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Utah Court Records

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Where to Find Utah Civil Court Records

Civil cases in Utah refer to all non-criminal disputes that occur within the state's jurisdiction. These cases range from private disputes to class action lawsuits. Similarly, court proceedings of civil cases are governed by the Civil Code of the State Legislature. For every complaint or process that is filed with the court, a record is opened for that particular case. The record is regularly updated to reflect the status of the case at any point in time. These records are referred to as civil court records. The District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil cases, while appeals arising from the trial court are heard at the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of the state. Civil court records are typically stored in the office of the Court Clerk. Eligible individuals who wish to access the records can use third-party aggregate sites like UtahCourtRecords.Us to locate them.

Are Utah Civil Court Records Public?

Generally, the Government Records Access and Management Act gives Utah citizens the right to view and copy most public records, having met the eligibility requirements for the record of interest. Even so, personal identifiers in civil court documents are kept from public view. The rule of confidentiality is applied to juvenile court information, financial information, adoption and custody files, vital records, victim information, and sealed records. Non-public information is documented and filed separately in a coded form. Codes could be in the form of abbreviations of names as initials, last four digits of identification numbers, address of a non-party. The coded document is retained within the court but not available to the public. Some civil cases are kept private such as adjudication of marriage, paternity cases, child custody, stalking injunctions, and any record including details regarding victims or minors. Usually, eligible persons include the subject of the record, the party's legal representatives, and agents with a court or executive order.

Types of Cases in Utah Civil Courts

District Courts in Utah's trial court system hear many civil cases. Some of them are:

  • Business disputes
  • Contract disputes
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Personal injury litigation
  • Defamation or libel
  • Professional malpractice
  • Fraud
  • Battery
  • Bankruptcy
  • Tort Cases
  • Class Action cases
  • Property disputes such as disagreement over boundaries or property title
  • Marriage and family-related disputes such as child custody, divorce, spousal support, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency

Juvenile Courts have equal jurisdiction with District Courts on juvenile matters. Justice Courts hear small claims and municipal ordinance violations.

What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in Utah?

Both cases involve an aggrieved plaintiff and a defendant. There are, however, notable differences between them:

  • In civil cases, the plaintiff is the individual who files a complaint with the court. On the other hand, the state presents a charge against the defendant.
  • In civil cases, attorneys may or may not be needed. In criminal cases, a prosecuting and defending attorney for each party is required.
  • Most civil cases do not need a jury. Criminal cases frequently use jury trials. The purpose of a jury is to ensure a balanced opinion about the case.
  • The word "resolution" is often used for civil cases because the goal of court action is to restore relief and end disputes. On the contrary, a resolution is not the goal of a criminal case trial; instead, it serves justice to the victim of the crime.
  • Civil cases are resolved with the payment of fines or even through an out-of-court mediation process. Criminal cases are designed to be punitive, often involving the loss of freedom or the offender's life.
  • Civil court procedures are simpler and more straightforward, while criminal court procedures are more complex and follow a painstaking investigation process.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records In Utah?

Utah courts maintain records of the cases heard within the court's jurisdiction. The state's laws allow interested and eligible persons to visit the courthouse office during business hours to view the record of interest. At the courthouse, the court clerk and associated staff respond to the requests to view or copy documents according to the public records guidelines. Persons who cannot visit the courthouse have the option of requesting in writing. A request may not be granted if the basic requirements for processing it are not met.

Ascertain Eligibility

Although most records are accessible to anyone in the state, there are restrictions on who can access some type of civil court records. For example, some records from the Domestic Relations Division of the District Court are disclosed only to the persons listed in the file, the person's immediate family relatives, and the person's legal representatives. Persons outside this category must have a court order to access them. In some cases, eligibility status may change with time. Restricted records of over 50 years become publicly accessible.

Compile the necessary information required to request the record as it will be used to search for the record at the courthouse. The information includes the date of filing of the case, the courthouse address where the case was filed and heard, the name of the plaintiff, the defendant, the legal representatives for both parties, the division of the court that filed the case, and the case file or docket number.

There are five types of courts in Utah- the appellate division comprising the state Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and the trial courts made up of District, Juvenile, and Justice Courts. The court that filed or heard the case is the court to which request must be sent. A directory of District Court Locations is available on the Utah Courts website. The directory contains information about the physical and mail addresses, phone numbers, and fax addresses. There are eight Judicial Districts that serve the 28 counties of the state. Use the Justice Court and Juvenile Court Directory to retrieve contact information about the court of interest. Juvenile Courts are typically situated within the District Court facility.

Using the compiled information, plan a visit to the courthouse, or if preferred, prepare a written request and address it to the courthouse of interest. Some county courts provide alternative options to requesting records or making inquiries on the websites. Ensure that in-person visits are made during business hours. Bring along or enclose evidence of eligibility and a valid means of identification. Also, prepare to pay for the costs of copying records. All the state District Courts and the State Law Library have self-help terminals within the premises. Here requesters can search for records by themselves. Persons seeking to print out pages should make allowance for the payment of printing service. The State Law Library provides self- service copier and scanner services for free. Pages of records at the terminals are not considered to be court-certified. Therefore, requests for certified copies of records must be made directly to the courthouse clerk. Processing fees are charged based on the type of record requested and the amount of time and labor consumed.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records Online?

The eight judicial districts and Justice Courts of the state have a central online compilation of court case information known as XChange. Here, all District and Justice Courts records since July 1st, 2010, are available as summary information online. XChange is a fee-subscription based service. Here, monthly subscriptions of $40 after an initial $25 new user subscription must be paid using a credit card. Monthly searches beyond 500 in a month attract extra 15 cents. Searches that return the attached documents cost another 50 cents per document. Governmental users that cannot afford the fees can write for a waiver of fees using the agency letterhead and send it along with a copy of a completed agreement to the Administrative Office of Courts located at:

450 South State
P. O. Box 140241
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-0241
Phone: (801) 578-3800

Searches can be made either based on the type of case or the name of the party. Records that are closed from public access are not available online. Restricted details include:

  • Adoptions
  • Civil commitments
  • Expunged records
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Child welfare and termination of parental rights
  • Divorce, adjudication of marriage
  • Civil stalking
  • Guardianships, conservatorships, and paternity
  • Medical records
  • Victim impact statement

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What Is Included In a Utah Civil Court Record?

The contents of a civil court record are unique to the case and the jurisdiction of the court that generated them. A few primary documents are a general feature of a civil court record:

  • Personal data about the plaintiff and the defendant involved
  • A copy of the complaint filed by the plaintiff as receipts of court filing fees
  • A copy of summons issued by the court to the defendant
  • A copy of proof of service of papers to the defendant
  • Copy of court orders such as restraining or protection orders
  • Copy of the notice of rights and liabilities of the involved parties
  • Documents of evidence such as receipts, invoices, memorandum of agreements, letters of appointments
  • Written or audio/video recorded minutes of court hearing session
  • Court opinions, decrees, dispositions and judgments

How to Access Utah Civil Court Records For Free

All Judicial Districts in Utah and the State Law Library have public self-service terminals that allow interested persons to view records for free. Another way is to visit the court in the custody of the record and request to view the documents. Persons wishing to obtain printouts of electronic pages at the public terminals will need a printer's services, thus incurring printing charges. The State Law Library provides copier and scanner services for free.

Government agency delegates also are allowed to view and copy records on behalf of the establishment for free. Restricted documents are not available for viewing through any public request route, except through a court order. Only eligible persons can view confidential records for free.

How to Seal Civil Court Records in Utah

Civil Court Records could be sealed on the prerogative of the court. It means that the judge issues the sealing of a record if the benefits of restriction outweigh the benefits of public knowledge, which is true of confidential details that are routinely redacted from public access, such as:

  • Driver's license ID
  • Phone numbers and other contact details of involved parties
  • Financial or property information and social security numbers
  • Names and biodata of victims involved in the case
  • Details about minor in the record

If a civil court record is sealed in its entirety, it means that only the subject of the record, the legal representatives, law enforcement agencies can access the record.

If an involved party wishes to remove certain information from the public domain, such a request must be put into writing as a petition filed with the court having jurisdiction over the case. The presiding judge examines the petition at a court hearing for credibility. Suppose the request is approved, the judge issues a court order to seal the record for a set time frame. The time frame could range from months to a permanent seal status. When it is sealed, non-eligible persons must obtain a court order before access to the record is granted.

How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in Utah

Searches for sealed records in Utah return no results. Unless granted express permission by the court or state, a requester cannot view or copy sealed records. To access a sealed record, the inquirer must petition the court to unseal the document for access. Depending on the reason for the petition, the court authority can approve the request by granting the requester a court order to access the record.

 

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