Colorado Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Colorado

Colorado is home to the southern Rocky Mountains. It is named after the Colorado River and is also called the “Centennial State”.

Colorado is a known tourist destination. Industry and business are also thriving particularly around its largest city, Denver. Due to the tourist and entrepreneur influx, the state has a fluctuating population. Running background checks on Colorado residents must be conducted with the intent of checking out other areas.

Counties In Colorado

AdamsCrowleyGunnisonMesaRio Blanco
AlamosaCusterHinsdaleMineralRio Grande
BentDouglasKiowaMorganSan Miguel
BoulderEagleKit CarsonOteroSedgwick
BroomfieldEl PasoLa PlataOuraySummit
Clear CreekGarfieldLas AnimasPitkinWeld

Where To Get Public Records In Colorado

The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) states that “any person” may access not copyright-protected public records. The purpose/intention of the request is not necessary unless for criminal justice records that cannot be used for commercial purposes.  

Colorado law mandates exclusion of some records for the public view including: 

  • Records excluded by court order or made confidential by statute
  • Warrant information sealed records
  • Medical records
  • Trade secrets
  • Juvenile records
  • Sexual harassment claims and investigations

Colorado does not have a single public record repository; the requestor needs to coordinate with the respective agency that handles the records being requested. There are also non-FCRA regulated online search sites that have updated and high-quality public record directories.

Vital Records

The Department of Public Health & Environment administers birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. It holds records of births from 1910 – present and deaths from 1900 – present. It has records of marriages from 1900 – 1939 and 1975 – present, and divorces from 1851 – 1939 and 1968 – present. Records for other dates may be available from the county office where the event took place.

Property Records

The State Land Board Geographic Information System (GIS) handles modern land records; older land grants may be found in the State Archives. The county assessors are responsible for property tax records, while the Office of the Clerk and Recorder is responsible for deed records.

Arrest and Criminal Records

Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) administers criminal and arrest records. For current information on sex offenders or any inmates, the Department of Corrections handles these. The Colorado Supreme Court manages court records or any information relating to the Colorado courts system.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Colorado

Requests under CORA are to be made in writing. Some public records, however, can be accessed online or in person. Vital records, for instance, can be ordered online through a partner site. These can also be requested via mail or in-person.

The DOC website features an offender search where one can look for current jail and inmate records. For court documents, you may need to visit or contact the court where the case was filed to. Criminal background checks may be requested online through the Internet Criminal History Check System (ICHC)

One can also utilize a reputable and trustworthy online search services provider for less hassle and faster results.

Colorado Background Check Reports

A background check in Colorado is administered by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a division of the Department of Public Safety. 

Employment background checks have different requirements depending on the nature of the job. Job applicants are required to give particular information such as their date of birth and social security number. These would be used to check system records such as sex offender lists, terrorist databases, FBI wanted lists, and more. Applicants for Educator and Medical Personnel positions must submit to a criminal history check. Potential employees of financial institutions are required by law to undergo a credit check on top of the criminal check.

The state adheres to the national laws and guides established by the FCRA and EEOC, particularly regarding fair hiring practices. Executives and management personnel for Federal contractors involved in defense or national security are exemptions. Consumer credit information such as credit standing and credit capacity is checked for possible employees in the aforementioned positions. 

Background checks may be obtained through particular state departments or third-party service providers that are FCRA-approved. In the case of non-FCRA-approved third-party services, limitations are imposed in regards to how the background check information is used as well as the kind of information that may be included in the report.

Colorado Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Colorado Background Checks

How far back does a background check go in Colorado?

Colorado follows the FCRA’s seven-year rule. Meaning, only criminal records within the past seven years can show up on someone’s background check. 

How much does a background check cost in Colorado?

The costs of background checks in Colorado are as follow:

  • Fingerprint Based Background Check: $16.50 – $19.50 for CBI (state) ; $38.50 – $39.50 for CBI (state) & FBI (nationwide)
  • Name-Based Background Check: $5 for an Internet Criminal History Check (ICHC) ; $13 for Criminal Record History Information (CRHI).

What causes a red flag on a background check?

Red flags on a background check may be caused by lying about one’s educational and criminal history, job history gap, failed drug tests, and the concealment of any information. 

Do you need a background check to buy a gun in Colorado?

Yes. A background check via the Firearms InstaCheck Unit is required for every firearm or concealment permit in the state of Colorado.