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Washington Background Checks

Washington background check, including criminal records, incarceration records, and inmate records

State Office

Washington State Patrol.
PO Box 42633
Olympia, Washington 98504
(360) 534-2000

The Identification and Criminal History Section is part of the Washington State Patrol and is responsible for collecting, maintaining and disseminating the state’s criminal records, which are contained in the Washington State Identification System (WASIS). All criminal records compiled are supported by fingerprints, with arrest and disposition information collected from the courts and law enforcement agencies, who are required to report all felony and gross misdemeanor arrests and dispositions. Washington background checks are available to the public, as Washington is an open records state, although public background checks in Washington will be restricted.

Individuals requesting a Washington criminal background check on another person will only receive conviction information and information concerning arrests less than a year old that have no disposition. The Washington background check will also indicate if the individual is a registered sex or kidnapping offender. Law enforcement and those with a criminal justice purpose may access an individual’s complete criminal history. Background checks in Washington are primarily name-based searches, although fingerprints may be submitted for a more accurate search.

Steps for Retriving a Washington Background Check

Step 1

Download and print the Conviction Criminal History Record Request form from the Washington State Patrol’s website.

Step 2

Fill out the form, making sure to include as much identifying information on the subject as possible, and mail the completed form with fee to the address listed. You may elect to have results sent to an email address or mailed via the postal service.

Step 3

Or, go online to WATCH (Washington Access to Criminal History) through the Washington State Patrol website and establish a new credit card account.

Step 4

Enter your billing information and choose a password and username to establish your account. Then enter the full name, any known aliases or former names and date of birth for the individual in question. Race and gender are optional.

Step 5

A list of possible matches will appear, and you choose the result to view. You can also print the record from your computer.

Washington Background Check Special Notes

Individuals have the right to review their complete Washington criminal background check, but must contact local law enforcement agency for an appointment because fingerprints will be taken to accurately establish identity prior to a search. Fingerprints may be submitted by the general public to receive the most accurate form of conviction information, but individuals conducting Washington background checks on others might not be able to obtain a set of fingerprints. Employers must notify an individual and share the criminal records results, while individuals do not need to inform or get consent to conduct a background search on others.

Record request form

Individuals who wish to obtain a Washington background check should fill out the following form: Washington State Patrol Conviction Criminal History Record Request Form.