Effective October 1, 2016, the State of Michigan is changing the fee structure for recording a document at the county level to a flat rate basis, regardless of the number of pages. Per the law, the new fee to record a document will be $30.00. This fee includes the Michigan Remonumentation and Register of Deeds Automation fees. For a document that assigns or discharges more than 1 instrument there will be a $3.00 fee for each instrument assigned or discharged in addition to the $30.00 flat fee.
The effect of the new law is that it will increase the recording fees for many documents that consist of fewer than eight pages, and decrease fees for documents containing eight pages or more.
The certification fee will increase from at least $1.00 (may be higher in some counties) to $5.00. The copy fee remains at $1.00 per page. Search fees remain at 50 cents for each year searched with a minimum of $5.00 - except for tract index searches.
Recording fees are set by the Michigan Legislature. Public Acts 224 through 232 of 2016 set the new fees, see www.legislature.mi.gov and click on the Public Act MCL Search on the left edge.
With election time looming, there is increased interest in who is supporting who - including donations, PAC money, and data about lobbyists. The text about these recommended private resources is taken from the upcoming 4th edition of The Manual to Online Public Records.
OpenSecrets.orgis an extremely useful site. Per their web page "...is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government."
Another recommended site is FollowTheMoney.org which is maintained by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The Institute provides a searchable database with substantive profiles on candidates and issues, insightful reports and reliable data for all 50 states. This excellent web page also has many, many other database searches available on a subscription basis only.
Also, a great searchable directory of lobbying firms is found at LobbyData.com. Search by name, the agency involved or by issue.
The VoteSmartsite tracks many facts about candidates including campaign contributions; however, data may be lacking for local politicians. The site includes voting records and evaluations by special interest groups.
Effective October 1, 2016, the fee for a name-based criminal record check processed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol CJIS Division will increase from $12.00 to $13.00 per record.
The state fee for a fingerprint based check will remain the same, however the FBI fee will decrease to $12.00 per applicant and to $10.75 for volunteers.
Note that if ordering a criminal record request electronically, a processing service fee is added when using a credit or debit card. The fee is based on volume, not on a per transaction basis. For example, if the transaction total is under $50.00 the fee is $1.25, if $50.01 to $75.00 then $1.75 is added, if $75.01 to $100.00 then $2.15 is added. Anything over $100.00 incurs a 2.15% surcharge fee.
Driving Record & Vehicle Record Fee Increase Coming Soon in Michigan
Effective 10-1-2016, the fee to obtain a driving record or a vehicle record (such as title or registration) will increase by $3.00 from $8.00 to $11.00. This fee increase affects both over-the-counter and electronic access methods.
Colorado Driving Record Fee Increased For Manually Processed Records
Effective July 1, 2016, the fee for a driving record obtained in person or by mail increased from $2.60 to $9.00. A certified record increased from $3.20 to $10.00. Note the fee for an accident report also increased to $9.00 and $10.00 if certified.
The fee for electronic driving records did not increase, at least for now, and remains at $2.00 per record. Also the record fee for vehicle title and registration records did not increase and remains at $2.20 per record or $2.70 if certified.
Online or Onsite? Which Fee is Higher?
Here are some interesting statistics comparing the fee of a driving record obtained electronically versus obtained manually (mail or onsite) within the same state.
in 23 states the online fee is higher
in 12 states the online fee is lower
in 16 states the fee is the same
Beware of vendors who will charge the higher price, regardless of which access method is used. To view a list of current fees with a breakdown if online, onsite, or by mail see:
There are three key reasons why the completeness, consistency, and accuracy of state criminal record repositories could be suspect-
Timeliness of Receiving Arrest and Disposition Data
Timeliness of Entering Arrest and Disposition Data into the Repository
Inability to Match Dispositions with Existing Arrest Records
The basis for these concerns is supported by documented facts provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Every two years the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics releases an extensive Survey of State Criminal Record Repositories. The latest survey, released December 2015 and based on statistics complied as of Dec 31, 2014, is a 117-page document with 36 data tables. Below are some eye-catching facts reflected from the current Survey:
8 states report 25% or more of all dispositions received could NOT be linked to the arrest/charge information in the state criminal record database. 14 states don't know how many dispositions they have that cannot be linked. (Table 8a)
20 states have over 3 million unprocessed or partially processed court dispositions, ranging from 200 in Michigan and North Dakota to over 1 million in Nevada. (Table 14)
11 states report at least a 50 day backlog between the time when a felony case is decided and when the record is entered in that state's criminal history database. 18 states do not know how long the delay is. (Table 14)
To view or download a recently posted article with some eye-opening individual state stats from several of the Tables visit the BRB Knowledge Center.
With the June addition of Cimarron County, free web access to docket information for civil and criminal docket information is now available for all 77 Oklahoma counties at www.oscn.net/dockets/. Search by name or case number. One may also search traffic tickets. Be sure to check the Court Records Help link for searching help including the wild card characters.
While this site is an excellent choice for pre-screening, the site is not considered to be online onsite equivalent. One issue is the site does not indicate the throughput of records per county. One does not know how far back the records go. Plus according to one nationally known record retrieval firm based in Oklahoma:
"Each district court is responsible for the accuracy of data entry. There continues to be a problem requiring a manual pull of the hard copy file to validate information. The OSCN has blocked access to the public viewing information to certain identifier fields and approx. 80% of scanned documents. This information is only available by using a terminal at a physical court location."
OSCN is rated as a 2 (scale is 1 to 5 with 1 being best) on the Equivalency Matrix for subscribers at CriminalRecordSources.com.
Use caution when using this site for strong due diligence needs.
Delaware is increased a number of motor vehicle fees this fall, including an increase for a driving record from $15.00 to $25.00. Record certification increases from $20.00 to $30.00. There is no fee increase associated with obtaining title or registration records. HB140 was signed by the Governor on July 1st and is expected to take effect on October 1, 2015.
Other fees that will increase include: issuance of duplicate licenses, titles, and registrations; for tag transfers; for issuing a title; for placing a lien on a title; and for reinstatement of revoked or suspended licenses. Most increases range from 40% to 100% and some increases are even much higher. The extra funds will be used to support the Transportation Trust Fund.
Therefore any record searches that involve an amount between $75,000 and $100,000 should now be performed at both courts.
At this time, the state judicial web page has not been updated to reflect the new amount, nor have the majority of the county web pages been updated.
For detailed case docket data, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) provides the Judicial Information System's subscription service called JIS-Link which provides access to all counties and court levels. One may search a single county or statewide for criminal searches; however, searching for civil records is by single county only. Civil cases include small claims, domestic violence, vehicle impounds, name changes, anti-harassment petitions, and lien foreclosures vehicle impounds, and property damages.
The JIS subscription includes access to SCOMIS (the case management system) and ACORDS (appellate courts data). SCOMIS enables the superior court to record parties and legal instruments filed in superior court cases, to set cases on court calendars, and to enter case judgments and final dispositions. It is important to note that when a SCOMIS case number is found in the JIS application, detail level of the case may need to be viewed within the appropriate SCOMIS court display.
The throughput date for JIS is normally back to 1994 or 1995 and the dates vary from 1979 to 1993 for SCOMIS. The subscription fees include a one-time $100.00 per site, a transaction fee of $.065. There is a $6.00 per month minimum charge. Visit www.courts.wa.gov/jislink or call 360-357-3365.
A limited, free look-up of docket information is at http://dw.courts.wa.gov/. Search by name or case number. The index is of cases filed in the municipal, district, superior, and appellate courts of the state of Washington. The purpose of this site is to point where the official or complete court record is housed. As such, the outcome is not shown, but a link to a summary of the judgment does appear. No identifiers are shown. The search is by Municipal and District cases or by Superior cases or by Appellate cases.
Per Alaska Supreme Court Order No. 1861, effective August 1st, a number of record searching and filing court fees are dramatically increasing in Alaska for the Superior and District courts.
For example, a court record search requested in writing, will be $30.00 an hour, up from $15.00 an hour. The cost for a photo copy, including if from microfilm, is changing from $.25 per page to $5.00 for a single document or portion thereof. Certification increases from $5.00 to $10.00 per document.
If you are interested on being kept up-to-date on all public records matters, you may not be aware of the free electronic newsletter BRB provides. You can view previous editions at https://www.brbpublications.com/newsletter/Newsletter.aspx. You can sign-up there as well. All that is needed is an email address. I promise there is no spam marketing going on with this free newsletter.
The state judiciary is in transition to a new case management system which includes an upgrade to public access online. Twins Falls County is the only county on the new system - which is in a pilot phase. This means that two systems must now be accessed to do a complete statewide search for court records, including either a criminal or civil record search.