How to Get Court Transcripts Without a Lawyer

Almost anyone can order and get court transcripts without a lawyer by following a few simple steps. There are many reasons why obtaining a certified court transcript is beneficial. 

Sometimes a party to a legal case will appeal, and interested parties need to review what transpired in a previous court proceeding. Plus, it’s always good to have a record of what occurred during previous legal proceedings in order to be ready for future hearings. Hiring a professional court transcription company is also extremely vital if you want an accurate transcript.

Attorney’s and legal firms know how to order and get court transcripts of civil and criminal courtroom proceedings or depositions. Depending on the format needed, sometimes they can order files from a court reporter. However, court reporters are not present in all courtroom or legal settings because they are expensive and there aren’t nearly as many of them as there used to be. 

The procedures that attorneys and others inside the legal profession follow to get certified court transcripts are practically identical to the steps outlined below.

How to Order Certified Court Transcripts

Ordering most certified court transcripts involve four basic steps.

1)    Contact the Court Clerk assigned to handle documents in the jurisdiction the case occurred. Confirm you have the case or docket number, the date and time of the proceeding, the parties involved, and the specific court that heard the case. Almost every courtroom today records audio and video of every case. Also, confirm your request for a DVD of the audio file. 

The cost and process of acquiring audio recordings vary with each jurisdiction. Most of the time, you can locate this information on the court clerk’s website. However, it’s best to confirm what you are ordering and the costs by speaking to an authorized employee in the clerk’s office.  In our experience, most court clerk offices usually charge between $10 and $25 to burn a DVD of the court hearings.  

Note: every state, county, and local municipality establish their own procedures on how and who can obtain audio/video records.

2)    Place Your Order for the audio recording for the case you are interested in having it transcribed. Most county clerk offices and court systems contract with an outside vendor to install the AV equipment to record and store their audio and video files. 

Make certain you inquire about the precise process for obtaining a DVD audio file recording of the specific case you are interested in ordering for. Courts and judges are very particular about the type and format of a transcription. If a transcribed audio file doesn’t meet its standards or requirements, the court will not accept the transcribed document.

Here is the document order form for the State Colorado as an example.

3)    Research and locate a U.S.- based legal transcription company that can professionally transcribe the file to a verbatim transcript format. Transcripts are available in either non-verbatim or verbatim (where every sound from every individual is noted) formats. You’ll want to order a verbatim transcription since this method is required if the transcripts will be used in any future court proceedings. 

Ditto Transcripts was founded and headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and uses only U.S.-based and experienced legal transcriptionists who’ve been extensively trained in legal transcription.

4)    Once you confirm the specifics of the audio file and have it in your possession, you can place your transcription order. Uploading your file online is the most common way to request a transcript of a court proceeding from a legal transcription services company like Ditto Transcripts. 

Ask the transcription company you choose if they are willing to guarantee and certify their work.

Select a Transcription Company That Can Certify Your Audio File

Confirm that the transcription company that converts your audio file to a verbatim transcription is able and willing to certify your court transcripts. 

There are lots of companies you may find online that offer legal transcription services using high-quality transcription equipment. Most try to grab your attention by offering ridiculously low rates. However, only a handful of transcription companies like Ditto Transcripts are willing and able to certify your court transcripts.

Certifying a legal or court transcription is essential for several reasons. Certification means the company that transcribed the file is willing to appear on your behalf of themselves if necessary to confirm that any work they performed is accurate.

Many transcription companies cannot certify legal or court transcriptions because they use multiple transcriptionists in foreign countries, making certification impossible. What if you knew the transcription company you hired to transcribe your court case was transcribed by more than one person, each from a different country outside the United States? That’s what you could receive unless you hire a company that only employs U.S.-based transcriptionists. 

Ditto Transcripts only uses U.S.-based legal transcriptionists with experience transcribing legal, law enforcement, and courtroom proceedings. Our legal transcriptionists are U.S. citizens whose native language is English. Also, our transcriptionists understand the context, words, and phrases used by attorneys and judges in the U.S. legal system.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Court Transcripts?

Transcription Rates

The cost of ordering court transcripts varies. The average cost of obtaining an audio file from the court clerk’s office usually falls somewhere between $10 – $25. 

When you have possession of the court audio file in a DVD format, the next step is finding and hiring a qualified transcription company. 

Before you retain a legal transcription company, it’s a good idea to personally speak or communicate with someone other than a customer service representative who can answer all of your questions. Our senior management, including our CEO, is available to answer all of your legal transcription questions at Ditto Transcripts. 

Ditto Transcripts legal transcription rates vary from $1.50 to $5.00 per audio minute. We classify our prices into A, B, and C. Factors include turnaround time, audio quality, and the number of speakers transcribed. 

The majority of legal transcriptions fall into either category B, or C. Legal transcription files usually contain three or more speakers using complex legal words and phrases. That’s why it’s essential to hire a legal transcription company that only uses transcriptionists with experience in the subject matter they are transcribing.

For example, the typical request for legal transcriptions is a 6-10 business days turnaround, with four or more speakers requiring a verbatim format. A request like this one will cost $2.75 per audio minute. 

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Court Transcript?

Once we receive your court audio file in a digital format, transcribing the file can occur as fast as the same day, or up to 10 business days, depending on your needs. 

Choosing the right company for your legal transcription needs is vital for many reasons. The most important ones are quality, reliability, professionalism, and the ability to certify your court transcripts. We commit to the following:

  • We hire U.S.-based transcriptionists who’ve passed a criminal background check
  • You can call and speak to company management any time
  • Will guarantee the accuracy of each legal transcript
  • We produce certified legal transcriptions
  • Our representatives can give you a cost estimate before starting your work

Ditto Transcripts is based in Denver, Colorado, and has transcribing legal, medical, law enforcement, and general business files for over a decade. We would be honored to be your transcription company of choice, too. 

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