New Mexico Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of New Mexico

The State of New Mexico is situated in the southern part of the United States where it shares a border with Mexico. It’s one of the four corner states. It’s the 5th-largest state, but the 36th most populated one. 

Though one of the youngest American states, New Mexico is home to one of the oldest towns, Santa Fe. New Mexico is known for its unique records and interesting facts, including the creator of the largest Navajo Taco, a large number of UFO reports, unpaved roads, man-made lakes, the first atomic bomb detonation, and more. It’s home to the Bandera Ice Cave and the Shovel Race Championship. 

While New Mexico is said to have more sheep and cattle than people, it has a significant military population. This could lead to transitions and fluctuations in population; hence, be sure to check on its neighboring states when acquiring public records or conducting background checks. 

Counties in New Mexico 

BernalilloDoña AnaLincolnRio ArribaSierra
CatronEddyLos AlamosRooseveltSocorro
ChavesGrantLunaSan JuanTaos
CibolaGuadalupeMcKinleySan MiguelTorrance
ColfaxHardingMoraSandovalUnion
CurryHidalgoOteroSanta FeValencia
De BacaLeaQuay

Where To Get Public Records In New Mexico

New Mexico does not have a central repository of its records or a single records custodian. Instead, public records are entrusted to various government bodies that are required to assign their respective custodian.

For instance, the New Mexico Department of Health is responsible for birth, death, marriage, and divorce records. While vital records are considered public records, New Mexico restricts access to the registrant’s immediate family members or were legal parties.

For criminal records, you could coordinate with the Department of Public Safety. The DPS also handles the official state background checks and manages the Sex Offender Registry. They compile data from local to county to state-operated correctional facilities, law enforcement institutions, and trial courts. 

Inmate records are managed by the Corrections Department Offender Information. The department holds records of around 6,800 inmates in 11 prison facilities throughout the state, and around 18,500 offenders under the Probation and Parole Division (PPD).

Should you need access to court records, you can utilize the New Mexico Case Lookup. While there are certain exceptions, most court records in New Mexico can be accessed by the general public. This free search site includes records from the Appellate Court, Magistrate Court, Metropolitan Court, and the New Mexico District Court.

Property information and certificates are also considered public records in New Mexico. You can view land grants by navigating to www.NewMexicoHistory.org. Deed records and property tax records are held on a county level so you will need to coordinate with the local assessor of the county where the site is located. You may visit the New Mexico Property Tax Division for property tax-related records.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in New Mexico

Public records in the state are governed by the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA). With only 12 exemptions to public access, these laws give the public, including non-residents, the right to access and inspect public records. 

Oral or written requests must be submitted to the respective governing body. Be sure to include essential details with your request, including your name and contact details, a clear description of the needed reports, as well as upfront fees.

Record custodians are required to notify you should the request take more than 15 working days to fulfill. While there’s currently no administrative process for appeals, you can still file a suit should you think your request was illegally denied. 

Note that fees and processes could vary per agency. For the faster and more convenient acquisition of public records, you may always utilize a third-party people search engine.

New Mexico Background Check Reports

Some background checks in Mexico are used for screening property lessees, license applicants, foster or adoptive parents, and volunteers. Most criminal background reports, however, are requested by private and public employers.

Regardless of the purpose, the processes involved must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – federal laws designed to prevent inaccuracies and discrimination. 

A legally compliant report only includes civil suits and judgments, arrest records, and tax liens that occurred or were recorded within the past seven years from the date of the check. Additionally, New Mexico legislation states that non-convictions and pardoned offenses shouldn’t reflect at all. Like most laws, of course, there are certain exceptions to these laws.

New Mexico also has a ban-the-box law that states that employers aren’t allowed to ask criminal history-related questions during initial interviews.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for state background checks which could be conducted using names or fingerprints. Name-based screening may be requested by mail with a $15 fee per record check. Fingerprint-based screening can be conducted online through the New Mexico Applicant Fingerprint Processing (NMAPS) and must register with Gemalto Cogent (the fingerprinting service provider) online or by phone. Since the check is more thorough, the fee costs $44.

Note that you may also conduct background checks using a trustworthy third-party site.

New Mexico Official Websites 

Frequently Asked Questions About New Mexico Background Checks

How far back do background checks go in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, background and criminal history checks go back 7 years. 

Where can I get a background check in New Mexico?

To get a criminal background check in New Mexico, you must go through the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Otherwise, you could utilize a third-party site like Kiwi Searches to conduct a background check online. 

How do I check my criminal record in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, any individual is allowed to view their own criminal records. To do this, a Department of Public Safety (DPS) Authorization for Release of Information form and pay a $15 fee. The check results will come back in 7-15 business days.