insolvent individual three to five years to pay off their debts. This form of bankruptcy is more suitable for individuals with a consistent income who want to retain their assets, such as their home or vehicle.
The debtor can repay missed payments via the repayment plan while meeting their current financial commitments.
Regardless of the bankruptcy filings, Louisiana Bankruptcy Records typically contain the following information:
- Name of the individual or business filing for bankruptcy
- Date of filing
- Case number assigned by the bankruptcy court
- Status of the case (open, closed, discharged, dismissed, etc.)
- Debtor's list of assets and liabilities
- Court judgments and orders related to the bankruptcy case
- Details of any agreements or settlements reached between the debtor and creditors
- Contact information for the debtor and their attorney, if applicable
How To Obtain Bankruptcy Records in Louisiana?
Obtaining bankruptcy records can be a crucial task for individuals in various circumstances. These records can serve as evidence in legal proceedings or provide insight into past financial decisions. If one needs to obtain bankruptcy records in Louisiana, one can do so through several means.
The central location to receive hard copies of Louisiana Bankruptcy Records is the Clerk of Court's Office. Anyone interested in learning more about a bankruptcy case may contact the bankruptcy court clerk. The documents may be obtained by request over the counter at the Clerk's Office or court location.
In addition, at the Clerk's Office or court location, requesters may use public access terminals to do free record searches or pay a fee to print documents.
Alternatively, these records are available electronically using the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. One must create an account to access the desired bankruptcy information through PACER. Access to case information on PACER is subject to fees as per the system fee schedule.
Lastly, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) offers an electronic method through its website for obtaining data about closed bankruptcy cases. Requestors must complete the NARA request form and send it by fax, email, or regular mail to get Louisiana Bankruptcy Records. The NARA fee schedule provides information on charges for this service.
Does Louisiana Have a Case Search?
Louisiana does not have a centralized case search system that allows the public to access electronic records from the state trial courts. Therefore, it can be challenging to access and obtain Louisiana Court Records. However, there are alternative ways to access and obtain these records.
To obtain court records in Louisiana, one must follow specific steps. First, interested parties must identify the kind of court records they seek and locate the courthouse that keeps the case records. Generally, the clerk in the courthouse where a case originates generates and maintains the official court records.
The Louisiana Judicial Branch website can help locate the appropriate courthouse. Louisiana's courts are divided into Judicial Districts, and each parish's courthouse belongs to one. After identifying the proper courthouse, interested parties can request court documents at the Clerk's Office.
Depending on the courthouse, a written request and proper identification may be required. In some cases, completing request forms with relevant information about the case, such as the case number or the names of the parties involved, is necessary.
In some parishes, requests for court records can be made online or by mail. Others, like the Webster Parish Clerk of Court, have an online record search that requires the requestor to register for an account and pay a subscription fee. After registration, the registrant can access records whenever they log in.
To obtain accurate information about the available options and precise methods for obtaining court records in Louisiana, individuals must contact the appropriate court clerk or the courthouse in the parish that maintains the records.
Additionally, individuals must ask the court clerk about the fees associated with duplicating and producing the necessary records, as the costs vary depending on the record type and delivery method.
Counties in Louisiana
- De Soto
- East Baton Rouge
- East Carroll
- East Feliciana
- Jefferson Davis
- La Salle
- Pointe Coupee
- Red River
- Saint Bernard
- Saint Charles
- Saint Helena
- Saint James
- Saint Landry
- Saint Martin
- Saint Mary
- Saint Tammany
- St John The Baptist
- West Baton Rouge
- West Carroll
- West Feliciana
Courts in Louisiana
List of Content
- Which Louisiana Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?
- What are the Common Public Court Records in Louisiana?
- Does Louisiana Have a Case Search?