Public Records Frequently Asked Questions (2023)

Here are some frequently asked questions by motorists about Public Records:

1. How can I obtain a copy of my driver's history?
2. How do I obtain a copy of my vehicle record?
3. If I give you a plate number, can you tell me who owns the vehicle?
4. Who might request and receive a copy of my driving record?

1. How can I obtain a copy of my driver's history?
You may request a three-year, ten-year or full driver's history by using PennDOT’s Online Services or by completing a "Request for Driver Information" form (Form DL-503) and submitting it to PennDOT. Certified histories are only available by completing Form DL-503. The form contains detailed instructions and lists fees for different types of driving records.

Forms are available online for downloading and at any messenger service office or any Driver and Vehicle Service Center location.

2. How do I obtain a copy of my vehicle record?
You may request a copy of a record for a vehicle titled in Pennsylvania. Form DL-135 'Request for Vehicle Information' is required.

The name and address of the current owner, vehicle identification number (VIN), title, and the license plate number will appear on the record. Also, the vehicle make, model and year will appear on the record. More information can be provided if specifically requested on the form.

Forms are available online for downloading and at any messenger service office or any Driver and Vehicle Service Center location.

3. If I give you a plate number, can you tell me who owns the vehicle?
No. To protect the privacy of our citizens, we will not process a request for information based solely on a tag number being provided. A legitimate request must also include the vehicle’s title number or vehicle identification number (VIN).

If you wish to obtain paid information such as this, from PennDOT, you will need to complete Form DL-135.

Please review the form carefully to determine if you are permitted to purchase the information you need.

4. Who might request and receive a copy of my driving record?
Driver information may be requested by employers, insurance companies or agents, attorneys representing you or for use by courts and law enforcement.

Return to Frequently Asked Questions


What is the time limit for a response to a public records request in Washington? ›

As any public records officer knows, an agency must respond to a Public Records Act (“PRA”) request within five business days (i.e., the same day the following week) to avoid violating the law. Under RCW 42.56.

Why public records are important? ›

Open access to public records is a cornerstone of American democracy. Such access is central to electing and monitoring public officials, evaluating government operations, and protecting against secret government activities.

What is a public record example? ›

There are many types of public records that are available for free at federal, state, county, and city level. Examples include census data, tax liens and judgments, criminal records, court records, property information, and bankruptcy rulings.

What is the Maine public records Act? ›

The Maine Freedom of Access Act (“FOAA”) grants the people of this state a broad right of access to public records while protecting legitimate governmental interests and the privacy rights of individual citizens.

How long should a public authority take to respond to a request for information? ›

Under the Act, most public authorities may take up to 20 working days to respond, counting the first working day after the request is received as the first day. For schools, the standard time limit is 20 school days, or 60 working days if this is shorter.

How long does a respondent have to answer in Washington State? ›

You can get information about their services at 20 days If you were served in person in Washington state. 60 days If you were served in person outside of Washington state or by publication. 90 days If you were served by mail.

What are the four important qualities of records? ›

Based on this study the essential characteristics of records were identified as context, form, organization, structure and version/copy.

What are the three main types of records? ›

The following sections will provide general guidance on the disposition of 4 types of records:
  • Temporary records.
  • Permanent records.
  • Unscheduled records.
  • Records on legal hold.
Dec 15, 2021

What are the three good features of records? ›

In your previous discussion, you may have identified some of the following key characteristics of good record keeping:
  • All relevant information must be recorded.
  • All paper records must be legible, signed and dated.
  • Records must be contemporaneous, accurate and kept up to date.

What are matters of public record? ›

Public records contain information, minutes, files, accounts, or any other documents that a governmental body is required to maintain, and must be accessible to the public.

What kind of information is considered public? ›

personal information that appears in a publication, including a magazine, book or newspaper, in printed or electronic form, that is available to the public, where the individual has provided the information.

What are examples of personal records? ›

Examples of these are letters, emails, diaries, photographs and daily planners. Personal records also include things like student identification cards and drivers' licenses. Dance cards, in which people kept a record of their dance partners at various social events, could be considered a type of personal record.

Can someone record you without your permission Maine? ›

Maine bars the recording, interception, use or disclosure of any in-person or telephonic conversation without the consent of at least one party to the conversation. However, the state requires the consent of all parties to record conversations occurring in places like dressing rooms and bathrooms.

Can you record someone without their knowledge and use it in court Maine? ›

3d 1144, summarizes Maine's law this way: “a person who is not the sender or receiver of a communication may not intentionally or knowingly use an intercepting device to hear or record an oral or wire communication unless he or she has been given 'prior authority by the sender or receiver.

What are the powers and duties of the record officers under the public record Act? ›

It is the responsibility of the records officer to arrange, preserve & maintain the public records and he is authorised to take action in the event of unauthorised removal or destruction of the public records from his custody.

Can I refuse to disclose information when requested? ›

Common reasons for refusal

There are always limitations on the right to demand the disclosure of information. While these exceptions differ from country to country, typically information can be refused if disclosure would harm interests such as: National security, defence or public safety.

What is the maximum amount of time that a public authority has for responding to a request made under the Freedom of Information Scotland Act 2002? ›

FOISA simply states that a public authority must comply promptly with a request for information and in any event not later then the 20th working day from receipt of the request. Public authorities should respond as quickly as possible, but in any event they must send out the response within 20 working days.

Do we have to respond to repeated requests for the same information? ›

Under section 14(2) of the Act, you do not have to comply with a request which is identical, or substantially similar to a previous request submitted by the same individual, unless a reasonable period has elapsed between those requests.

What is considered insufficient evidence? ›

Insufficient evidence is the evidence which fails to meet the burden of proof and is inadequate to prove a fact.

What is Rule 12 in Washington State court? ›

If a pleading sets forth a claim for relief to which the adverse party is not required to serve a responsive pleading, the pleader may assert at the trial any defense in law or fact to that claim for relief.

Does petitioner have to respond to respondent? ›

If you decide not to respond, then after 30 days from the date you were served with the Petition, the other party can enter you into a default status (which means that you can no longer respond). The other party will then begin the process to get a default judgment.

What are five 5 kinds of records that must be kept? ›

These include:
  • financial records.
  • legal records.
  • employee records.
  • policy and procedures.
  • other business records.
Dec 9, 2020

What are the three importance of record keeping? ›

Good records will help you do the following: Monitor the progress of your business. Prepare your financial statements. Identify sources of your income.

What are the two main characteristics of records? ›

Integrity means that the records are complete and unchanged. Usable means that records can be located, retrieved, presented, and interpreted.

What are 7 records? ›

7-inch records are often referred to as 45s due to their play speed being 45 RPM. These records are noticeably smaller than their LP counterparts, and they spin significantly faster. The higher RPM gives 45s superior sound quality, but it also means that only a few minutes of recorded sound can be stored on each side.

What are five importance of record keeping? ›

Any record keeping system should be accurate, reliable, easy to follow, consistent as to the basis used and be very simple. Good record keeping is vital in regards to meeting the financial commitments of the business and providing information on which decisions for the future of the business can be based.

What information should not be stored as records? ›

Non-records include reference information – useful data but with no evidential value – and documents – recorded information used on a daily basis that might become a record. Documents are “declared” to be records when they provide evidence of actions or decisions. A small portion of records are preserved as archives.

How do records serve as evidence? ›

The definition of a record is generally accepted as being a document that is preserved for serving a function of representing evidence of a transaction or activity, while the evidential value of a record in turn depends on the preserving of its content (the information it contains), structure (as a paper or electronic ...

Which is the most important source of records? ›

A primary source is most often created during the time the events you are studying occurred, such as newspaper articles from the period, correspondence, diplomatic records, original research reports and notes, diaries etc.

What makes effective record keeping? ›

Good record keeping starts when you create records and continues through to deletion. Manual and electronic records should be easy to find, manage and dispose of, when necessary. Classifying, titling and indexing new records can help with this. It also helps to keep a record of where you store information.

What are the two types of essential records? ›

The two basic categories of essential records are emergency operating records and legal and financial rights records.

What are the essential requirements of records? ›

4 Essentials of Records Management System
  • Simplicity: Here should be simplicity in record-keeping. ...
  • Accuracy: Records should be preserved accurately so as to reduce the chances of errors and frauds.
  • Economy: ...
  • Usefulness:

What do the official records tell and what do they not tell? ›

Expert-Verified Answer

Official records do not tell about the feelings of people of a specific country. These records do not tell how the people felt about a particular law and how they reacted to these laws. This information can be obtained from diaries maintained by people.

What is not public information? ›

means personally identifiable financial information (1) provided by a consumer to a financial institution, (2) resulting from any transaction with the consumer or any service performed for the consumer, or (3) otherwise obtained by the financial institution.

What information does the public have a right to know? ›

The right to information includes the public's right to know what the government is doing on its behalf and to participate in decision-making processes. Right to information legislation should therefore establish a presumption that all meetings of governing bodies are open to the public.

What are 3 types of private information? ›

an individual's name, signature, address, phone number or date of birth. sensitive information. credit information. employee record information.

What information is held on your personnel records? ›

The personnel file is the employees and the employers complete record of their relationship together. It contains a history from job application right the way through to the exit interview, termination of employment or even retirement. Needless to say, the personnel file is highly confidential.

Can someone record you without asking? ›

California requires the consent of all parties, with a minimum consent being the notification that the parties are being recorded in a confidential conversation with an audible beep at particular intervals throughout the recording. Without permission, an individual can face imprisonment and fines.

Can you tell someone not to record you? ›

Federal law requires one-party consent, enabling you to record a conversation in person or over the phone, but only if you are participating in the conversation. If you are not part of the conversation but you are recording it, then you are engaging in illegal eavesdropping or wiretapping.

What is violation of privacy in Maine? ›

A person is guilty of violation of privacy if, except in the execution of a public duty or as authorized by law, that person intentionally: A. Commits a civil trespass on property with the intent to overhear or observe any person in a private place; [PL 1997, c. 467, §1 (AMD).]

Can I record a conversation if I feel threatened? ›

California State Law

Unlike New York and New Jersey, California is a “two-party consent” state. This makes it illegal to record a private conversation unless all parties consent to the recording.

Can you record a Phone call? ›

On your Android device, open the Phone app . Call recording. Under 'Always record', turn on Numbers not in your contacts. Tap Always record.

Can you record a Phone call without the other person knowing? ›

If you have an Android phone, the Automatic Call Recorder by Appliqato is one of the best apps available in the Google Play Store for recording phone calls. Once installed, the app automatically records all outgoing and incoming phone calls without alerting the person you're recording.

What are the four basic principles of record keeping? ›

The 8 Principles are: Accountability, Transparency, Integrity, Protection, Compliance, Accessibility, Retention and Disposition. These are the “Principles” of good management of Records. ISO 15489: Records management is a globally recognized requirement.

Who is the keeper of the public records? ›

The Chief Executive of The National Archives, as Keeper of Public Records, has the responsibility of coordinating and supervising the selection and transfer of records to The National Archives.

What is the Public Records Act in Washington state? ›

The Washington Public Records Act (PRA) requires agencies to make public records available to members of the public with limited, narrow exemptions.

Is there a time limit on freedom of information request? ›

Under the statute, federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within twenty working days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

What is the timeframe for responding to Freedom of Information requests? ›

When you'll get a response. The organisation should send you the information within 20 working days of receiving your request. Some schools are allowed more time during school holidays. In Scotland, you should allow 6 extra days if you send your request by post.

What is a public records request Washington State? ›

The Public Records Act ( Chapter 42.56 RCW) is a Washington State law that allows you to review government records. Public records include documents in all formats, whether electronic or paper, that relate to government operations or conduct.

Can someone record you without your permission Washington State? ›

Washington is a “two-party consent” state, meaning you need the speaker's permission to record a private conversation. The applicable statute – RCW 9.73. 030 – makes most types of audio recordings illegal.

What are the contents to be recorded in the record of rights? ›

Documents prepared through survey for the purpose of determining possession, ownership and assessing Land Development Tax is known as Khatiyan. All particulars of land, including name/s, father's name, address/es and due share/s of the owners/ owners, description of land, and amount of revenue are described in Khatian.

What is exempt from public records in Washington State? ›

Certain personal and other records exempt. Personal information. Religious affiliation exemption. Investigative, law enforcement, and crime victims.

What information Cannot be requested under the Freedom of Information Act? ›

The Act does not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves) such as their health records or credit reference file. If a member of the public wants to see information that a public authority holds about them, they should make a data protection subject access request.

What information is exempt from freedom of information? ›

Some exemptions require you to judge whether disclosure may cause a specific type of harm, for instance, endangering health and safety, prejudicing law enforcement, or prejudicing someone's commercial interests. These are called prejudice-based exemptions.

What types of things can not be requested through FOIA? ›

Information/data that is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) includes:
  • Non-agency records and personal records.
  • Public requests for access to physical artifacts or scientific samples (e.g. core samples, sediment, rocks, fossils, specimen samples, blood samples).

What is a vexatious request? ›

A request is considered vexatious, if it is likely to cause a disproportionate or unjustifiable level of distress, disruption or irritation. It is not a finding that a particular individual is vexatious and that any other request from them can automatically be refused - it is about the particular request.

What do you do if a FOI is not answered? ›

Ring – if a response to the chasing email isn't received (in a reasonable amount of time) then the next option is to call the department and enquire about the request. Complain: The final measure is to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.

What to do when a FOIA request is ignored? ›

Appealing within the Relevant Agency

If the agency denies your request or does not respond within the required time period, you can appeal to the agency's FOIA Appeals Officer. If the agency sent you a denial letter, it should set out the agency's appeal procedures.

What is a matter of public record? ›

noun phrase. : something that is known because it has been publicly said or reported in the past. His opposition to the plan is a matter of record.

What is the Sunshine law in Washington State? ›

In Washington State, those laws provide for open public records and open public meetings. Since Washington voters approved the Public Disclosure Act more than 40 years ago, a growing number of exemptions have been added to public records laws.

What is meant by public record? ›

Public records contain information, minutes, files, accounts, or any other documents that a governmental body is required to maintain, and must be accessible to the public.


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