The Background Investigator Goes To Puerto Rico For Driving Histories
by Fred Frankel
In a continuing series, The Background Investigator sends its attorneys and staff researchers to various countries around the world to explore the justice systems and bring back to you their findings. This month Fred Frankel, Esq. visited Puerto Rico (before the hurricane). Here is his report:
Driving Records Search in Puerto Rico
My first stop was to the DTOP (Dept. of Transportation). While the DTOP office in San Juan is the central location for all motor vehicle needs, it is very bureaucratic and has many people involved so getting a straight answer is difficult.
After going to many offices I met Freddy Garcia, the Manager of the records division. He explained that only the individual himself can obtain a copy of his driving record from the DTOP facility. They (the individual) can also access this information on line through the DISCO system. He told me that the head of the Records Division for SDTOP was Nordellie Torres, whose office was located at a different location.
I then proceeded to a different office building and met with Nordellie Torres. She was extremely nice and courteous. I explained the situation and my need to establish a system to obtain driving records from Puerto Rico while in the States. She was more then happy to assist and the following system was established:
All requests require the following;
1. A written authorization from the individual, I have included a sample which I drafted and which was approved by her
2. A cover letter requesting the information and explaining the reason for the request
3. The required stamps (payment) generally $1.50
I established that requests could be faxed or emailed then records picked up by an individual at the office. Requests could be also be mailed in with the stamps and return envelope.
Criminal Record Search in Puerto Rico
I stopped by the local police station in San Juan and spoke with an officer. Local police stations are not all connected. The central police are connected to each local station and gather all data so that the central police have all records in their system.
I went to the Superior court building in San Juan, this is the central/main court to pull a record on a case. I met with Tanya and she was more then helpful. She searched the name of the individual and gave me the number to call in the future for obtain a records search.
I then went to the Carolina Superior Court and the Carolina Police Station. At the Carolina Court I was able to get records pulled and searches done for that location, though they said they are not hooked up for a Commonwealth search. I think they are and just did not want to search it. We did however get the court file for a case we wanted.
At the Carolina police station Officer Bonnila was able to search a name and pull up a mug shot for us.
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