Court records are those set of files kept and maintained by a competent judicial authority not only as a practical way of keeping course during the trial or other proceedings, but also as a means to allow a higher judicial authority to check that the constitutional and statutory requirements of due process are complied with during the proceedings. In addition, they serve as an effective, and oftentimes the only, way of keeping track of the things that had already been done and said during the proceeding and as such, could be used to expedite the proceedings. In Bay County, Florida, these collections of records are collectively known as Bay County Public Records.
Court records are generally available to the public because they are considered to be documents of public interest. The person who typically has custody of these documents would be the clerk of court. As the official custodian of these documents, only the clerk of court could certify the authenticity of the same, so if there is a need for copies to be authenticated, the only source could be the clerk of court. There are two ways that a copy of court records could be obtained from the clerk of court.
The first method would be to go directly to the office of the clerk of court and to make the request personally. The office of the clerk of court is located in Panama City, Florida. To be able to conduct a personal search, the searcher has to inform the clerk of his or her intention. Note that the clerk of court could not validly deny anyone the right to look into the records. Given the volume of records on file, it may take some time for the record search to be completed so it may be advisable for the searcher to return some other day. Typically, such a search would take anywhere between three to five days. Copies of official records are made available after the payment of the requisite fee which is one dollar per page, while notarization of the same would cost ten dollars. Certification costs two dollars.
The second method would be to conduct the search using the new online search database operated and maintained by the clerk of court. Note that not all of the documents on file with the clerk of court are actually available in the database, so it is possible that the only available method for the searcher would be to do it using the earlier procedure. To use the database, one only has to visit the home page of the database. Here, the searcher would be asked to input some information necessary for the search and click the search button. Note that not all blank spaces in the search page needs to be filled. Note further that it is possible for multiple returns, and in such a case, the searcher must check every return in order to find the document that he or she requested for. The copies available in the search database are not actually certified or notarized, so if there is a need for that, they must still be certified by the clerk of court.
For those who do not actually need the records to be certified or notarized, there is a third option. Arguably the most efficient method to obtain court records, this method would require the searcher only a computer and an internet connection. This is because this method would be to rely on online resources that are available, mostly for free, in the World Wide Web. These online search databases are typically more efficient because they provide not only the information that the searcher had asked for, but also other information that the searcher may find to be of other use.
Bay County Court Records Public Access
The procedure to obtain copies of court records and other public records from the office of the clerk of court is provided below
- Head over to the Office of the Clerk of Court
- At their public records division, inform the on-duty clerk of your intention to conduct a search of their records.
- Wait for the search to be finished. In some cases, these might take some time so it may be necessary to return another day.
- Once the search is completed, peruse the records.
- If you want a copy, inform the clerk and pay the requisite fee which is usually one dollar per page.
- Once the copies are made, have it certified by the clerk of court at two dollars.
Bay County Public Records Free Access
The following links may be of assistance in case of other questions.
Florida Public Records
Comprehensive Public Court Records of Florida Counties