Where to Find Oklahoma Civil Court Records
In Oklahoma, civil court records are paper and electronic documents detailing the litigation processes of civil courts within the Oklahoma State Court Network. These records contain all information relevant to each civil case such as details of court summons, motions, court decrees, as well as court-awarded rights or monetary compensations granted upon concluding the case. The task of organizing civil court records and processing requests falls to the appointed court clerk. Most court clerks recommend that requesters provide sufficient specificity in their application, so records are easier to find. Alternatively, Oklahoma civil court records may be found through special search engines provided by independent sites such as OklahomaCourtRecords.Us.
Are Oklahoma Civil Court Records Public?
The Oklahoma Public Records Law preserves a right of access to public records for almost everyone unless otherwise expressly set by law. All civil court case information accessible electronically may be considered public records and can be viewed or copied without additional permissions. Generally, public civil court case information includes the names of the parties in the case, as well as details of the court actions such as court summons, warrants, court orders, actions, motions, motion arguments, Oklahoma civil courts that can be made available, include court minutes, court schedules, calendars, and court transcripts. However, the right of the public to view Oklahoma civil court records is not absolute. While records deemed 'public' may be accessed by interested members of the public, records which have been sealed on the request of the subject(s) or deemed confidential by court order are not available to all requesters.
Types of Cases in Oklahoma Civil Courts
Generally speaking, civil cases are lawsuits pertaining to disputes between individuals or establishments. Unlike criminal cases in which the state/government is the plaintiff/prosecutor, civil cases are filed by individuals and neutral parties. These cases usually arise as a result of contract breaches, personal injuries, or property damages. Oklahoma civil courts have jurisdiction over all civil cases filed within the state's jurisdiction. The following are types of cases heard by these courts:
- Cases related to unlawful employment termination
- Breach of contract and related cases
- Consumer complaints
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Interpersonal and workplace disputes
- Negligence and intentional tort cases
- Assault and battery
- Claims caused by character defamation such as slander and libel
- Property disputes
- Cases pertaining to domestic relations
- Tort case
What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in Oklahoma?
While criminal cases and civil cases share several similarities, they have key differences. In civil cases, the complainant is usually the individual who filed the suit with the court. In criminal cases, the state files charges against the offender. Typically, civil plaintiffs represent personal interests, while the criminal prosecutors defend the interests of the state. Civil cases involve disputes between two private legal entities, while criminal cases involve the offender versus the state. In civil cases, penalties usually do not exceed the needed action to restore relief or compensate for the injured party. Criminal cases are stiffer, often leading to incarceration, fine, and community service. Attorneys may or may not represent parties in a civil case, especially for small claims. In criminal cases, attorney representation is mandatory. If the offender can not afford a lawyer, the court authority will provide an attorney from the public defender's office.
How Do I Find Civil Court Records in Oklahoma?
Interested persons may locate civil court records by directing their queries to the office of the clerk of the courthouse where the case was filed. Typically, the clerk conducts searches of files, records, and dockets and also certifies the correctness of any document issued.
Requests can be submitted directly to the clerk in the courthouse, via mail, or online depending on the available options. Any request sent to the clerk must include specific information to facilitate the search. Most clerks require that submitted applications must:
- Clearly, describe the type of civil court record being sought
- Be for a specific record (or records)
- Include useful information that conforms with the court's indexing system
Inquire about copy fees, eligibility requirements, and acceptable payment options by contacting the court clerk. The courthouse locations and contact addresses can be accessed on the Oklahoma Court System Map provided by Oklahoma State Court Network website.
How Do I Find Oklahoma Civil Court Records Online?
The Oklahoma State Courts Network (OSCN) provides a unified OSCN Docket Search portal of court records pooled from the appellate courts and the various district courts in the state.. All public civil court records are typically accessible via the OSCN docket tool. However, not all district courts are compliant with the Network. Where the record is unavailable, requester may query the applicable court clerk.
What Is Included in an Oklahoma Civil Court Record?
The information contained in civil court records also varies depending on the court where the case was filed and the record generated. Most records contain information regarding the suit such as the complaint made, the personal information of the plaintiff and defendant and the date and place where the suit was filed. Most records also feature relevant documents pertaining to the trial or hearing such as evidence filed, trial transcripts, motion arguments, and court actions. Civil cases in which a financial claim is made or a settlement is disbursed often have records in which these claims are included. These records also include any agreed-upon probationary conditions.
How to Access Oklahoma Civil Court Records For Free
Civil court records provided by the Oklahoma Judiciary and the various district courts are available free of charge. The public terminals available at the courthouses may be also accessed by courthouse visitors at no cost. However, the information available on the online database and court terminals only includes the personal information of the plaintiff/defendant, minute entries, court actions and public records filed to serve as evidence. Other information pertaining to juveniles and details of jurors and witnesses are typically excluded from these platforms. To access these restricted records, requests to the record custodian must be made in person.
How to Seal Civil Court Records in Oklahoma
Oklahoma State permits sealing of civil court records with reasonable cause. Generally, sealing a civil court record maintained in the Oklahoma trial courts requires the petitioner to file a motion to seal at the court where the case was heard. The petition must cite reasons why restricting public access serves the interest of justice. After filing the motion, the clerk will notify other parties in the case and they unanimously agree, a hearing may not be necessary. After reviewing the petition, associated evidence, and testimony (if any), the judge may grant the petition by issuing a court order.
How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, members of the public with sufficient reason can petition the court judges for a court order or subpoena indicating the permission to have the record(s) of interest released to them. For a petition to be granted by Oklahoma state-licensed judges, the requester must provide sufficient reasons and evidence indicating the record's relevance in a legal matter. Generally, access to sealed or confidential records requires in-person requests made to the office of the record custodian.