Clark County Court Records
According to Washington State court rule GR 31(c)(4), a court record is any exhibit, calendar, document, information, register of actions, order, index, docket, decree, or similar item a court keeps in connection with a legal proceeding. It's important to note that a court record does not encompass information a judge retains regarding a specific case or party, such as personal notes, correspondence, memoranda, drafts, or other internal working materials. Additionally, it does not include data managed or stored by a government agency or another entity that the Court can access but has not been officially incorporated into the record.
Court records are considered an integral part of Clark County's Public Records, serving a pivotal role within the county's judicial system. The Clerk County Clerk is the elected official custodian of court records. These records have several critical uses, including maintaining transparency and accountability within the judicial system, facilitating legal research and analysis, serving as historical records, preserving evidence, and aiding in legal reference.
Are Court Records Public in Clark County?
Yes, all Clark County court records are open to the public in compliance with the Washington Public Records Act. Per state law, certain records are generally considered confidential and unavailable for public perusal. This is because the information contained in them may jeopardize ongoing legal proceedings, put individuals' safety at risk, or violate personal privacy. Some confidential court records include:
- Records associated with name changes
- Court records that have been sealed by a judicial order
- Records related to adoption
- Records regarding paternity cases, excluding final orders
- Records on mental health commitments
- Juvenile delinquency records
- Documents concerning commitments to alcohol and drug treatment
What Do Clark County Court Records Contain?
The court documents within Clark County provide information on legal proceedings. These records comprise a wide range of information, including:
- Case information(name, case number, court, judicial officer's name, file date, case type, case status)
- Party information(plaintiff, active attorneys, defendant's name, date of birth, lead attorney)
- Event and hearings(date, judicial officer, hearing time, comment)
- Initial arraignment(bail)
- Assignment of Trial Date
- Memorandum of disposition
- Restitution in favor of
- Current sentence status
- Status date
- Signed date
- Fines and fees
Where to Conduct a Clark County Case Lookup
Inquirers seeking court records can inquire at the following locations:
- Clark County District Court
- Clark County Superior Court
- Clark County Municipal Courts (Battle Ground, Camas-Washougal, and Vancouver Violations Bureau Only)
How to Conduct a Clark County Case Records Search
Below are ways to find court records in Clark County District and Superior Courts:
- Superior Court
Individuals may visit the Superior Court to view or obtain copies of court records from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Court has a public terminal where record seekers can view court records at no cost. A Records Request Form can also be completed and submitted by mail, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or in person at the courthouse. The form should be mailed to:
Clark County Clerk
P.O. Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666.5000
Alternatively, inquirers can use the Washington Odyssey Portal to find court records electronically. The search criteria are by name or case number. A successful case search would give the inquirer sufficient information about the desired case.
- District Court
Requesters can complete a Request Form and submit it to the District Court by email, mail, fax, or in person. In-person requests should be made at the courthouse from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mail, email, and fax requests should be sent to:
Clark County District Court
P.O. Box 9806
Vancouver, WA 98666-8806
Fax: (564) 397-6044
Copies of District Court records cost $0.50 per page, while certified copies cost $5 for the 1st page and $1 for each additional page per document. The search fee is $20 per hour.
Clark County Civil Court Case Records
Civil court records are official documents containing information about legal cases involving non-criminal disputes. The Clark County District Court handles civil cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed $100,000. A civil court case records search can be conducted online or by submitting a request form by email, mail, fax, or in person. Note that the Court does not charge for viewing civil court records, but copies of such records can only be released after the necessary fees have been paid.
Clark County Criminal Court Case Records
Criminal court records are official documents containing information about criminal cases, including charges, court proceedings, judgments, sentences, and related legal documents. The Superior and District Courts handle all criminal cases in Clark County. Criminal court records are available for perusal at the county Clerk's office. Requesters can use the Odyssey Portal to search for criminal cases by inputting a name or case number.
A criminal record search that includes a written verification form for Clark County criminal convictions from 1979 to date costs $5. Criminal records before 1979 cost $30 for copies and a research fee. For mail requests, inquirers are expected to provide the following information:
- The case party's details like last name, first name, and middle name, along with their date of birth or any personal identifiers.
- If an individual is searching for a specific criminal filing, provide the approximate date of the offense and details about the potential criminal charge.
Ensure the written request includes the required service fee of $5 and a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail the request to:
Clark County Clerk's Office
Attn. Criminal Department
P.O. Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
How to Get Court Records Online for Free
Below is a step-by-step procedure for obtaining court records for free in Clark County:
- Visit the official website of Clark County Clerk
- Navigate the left-hand menu and find the "Records and Filing" icon. A drop-down menu will appear, upon which inquirers are to click "Access to Records".
- This naturally leads to a page explaining the various avenues for accessing court records.
- Inquirers must scroll down a little to find a link to the Odyssey online search tool.
- Clicking the Odyssey page naturally launches the various options available from which the "smart search" should be chosen.
- This launches the record search page, but users must complete the reCAPTCHA test before searching.
- Upon verification, inquirers can then input details to conduct the record search. For a more precise search, users can increase additional search fields.
Courts in Clark County
Below is a compilation of crucial courts in Clark County, accompanied by their respective addresses and contact information:
Clark County Courthouse (Main Location)
1200 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Phone: (564) 397-2424
Camas-Washougal Municipal Court
89 C Street
Washougal, WA 98671
Mabry Center - Work Center
8101 NE 117th Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98662
Phone: (564) 397-6045
Battle Ground Municipal Court
109 SW 1st Street, Suite 272
Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: (360) 342-5150
Fax: (360) 342-5159