Statutory Citation: I.C. §§5-14-3-1 et seq.

Definition of Public Record

Public records are defined as essentially any information created, maintained or filed by government agencies. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exemptions include trade secrets, confidential information received upon request, academic research, licensing information, medical records, anything declared exempt by the Supreme Court, autopsy photos or videos, social security numbers, law enforcement investigations, attorney information, personal files of employees, names of charitable donors, security measures for telecommunications, schools, and general infrastructure, correctional officer information, complaint information within law enforcement agencies, contact information for utility employees, or labor negotiations. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

7 days to acknowledge, 24 hours to respond. 3

Information on Fees

No fees are authorized to be charged in Indiana except a “reasonable” fee is authorized “for permitting a governmental agency to inspect public records by means of an electronic device.” Ind. Code § 5-14-3-8(i). This may not exceed the direct cost of supplying the record in electronic form. 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

One can file a lawsuit in district court to compel an agency to disclose wrongfully withheld documents, however the Public Access Counselor does not have authority to compel an agency or penalize an agency. Indiana has harsh penalties for those in agencies that disclose confidential documents through FOIA, including being charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This is not the case when the Public Access Counselor has issued an opinion that the information deemed classified be released to the public. 5

Attorney Fees

If the plaintiff first sought and received an opinion from the Public Access Counselor than attorney’s fees can be awarded, provided they prevail in court. Fees are awarded from the date of the Public Access Counselor’s opinion until the date when the court determines the prevailing party in the suit. 6

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute