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WATCH - Washington Access To Criminal History

WATCH Help System· FAQ Page

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Why is there no record in the database when I know there was an arrest or conviction?
  2. Can I share the information I receive with anyone else?
  3. What is the Washington State Criminal Records Privacy Act (Also known as Public Information) RCW 10.97.050?
  4. Who may do a background check under the Privacy Act?
  5. What is the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act RCW 43.43.830-43.43.845?
  6. Who may do a background check under the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act?
  7. How can I request Criminal History Record Information?
  8. How can I review my entire record?
  9. How can I delete or expunge my record?
  10. How do I make corrections to my record?
  11. How can I search the Sex and Kidnap Offender Registration Database?
  12. How do I establish a Personal Identification Record/Compromised Identity Claim (CIC)?
  13. How can I obtain a notarized letter?
  14. How can I obtain criminal history information from another state?
  15. How can I obtain a copy of my FBI record?
  16. Where can I go for fingerprinting services?
  17. What are Crimes Against Persons?
  18. How Can I Obtain an Apostille?
  19. How can I obtain results electronically when requesting background check by mail?
  20. How do I get a fingerprint based background check for the state of Washington? What is the cost? What results are provided in a fingerprint based background check?
  21. What if I enter multiple names for the same person on the same day?
  22. What if I accidently clicked on the Notary Request button or Complete Order button?


Why is there no record in the database when I know there was an arrest or conviction?


Information obtained through this site may be incomplete or inaccurate for several reasons:

Searches based on names and dates of birth are not always accurate. It is common for arrested persons to attempt to avoid detection by using a name and or date of birth other than their own. Therefore, WASIS criminal history files may contain incorrect names and identifiers.

When performing a background search, it is important to include all previous names, such as the maiden name, or an alias name. The record may not be found, if the name used in the search does not correspond with the name used at the time of the arrest booking.

All criminal history record information (CHRI) is provided to WSP by courts and criminal justice agencies. Records contained in WASIS are fingerprint based, therefore, if a person was not fingerprinted at the time of arrest or those prints were not submitted to us or were of insufficient quality for identification purposes, the record will not be in our system.

The only way to positively identify someone to a criminal record is through fingerprint verification.

Local law enforcement agencies, criminal justice agencies, courts and juvenile facilities in the counties where cases were adjudicated may have additional information regarding an individual not on file with the state.




Can I share the information I receive with anyone else?

The criminal history record information (CHRI) provided through this web site is public information and may be used by anyone for any purpose.

However, it is your responsibility to make sure the records you access through this site pertain to the person you are seeking information regarding.

Extreme care should be exercised in using any information obtained from this web site. Neither the WSP nor the State of Washington shall be responsible for any errors or omissions produced by secondary dissemination of this data.

Chapter 10.97.050(7), Revised Code of Washington (RCW), requires WSP to maintain information pertaining to every dissemination of CHRI. Information pertaining to disseminations shall include: requestor’s name, date and details of records disseminated, information on the subject of record, and a description of the information disseminated. This information will be retained for a period of not less than one year.



What is the Washington State Criminal Records Privacy Act (Also known as Public Information) RCW 10.97.050?

Revised Code of Washington 10.97.050 states that conviction records may be disseminated without restriction. Therefore, the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section may disclose, upon request, conviction criminal history record information (CHRI) which consists of conviction records, arrest information less than one year old with dispositions pending from the court, and any adverse (negative) findings related to the subject of the record. Responses are limited to Washington State records only.

Who may do a background check under the Privacy Act?

Anyone; the Identification Section will respond to all requests for conviction criminal history record information.


What is the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act RCW 43.43.830-43.43.845?

The legislature finds that businesses and organizations providing services to children, developmentally disabled persons, and vulnerable adults need adequate information to determine which employees or licensees to hire or engage. Therefore, the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section may disclose, upon request, convictions criminal history information. A prospective client’s or resident’s conviction record – upon request of a business or organization that qualifies for exemption under section 501(c) (3) if the internal revenue code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Sec 501 (c) (3) and that provides emergency shelter or transitional housing for children, persons with developmental disabilities, or vulnerable adults. Criminal history consists of conviction records, arrest information less than one year old with dispositions pending from the court, and any adverse (negative) findings. Responses are limited to Washington State records only.


Who may do a background check under the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act?

Businesses, organizations and others licensed in the state of Washington, who educate, train, treat, supervise house or provide recreation to children under sixteen years of age or that provides child care, early learning or early learning childhood education services, including but not limited to public housing authorities, school districts, and educational service districts. Businesses, organizations and others may do a background check on prospective employees, volunteers, or adoptive parents developmentally disabled persons or vulnerable adults. A prospective client’s or resident’s conviction record – upon request of a business or organization that qualifies for exemption under section 501(c) (3) if the internal revenue code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Sec 501 (c) (3) and that provides emergency shelter or transitional housing for children, persons with developmental disabilities, or vulnerable adults. Responses are limited to Washington State records only. The background check is for initial employment or engagement decisions only. The requesting agency must notify the applicant of the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section's response. Background checks on existing employees should be done through the Criminal Records Privacy Act, RCW 10.97.

Effective January 1, 2011 WSP discontinued processing Non-Profit Child/Adult Abuse Information Act background check request forms submitted by mail. Non-Profit agencies may conduct a request online for no fee.

For additional information check: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/crime/crimhist.htm

How can I request Criminal History Record Information (CHRI)

The Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section responds to requests for criminal history and sex and kidnap offender registration information submitted in several formats:

  • Web site inquiries.
  • Sending in a completed background check form provided by the Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section.
  • Submitting a fingerprint card.


How can I review my entire record?

The subject of the criminal history record information (CHRI) has three options to review his/her complete record including non-conviction information. Non-conviction information is CHRI which has not led to a conviction or other disposition adverse (negative) to the subject. Examples of non-conviction information include the information about charges that were dismissed or charges that were never filed in the court of law.

Option 1) Submit a completed record review/challenge fingerprint card and $10.00 to the Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section at PO Box 42633 Olympia, WA 98504-2633. A copy of your entire CHRI will be returned to the address on the completed fingerprint card. You may request a record review/challenge fingerprint card by contacting the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section at (360) 534-2000 press option 5, or crimhis@wsp.wa.gov. You may also obtain the fingerprint card at the time of fingerprinting if you are printed at another law enforcement or criminal justice agency.

Option 2) You may visit our office located at 3000 Pacific Ave Suite 202, Olympia, WA 98504, and request a review of your complete criminal history record. You will be asked to fill out a form and provide fingerprints. Upon successful determination that the record to be reviewed does belong to the subject, you will be provided with a copy of your criminal history record. A reasonable period of time, not to exceed thirty minutes, shall be allowed for a person to examine their state level CHRI. Retention or reproduction of CHRI is not allowed except for the purpose of challenge or correction of entries submitted by Washington State criminal justice agencies. There is no fee for this request. You may also choose to keep a copy of your record for a $10 fee. Any questions regarding the record will be answered by the Washington State Patrol staff.

Option 3) If you are unable to come into our Olympia office you may inspect your complete CHRI by having your local law enforcement office submit a completed fingerprint card with the reason fingerprinted indicated as RECORD REVIEW/CHALLENGE. The Criminal History Support Unit (CHSU) will then provide a copy of your transcript of record to the law enforcement agency for your inspection. A reasonable period of time, not to exceed thirty minutes, shall be allowed for a person to examine their state level CHRI. Retention or reproduction of CHRI is not allowed except for the purpose of challenge or correction of entries submitted by Washington State criminal justice agencies. There is no fee for this request.

How can I delete or expunge my record?

In certain instances, non-conviction arrest data may be expunged from a record. Non-conviction information consists of criminal history record information (CHRI) which has not led to a conviction or other disposition adverse to the subject. Expungement requests must meet the criteria outlined in RCW 10.97.060. Please make sure to review the eligibility information, before you submit a form.

Click http://www.wsp.wa.gov/crime/chupdates.htm#existing

Once the request is processed, the Washington State Patrol will inform you of the outcome of your request via mail. Please note that the completion of this process with the Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section has no effect on records maintained by the court in the Judicial Information System (JIS). Please contact the court of origin to discuss deletion of your record from their files.

Additional Resource:A guide on when and how to challenge, seal, vacate or expunge.

Click www.courts.wa.gov and use the key word "Criminal records brochure".

How do I make corrections to my record?

You may request the Section to purge, modify, or supplement your record pursuant to RCW 43.43.730. You may submit a completed Request for Modification of Record form from the link below or contact the Identification and Criminal History Section for more information at (360) 534-2000 press option 5 or crimhis@wsp.wa.gov.

Click Request for Modification of Record


How can I search the Sex and Kidnap Offender Registration Database?

Pursuant to RCW 9A.44.130, any adult or juvenile residing in Washington State who has been found to have committed or has been convicted of any sex or kidnapping offense, shall register with the county sheriff in the county of the offender’s residence.

The county sheriff shall then forward the registration information and fingerprints obtained to the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section. The registration information is then entered into the criminal history database and will be provided to persons requesting background checks for public information or child and adult abuse.

To search the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs sex and kidnap offender public web site click http://ml.waspc.org

How do I establish a Personal Identification Record/Compromised Identify Claim (CIC)?

The Identification and Criminal History Section will accept and file the fingerprints submitted voluntarily by any resident of this state for the purpose of positive identification. There is a $26.00 fee for submitting your personal identification fingerprint card to the Washington State Patrol.

It is not uncommon for offenders to use someone else's name and date of birth at the time of arrest. An offender may use a relative's, acquaintances, or a stolen identity to avoid using his or her own name. Personal Identification records help secure a more certain and easy identification in the case of death, injury, loss of memory, or other circumstances.

A person, whose identity has been compromised, may submit a compromised identity claim (CIC). The CIC provides the claimant with a letter identifying the claimant’s state identification number (SID) and verifying the claimant is not the same person as the other individual(s) in the database with similar name and date of birth descriptors. The claimant is issued a wallet card bearing the claimant’s name, SID, photograph, and thumbprint. A notation is disseminated on a background check stating a personal identification card is on file with the section. This service helps increase the claimant’s credibility and makes it easier for them to prove their true identity to potential employers, landlords, or others.

For more information contact the Section at (360) 534-2000, press option 5 or at crimhis@wsp.wa.gov.

You may download the Compromised Identity Claim form to take your local law enforcement agency.

How can I obtain a notarized letter?

Notarized letters cost $10 each. Please go to "Forms", complete and print the Bank Card Authorization Form and fax the form with your Web Search Transcript to (360) 534-2073. Requests may take 7-14 business days. If you would like your notary letter mailed by means of special handling please provide the envelope and a completed mailing label including the account to be billed. Mail the Web Search Transcript including a $10 check or money order in US funds to the Washington State Patrol, PO Box 42633, Olympia, WA 98504-2633.


How can I obtain criminal history information from another state?

Below is a list of current phone numbers and web site addresses for other State Bureau’s:

Phone Numbers and Web site Addresses

How can I obtain a copy of my FBI record?

You may click on the link listed below for information on obtaining a copy of your record from the FBI:

http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm

Where can I go for fingerprinting services?

You may contact your local law enforcement agency for information regarding fingerprinting in your area. The Washington State Patrol, Identification and Criminal History Section in Olympia provides this service for $13 per printing event. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am – 12(Noon) and 1 pm to 5 pm; it is encouraged that you arrive by 4:30pm to allow time for the fingerprinting event to take place. Please read the fingerprinting rules listed below for further information regarding our policies.

WSP Fingerprint Room Rules

Fingerprint Locations

What are Crimes Against Persons?

Effective July 24, 2005 the legislature changed the definition of releasable criminal history information. The Section’s response includes convictions of all crimes and pending arrests of crimes against persons as defined in RCW 9.94A.411. Pending arrests are those less than one year old without disposition. An arrest is not a conviction or a finding of guilt. The conviction record data does not include information on civil adjudications, administrative findings, or disciplinary board final decisions – all such information must be obtained from the courts and licensing agencies. Please click on the link below for a listing of crimes that are identified as a crime against person.

Crimes Against Persons Listing

How Can I Obtain an Apostille?

You may click on the link listed below for information on obtaining an Apostille.

http://www.secstate.wa.gov/apostilles/

How can I obtain results electronically when requesting background check by mail?

Submit email address and an eight character password in the space provided on the Request for Conviction Criminal History Form (RCW 10.97) or Request for Criminal History Information Child/Adult Abuse Information Act Form (RCW 43.43.830 through 43.43.845).

How do I get a fingerprint based background check for the state of Washington? What is the cost? What results are provided in a fingerprint based background check?

A fingerprint based background check for the state of Washington can be done by submitting an applicant fingerprint card and $26 processing fee to the Washington State Patrol, Identification and Criminal History Section. You can obtain a fingerprint card at your local Police or Sheriff’s office and be fingerprinted for a nominal service fee, or come into the Washington State Patrol office at 3000 Pacific Ave Suite 202, Olympia, WA 98501. Washington State Patrol, Identification and Criminal History Section provides the fingerprinting service for $13 per printing event. Mail the fingerprint card along with a check or money order for the $26 processing fee to Washington State Patrol, Identification and Criminal History Section, P.O-Box 42633, Olympia Washington 98504-2633. Once we receive the request we will mail the processed card and results to you within 2 to 4 weeks. Notarized letters certifying the results of a fingerprint based background check are available upon request. Mail the fingerprint card and a check or money order for $36($26 processing fee plus $10 per notary seal) and a note indicating you need a Washington state background check based on fingerprints and a notary letter. Once we receive the request we will mail the processed card and the letter to you within 7-14 business days. A fingerprint based background check includes Washington state conviction information, arrests less than one year old with dispositions pending, any adverse (negative) findings related to the subject of the record and information regarding registered sex and kidnap offenders.

What if I enter multiple names for the same person on the same day?

When a WATCH account user enters multiple names for the same person on the same day they may contact WSP Criminal Records Division at WATCH HELP (watch.help@wsp.wa.gov) to provide the duplicate search information. The following information is required:

Name on account
Date search was completed
Transaction number
Name(s) searched

When the Background Check Unit receives the request in writing at the above email address the transaction will be reviewed and either voided or credited. You will receive an email indicating the adjustment once the adjustment has been made.

What if I accidently clicked on the Notary Request button or Complete Order button?

If you have clicked on the Notary Request button but have not clicked on the Complete Order button you should not be billed or receive a notary letter. If you have clicked on the Complete Order button you will be billed and will need to contact WSP Criminal Records Division at WATCH HELP (watch.help@wsp.wa.gov) or (360) 534-2000 option 2.

The following information is required:
• Name on account
• Billed account number, if applicable
• Date search was completed
• Transaction number
• Name(s) searched

When the Background Check Unit receives the request in writing at the above email address, the transaction will be reviewed and either voided or credited. You will receive an email indicating the adjustment once the adjustment has been made. If you have any questions, please contact the WATCH Help desk at WATCH HELP (watch.help@wsp.wa.gov) or (360) 534-2000 option 2.