The Virginia Department of State Police maintains a database of criminal records. The records are public and available to those who submit the proper form, documentation and fee.
What Are Criminal Records?
If you are charged and convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony in Virginia, the State Police maintain a database of criminal convictions. The records include state- and federal-level criminal convictions. The record might include information on the convicted criminal’s name, address, date of birth, a photograph, any aliases that he or she might use, and a record of fingerprints.
A criminal record might include:
- Prior arrest information.
- Current and pending charges.
- Dismissed charges.
- Acquitted charges.
- Dismissed charges.
- Open arrest warrants.
Virginia also maintains records of arrests and criminal charges against individuals. If you are convicted of a sex offense and must register for the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, that also is included on the criminal record.
How Are Criminal Records Used?
Criminal records have a wide range of legitimate uses, including to simply inform the local community of any potential threats of criminal behavior that might exist. As always, law enforcement also can access criminal records to conduct investigations into criminal matters. The records also help with background checks for employment, security clearances and background checks for firearms purchases.
Criminal records can help determine qualifications for military service, whether or not someone should be allowed to adopt or foster a child, and if someone would be a potential threat on a college campus. A college admissions department that turns up an applicant’s lengthy criminal record could refuse admission – especially if the convictions are for violent crimes.
The Virginia Sex Offender Registry is a good example of how criminal records helps to protect the innocent and local communities. Anyone convicted of qualifying sex offenses or crimes against minors is required to submit current address and relevant personal information, which anyone can access and view via the Sex Offender Registry.
How Can Someone Access Your Records?
An individual or an entity who want to obtain criminal records in Virginia must submit a request with the Virginia State Police. Any individual requesting a criminal record must have the request notarized prior to submitting it. Many entities can request criminal records without having the requests notarized. The individual or entity also must demonstrate a legitimate need to obtain the records, such as a background check for employment or housing.
How Can You Request a Criminal Record?
Individuals or entities can obtain a copy of a Virginia criminal history record check in two ways. One is to create a Form SP-167 request, sign it, have it notarized and pay the fee when you submit it. Virtually anyone can submit a Form SP-167 request and obtain a Virginia criminal history record on an individual.
Some entities also can submit a Criminal History Records Check Form SP-230, which essentially handles employment and residential background checks. The form does not require notarization.
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