Virginia Background Checks and Public Records

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State of Virginia

Virginia, also known as Old Dominion, is officially referred to as the Commonwealth of Virginia and is one of the original 13 colonies. It’s situated in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States. It’s the 35th largest state by area and the 12th-largest state by population.

Virginia is home to the world’s largest naval base, the Naval Station Norfolk. It’s also been the birthplace of the majority of US Presidents. It’s known for its lucrative tobacco industry and is the largest seafood producer on the East Coast. Virginia is also considered to be one of the leaders in the eco-friendly movement.

There’s no denying that Virginia’s population is very fluid and some of its residents are not Virginia natives. So, when acquiring criminal history records (or any public records) be sure to also check its neighboring states.

Counties in Virginia

AccomackCharlotteGreeneMecklenburgRoanoke
AbermarleChesterfieldGreensvilleMiddlesexRockingham
AmeliaCraigHanoverNelseRussell
AmherstCulpeperHenricoNew KentScott
AppomattoxCumberlandHenryNorthamptonShenandoah
ArlingtonDickensonHighlandNorthumberlandSmyth
AugustaDinwiddieIsle of WightNottowaySouthampton
BathEssexJames CityOrange Spotsylvania
BedfordFairfaxKind and QueenPageStafford
Bland FauquierKing GeorgePatrickSurry
BotetourtFloydKing WilliamPittsylvaniaSussex
BrunswickFluvannaLancasterPowhattanTazewell
BuchananFranklin LeePrince EdwardWarrem
BuckinghamFrederickLoudounPrince GeorgeWashington
CampbellGilesLouisaPrince WilliamWestmoreland
CarolineGlouchesterLunenbergPulaskiWise
CarrollGoochlandMadisonRappahannockWythe
Charles CityGraysonMatthewsRichmondYork

Where To Get Public Records In Virginia

Virginia doesn’t have a central repository of public records; instead, this valuable record information is managed by various government agencies.

For instance, if you need access to birth records, you must coordinate with the Division of Vital Records of the Department of Health. They keep track of birth, death, marriage, and divorce records. Vital records include personal information of all persons involved, the date and time of the event, the place where it occurred, and other important information.

For Virginia criminal records, you will have to get in touch with the State Police. They can provide detailed reports of a person’s interactions with any law enforcement agency. These records include; personal information, physical distinguishing features, mugshots and fingerprints, and the types and description of the offense.

The Virginia Department of Corrections is responsible for inmate records. They collect files from prisons, correctional facilities, detention centers, and penal institutions all across the state. Inmate records include personal information, inmate registration numbers, jail location, custody status, eligibility for parole, and more.

Should you need access to court records; the Virginia State Court Records manages them. They keep all records from court proceedings across the state. Reports may include case files, court orders, jury records, witness documentation, and more.

Property records are also available for public access. Land records are provided by the Virginia Judicial System and tax records can be found at the local county assessors’ offices. Deed records are also kept at a county level. However, the state’s online database will allow you to access information stored in various Circuit Court Clerk’s Offices throughout the state.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Virginia

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act governs the acquisition, maintenance, and distribution of public records within the state. This state law allows only Virginia residents to access Virginia records. It also mandates that each department must assign an official records custodian and that they must respond within 5 days from the date of the request.

In Virginia, all public records are presumed open or accessible except those specifically exempted by the statute. Common exemptions include legislative records, petit and grand juries, records concerning public safety, administrative investigations, educational records, health and social services, and trade secrets.

Depending on the department and/or the nature of the information, records can be acquired online, over the phone, in person, via mail, or through email. The state agency is also allowed to charge nominal fees for these reports or searches. Should your request get denied, there is currently no formal appeals process. However, the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council will act as the intermediary.

Should you want a more convenient way of acquiring public records; you can try a trusted and reliable third-party online people search engine.

Virginia Background Check Reports

Like most states, Virginia adheres to federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). FCRA aims to ensure fairness, accuracy, and privacy of any personal information acquired by credit reporting agencies. EEOC aims to prevent employment discrimination based on race, creed, gender, religion, criminal record, or other factors. Virginia is also a ban-the-box state, prohibiting employers from asking any criminal record-related questions until after the interview process.

While also used for other purposes such as child adoption and firearm license issuance, criminal background checks are often requested for prospective employees. The Virginia Department of State Police is the only official agency that conducts these searches within the state. Note, however, that you could also use third-party sites that offer background check services.

To start the process, simply fill out the Criminal Record Name Search Form which could be acquired from the State Police website. You’ll need to mail this together with a signature that’s witnessed by a notary, consent from the person being searched for, and your payment.

Criminal searches cost $15, while a combination of criminal and sex offender searches cost $20. These fees are excluding the nominal fees to have the form notarized and any mailing expenses. Results can then be expected within 12 to 14 business days.

Most background checks in VA are name-based, but should you need a more thorough report, you could request a fingerprint-based search. You’ll also need to provide, however, the fingerprint card of the individual.

Virginia Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Background Checks

Does Virginia have background checks?

Like other states, Virginia does conduct, and in some establishments, require background checks. The VA Code mandates searches on firearm license applicants or buyers, public officials, as well as employees within financial, medical, schools, and other high-risk industries.

What kind of background check does the VA do?

Most background reports in Virginia are name-based searches that contain basic personal information. They also conduct fingerprint-based searches which provide a more in-depth report.

How long does a background check take in Virginia?

The processing time of background checks in Virginia is typically 12 to 14 business days.

Where can I get a background check in Virginia?

The Virginia State Police is the only official agency that conducts checks in VA. Fill out the Criminal Record Name Search Form which could be acquired from their website. Afterward, mail it to them together with any other requirements.

How can I check my criminal record in Virginia?

You may coordinate with the Virginia State Police, the County Sheriff’s Office, or the local police departments. You could also utilize trusted and reliable third-party search engines like Kiwi Searches.