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South Dakota Public Records

The South Dakota Public Access to Records statute, found in Chapter 1-27 of the state Code, defines “public records” as all records and documents belonging to the state, or any county, municipality, or other governing body or public agency within the state.

Some publicly restricted records include personal information, medical records, trade secrets, attorney work product, law enforcement investigation records, appraisal information, personnel information, security & disaster plans, library patron records, or information that could endanger any citizen.

The resources you’ll find below are among the most useful and popular statewide databases in the state of South Dakota.  Use the tools in the side margin to access other resources, such as those in cities and counties within the state.

  • Court System - The South Dakota court system has two levels. At the first level are the Circuit Courts, which are the trial courts of general jurisdiction that hear all civil and criminal cases. The Circuit Courts assign Magistrates to handle marriages, ordinance violations, misdemeanors, small claims, and preliminary hearings. At the second level is the South Dakota Supreme Court, which reviews decisions by the Circuit Courts.  South Dakota Court Records
  • Criminal Records - A statewide criminal records search in South Dakota can only be conducted through a Clerk of Court, which you may contact in person, by mail, or by fax. The cost is $15 per search and results are mailed to you. For instructions, go to the South Dakota Unified Judicial System page.
  • Vital Records - Birth, death, marriage & divorce certificates are provided by: South Dakota Vital Records, Department of Health, 600 East Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501-2536, (605) 773-4961.  Birth, death and marriage records are also available from the Register of Deeds in the county where the event took place.  Divorce records are available from the Clerk of Courts in the county where the divorce was granted.  Birth, marriage & divorce records in South Dakota cannot be searched online, but if you know the details and you qualify, you can order record copies.  Go to our Vital Records page for information on ordering birth, death, divorce, and marriage certificates.

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