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Pennsylvania Public Records - Free PA Online Docket and Magistrate Searches

Updated on May 12, 2011

Pennsylvania Public Records

Want to get Pennsylvania public records for free? There are a lot of useful resources found right here via online. You can retrieve criminal, traffic and other types of Pennsylvania public records right from your own home without having to go to your local courthouse. If you are looking for property, marriage, divorce or other county specific records then you need to visit your county website to see if they offer them via online. Your county is responsible for Pennsylvania public records that are related to those matters. It’s very important to be informed when it comes to public information, such as criminal matters. You could have a convicted predator living close by. It’s also important because you or a loved one may have unclaimed assets that the state is holding without your knowledge. Let’s take a look at all the resources that are available to get free Pennsylvania public records via online.

A good resource is here for those seeking county specific dockets: List of PA State, County and Local Sites

Pennsylvania Court Records – Criminal, Traffic, and other Forms

The Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System offers free criminal records, magistrate dockets, and traffic violation information via online to the public. All records are called “dockets” on the Pennsylvania government site. These court records are free of charge to the public courtesy of Pennsylvania. Here are the steps on how to use the site.

Step 1). Copy and paste this into your internet browser:

Step 2). Hover your mouse over the “Docket Sheets” drop down menu that’s found towards the top of the page on the right hand side of the screen. You’ll be given four choices: Magisterial District Courts, Philadelphia Municipal Courts, Common Pleas Courts and Appellate Courts.

* For the Purpose of this section in this article, Common Pleas Courts will be used for an example. Most heavy penalty crimes are found in Common Pleas Courts. Dockets that are found in the Magisterial District Courts section are more for traffic violations. If you live in the Philadelphia area then you can choose either the Common Pleas or Philadelphia option. Appellate Courts is reserved for appeals of court decisions, in case you didn’t know. For Pennsylvania criminal records, the best search function is always Common Pleas Courts.

Step 3). Select “Common Pleas Courts” from the drop down menu.

Step 4). Scroll down to where you see “Search Type.”

Step 5). Click on the drop down menu and then select “Participant Name.” After selecting participant name, you will be forwarded to another form page.

Step 6). Fill in the first and last name of the individual that you wish to search for in the appropriate fields given. You don’t need to fill in the date of birth, docket type, county or anything else except for the “date filed” fields at the bottom of the form. The purpose of the “date filed” fields is the database searches between the two dates for Pennsylvania criminal records. For the first field you can go back as far as you wish. Input today’s date for the second field. The database will search all records for that person from the first date up until today, if any available.

*If you are searching a very common name such as John Smith or anything similar then you might want to use the county drop down function and select the county that the person resides in to get a more narrowed and accurate response.  

Step 7). Click the “Search” function after you have filled in the form.

Step 8). Hover your mouse over the magnifying glass icon to the left of the information given. Choose “docket sheet” to receive a PDF of the entire case file or choose “court summary” of a summarized PDF of the Pennsylvania criminal record given.

*Follow the above instructions for the Philadelphia Municipal Courts, Appellate Courts, and Magisterial Courts for further Pennsylvania public records. All other docket types use the same form and input requirements. You can also print off any of the Pennsylvania public records by clicking “file” at the top left corner of the Adobe PDF reader and then selecting “print.”

Pennsylvania public records make finding lost and forgot assets easy through the PA Treasury Department. Photo: Foxumon/
Pennsylvania public records make finding lost and forgot assets easy through the PA Treasury Department. Photo: Foxumon/

Pennsylvania Public Records – Unclaimed Assets

The Pennsylvania Treasury allows online users to search for abandoned banking accounts, checks that were never cashed and a wide variety of other assets. This service is also free via online, courtesy of the PA Treasury.

To perform a search, type in into your internet browser.

Click on the “Unclaimed Property database” found in the third paragraph down. Another window will pop up; therefore, you might need to disable any pop up blockers. Fill in the first and last name of who ever you wish to look up and then click search to see if there are any Pennsylvania public records available. If you find assets available in your name then you have to click the box under the claim column that’s next to your name. Notice the yellow box that says “Request Claim Form”? Click on it and then fill out all the information that is required. The PA Treasury will then generate a claim form for you and instructions on the correct address to send it to.

Sex Offender Information – Pennsylvania Public Records

PA Megan’s Law provides the resource of obtaining free Pennsylvania public records of all convicted sex offenders that are living in the state.

Copy and paste the following address into your browser:

Click on “Accept” after reading the disclaimer. The directions will the instruct you to choose how to complete the search. Make your selection from the choices on the left hand side. Fill out any additional information that is requested. You will then be given a results page. Click on the blue hyperlinks that are names to bring up the sex offender file You also might not notice that there are black tabs above the person’s general information. You can click on those tabs to retrieve the “Arrest Info” and other supplied information. The “Arrest Info” will give you the date of conviction and what offenses the person committed. You can perform and search as many Pennsylvania public records as you choose via online. 


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