New Mexico Court Records Search
New Mexico court records refer to all or any portion of a document, exhibit, transcript, paper, or other material filed with any New Mexico court. It also refers to the register of actions and docket entries the court uses to document a case proceeding. Court records are vital for understanding court processes within the New Mexico judiciary, providing documentation for legal proof, and monitoring case progress. Court records can be searched online, in person, or by submitting a written request. With a New Mexico court records search, individuals can access most cases filed with any court in New Mexico. Confidential or sealed court records are open to case parties and their legal representatives.
Are New Mexico Court Records Public?
Yes, in New Mexico, most court records are accessible to the public. This is made possible by the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Acts, NMSA (1978) 14-2-1 et seq. Pursuant to the act, residents have the right to access public records maintained by all government levels. However, this freedom is not absolute, as the act also restricts public access to a few records. Typically juvenile court records are exempted from public access.
The New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act was enacted in 1925, and the latest amendments occurred in the 1990s. The act promotes a sense of transparency and safeguards the accountability of the government.
How Do I Find Court Records in New Mexico?
The first step to take to obtain New Mexico court records is to identify the court where the case was filed and heard. Court clerks are the custodians of court records, and an essential part of their job is to respond to court records requests. The Supreme Court Clerk is the official custodian of documents for the Supreme Court of New Mexico, while the Appeals Court Clerk maintains all records for the Court of Appeals, New Mexico, per the IPRA. Most civil and criminal case records are usually maintained in the New Mexico District Court or Magistrate Court, or the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, where the cases were filed.
The next step is to make a written request for the record sought. Requests can be made in person, by mail, or by online filling out an IPRA request form. Requestors must specify with as much detail as possible the records requested. The record request should include a case number and the names of the people involved in the case. For in-person requests, the Supreme Court documents may be inspected at the Court Clerk's office during regular business hours.
To submit an IPRA request for a supreme court record, contact the Supreme Court Clerk in person, by telephone, by regular mail, or by email. The requester may be required to present a valid government-issued photo ID, especially for mail-in requests. Applicable fees must also be paid to obtain copies of court records in the state. The Supreme Court Clerk may be contacted at:
Supreme Court of New Mexico
P.O. Box 848
Santa Fe, NM 87504–0848
Phone: (505) 827-4860
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays
The Court Clerk of the New Mexico Court of Appeals may be contacted using the information below:
Supreme Court Building
237 Don Gaspar, Room 116
Santa Fe, NM 87501
P.O. Box 2008
Santa Fe, NM 87504-2008
Phone: (505) 827-4925
Fax: (505) 827-4946
Hours: 8:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m, Mondays to Fridays
The contact information for New Mexico courts is available on the website of the Judicial Branch. Also, the State Courts Map shows the judicial districts and physical locations of courts. These resources can assist requestors in determining where to direct their public records requests.
The state authorizes court Clerks to charge fees for copying and certifying public records:
- A fee of $0.50 per page charged for a photocopy of a court record
- A fee of $1.00 per page charged for a computer-generated or electronically transferred copy of a court record
- An additional $0.50 per page charged for certified copies of a court record
- A fee of $5.00 per CD charged for a copy of a court hearing
New Mexico Court Records Public Access
The Judicial Branch of New Mexico also provides online access through New Mexico Courts CaseLookup and the Secured Odyssey Public Access (SOPA). Interested applicants can access records by carrying out searches using the case number or the names of the persons involved in the case. It can also be used to get the case number assigned to court cases.
How to Conduct a New Mexico Court Record Search by Name
New Mexico Courts have a Case Lookup tool where an inquirer can conduct a court record search by name. Requesters can narrow their search by providing other information about the record holder, like driver's license information and date of birth. The Case Lookup tool is located at the top bar of the New Mexico Courts homepage. Click on "Find a Case" to access it.
Alternatively, a court record search by name can be done at the court where the case was heard. Requesters would have to pay for copies of such records. However, court records can be viewed for free. For instance, the US Bankruptcy Court District of New Mexico Clerk's office has a viewing room where individuals can view court records for free.
How to Get Court Records Online for Free
Requesters can use the online Case Lookup tool to access court records for free. Go to the New Mexico Courts website and click on the "Find a Case" menu at the top bar. Follow the prompts to conduct a search by name, case number, or DWI. Requesters would be able to get the following information for free:
- Case detail (case number, current judge's name, filing date, and court name)
- Case party information (party type, description, number, and name)
- Register of actions activity (event date, description, result, party type, party number, and amount)
- Civil complaint detail (complaint date, sequence number, and description, disposition, disposition date, COA sequence number, and COA description)
- Judge assignment history (assignment date and even description, judge name, and sequence number)
Individuals can get bankruptcy court records online via the Public Access To Court Electronic Records (PACER) tool at as low as $0.10 per page. Free access to court records via the PACER tool is available for eligible individuals.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, court records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:
- The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
- The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.
While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.
What are New Mexico Judgment Records?
New Mexico judgment records are court documents describing the court's conclusion and the remedy for the civil complaint or penalties for the criminal charges against an individual. The clerk of courts is the designated record custodian for these records. Per the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, the clerk is statutorily obligated to make copies of the court record available to interested members of the public. However, it is the requester's responsibility to provide the necessary details to identify the judgment record of interest and pay for the associated costs of reproducing the documents.
Generally, a New Mexico judgment records search begins at the clerk's office. This office is located in the courthouse where the case was adjudicated - an excellent place to start is the county where the incident happened or where the litigants reportedly initiated the lawsuit. Once at the clerk's office, provide the administrative staff with the case number and details to facilitate the search, including the litigants' names and the judge's name.
The information contained in New Mexico judgment records varies with case type. Nevertheless, a typical judgment record contains the litigants' names, the judge's name, and the judgment date. Persons who obtain judgment records can also expect to see the litigants' claims and the court's decision on the lawsuit.
What are New Mexico Bankruptcy Records?
New Mexico bankruptcy records provide financial information about a debtor who has filed for bankruptcy. Individuals and corporations in New Mexico can petition for bankruptcy. In New Mexico, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most commonly filed. Individuals who find it impossible to pay off their debts apply for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, whereas debtors who do not want to lose their assets file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 provides for a repayment plan as they pay back debt owed to creditors.
Note: While bankruptcy provides debtors with a fresh start, it also has an impact on their capacity to borrow money from creditors in the future since bankruptcy impacts their credit record for seven to 10 years.
Bankruptcy records, as well as records of judgments, writs, foreclosures, and New Mexico liens, can be obtained by interested and eligible members of the public on request. However, requestors may be required to provide the information to facilitate the record search and cover the cost of reproduction or duplication of these records, where applicable.
How to Find Bankruptcy Records in New Mexico
Bankruptcy records are available for public perusal in New Mexico. The US Bankruptcy Court District of New Mexico makes copies of bankruptcy records available to requesters online, by phone, and in person. Inquirers can use the national PACER service to retrieve copies of bankruptcy records filed after December 1, 2003. Access to bankruptcy records via PACER costs a $30 search fee. Electronic copies cost an extra $0.10 per page, $3 per document, and $2.40 per audio file. In contrast, paper copies cost an extra $0.50 per page. PACER fees are waived for users who accrue $30 or less worth of court records in a given quarter.
Individuals can also submit a request form to retrieve certified copies of bankruptcy records. The completed form and the necessary fees should be sent to the Clerk's office. Copies of bankruptcy records ordered via this method cost $.50 per page. Certified copies cost an additional $11 per document, while exemplified copies cost an additional $23 per document.
Phone requests can be made via the court's Voice Case Information System (McVCIS). Requesters can call (866) 222-8029 between 4 am and 8 pm to obtain bankruptcy records. A maximum of 5 searches can be made per call for free.
In-person requests can be made at the Customer Service Counter of the Clerk's Office. Alternatively, the in-person requester can print copies of bankruptcy records from the Clerk's Viewing Room for $0.10 per page. The Clerk's Office does not accept credit card payments from requesters who are debtors in bankruptcy. They must make payments in cash, money order, or a cashier's check. Copies of bankruptcy records can be sent to the requester by email, fax, mail, or available for o pick up at the Customer Service Counter. All in-person requesters must visit Clerk's office with their IDs. The office is located at:
United States Bankruptcy Court
District of New Mexico
Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse
333 Lomas Blvd. NW, Suite 360
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: (505) 415-7999 or toll-free at (866) 291-6805
Can You Look Up Court Cases in New Mexico?
Yes. The Judicial Branch of New Mexico provides two online platforms for interested applicants to look up New Mexico court cases. The first is New Mexico CaseLookup, which requires no registration. Interested applicants can access records by carrying out searches using the case number or the names of the persons involved in the case. It can also be used to get the case number assigned to court cases. Requestors using the online form to request magistrate or district court records must direct the request to the judicial district in which the court is located. Online records for the Municipal Court are limited to criminal Domestic Violence and DWI historic convictions from September 1, 1991.
The second platform is the Secured Odyssey Public Access (SOPA). Under the Policy for online court records, the SOPA grants online access to New Mexico Judiciary Secure Court Cases e-filed from the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, District Courts, Magistrate Courts, and Municipal Courts. Requestors are required to complete an application process to access case information.
New Mexico Court Case Lookup Exemptions
The New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) provides the public access to court records with few exceptions. Court records that are sealed by court order or otherwise protected from disclosure by law are not available to the public. The following court records are automatically sealed from public disclosure:
- Adoption records
- Mental health records
- Conservatorship records
- Records expunged from criminal records
- Court proceedings related to the Adult Protective Services Act.
- Court proceedings related to the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Act.
- Personal identifier information is usually excluded from court records.
- Court proceedings relating to appointing a guardian for an alleged incapacitated person.
- Certain wills deposited with the court that has not been submitted to informal or formal probate proceedings.
What is a Court Docket in New Mexico?
New Mexico court dockets are documents that provide a list of hearings about the cases that were filed within a given period. Court dockets contain information like hearing date and time, case number, case parties' names, and the names of the attorney (s) in charge of the case. Court dockets are useful to fast-track the flow of court cases. It helps to cut down court transcript volume and cost by eliminating the ordering of unnecessary portions of the transcript. Court dockets can be searched on the New Mexico Courts' website.
Types of Courts in New Mexico
The New Mexico courts system consists of the following:
- The Supreme Court: It is the court of last resort and has control over all lower courts and attorneys licensed to practice in New Mexico. The Supreme Court has mandatory appellate jurisdiction in criminal matters that involves a life sentence or the death penalty. It also handles appeals from the granting of writs of habeas corpus, removal of public officials, the Public Regulation Commission, and appeals in actions challenging nominations. The Supreme Court has five Justices.
- Court of Appeals: It has 10 judges who sit in panels of three. The Court of Appeals has mandatory jurisdiction in juvenile, civil, and non-capital criminal cases. It also has Discretionary jurisdiction in administrative agency appeals and interlocutory decision cases.
- District Court: New Mexico has 13 District Courts with 102 judges presiding over them. District Courts are general jurisdiction court that holds jury trials. They handle cases like estate, contract, tort, mental health, real property rights, and estate, domestic relations, misdemeanor, miscellaneous civil cases, exclusive criminal appeals, and exclusive juvenile cases.
- Magistrate Courts: New Mexico has 54 magistrate courts with 67 judges presiding over them. Magistrate Courts have limited jurisdiction over cases like contracts, misdemeanors, landlord/tenant rights ($0-10,000), felony preliminary hearings, tort, DWI/DUI, and other traffic violations.
- Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court: About 19 judges preside over this court. The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court has limited jurisdiction over landlord/tenant rights ($0-10,000), DWI/DUI, contract, domestic violence, tort, felony first appearances, and misdemeanor.
- Municipal Courts: New Mexico has 81 Municipal Courts with 83 judges presiding over them. Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over petty misdemeanors, traffic violations, DWI/DUI, and other municipal ordinance violations.
- Probate Courts: They have 33 judges and limited jurisdiction over cases like estate and informal probate.
What are Civil Court and Small Claims?
In New Mexico, Civil Courts hear civil cases involving conflicts between people or businesses. Civil cases generally involve personal injury, property damage, defamation, breach of contract, debt repayment, and landlord-tenant disputes. In New Mexico civil cases, the petitioner seeks over $250,000 in damages. About 250,000 civil cases are filed annually in New Mexico. On the other hand, New Mexico Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction over cases where the litigant sues another for $10,000 or less.
The procedure for trying small claims is usually less formal, less expensive, and simpler than the regular civil courts' proceedings in the state. Also, litigants do not need to be represented by counsel. They are allowed to represent themselves in the court to reduce costs. However, the petitioner must pay filing costs and be 18 years old or more (the court requires a guardian for litigants under 18 years). Filing fees depend on the claim demanded but are generally not beyond $250 in New Mexico. Close to 100,000 small claims cases are filed in New Mexico per year. These include disputes over warranties, deposits, repairs, loans, and more. The small claims court has the power to order a defendant to pay a certain amount of money.
In a small claims court, pretrial discovery is not allowed, but the civil court allows it. It is also strongly advised to hire an attorney to file necessary documents and represent the petitioner in a civil case. Whereas petitioners must represent themselves in a small claims court, and there are no complicated papers to file. Civil court cases are more expensive than small claims. It costs between $180 to $320 to file a civil lawsuit, and each party is given up to 120 days. In contrast, small claims cases cost between $30 and $100 per claim, and the parties are given 30 to 70 days for the case to be completed.