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Virginia Arrest Records: How to Find Arrest Records in Virginia

Virginia Arrest Records: How to Find Arrest Records in Virginia
October 8, 2022

Virginia arrest records, often known as arrest reports, are open records that give details of people who have been held and questioned by law enforcement agencies for committing a crime. 

Regardless of the alleged offense, the Virginia state's law enforcement agencies create and keep these records after an arrest. 


Anyone in Virginia caught or suspected of violating the Penal Code may be arrested, detained, and tried for a crime. 

Once someone has been arrested, the arresting officer will file a report in that person's name. 


A person's booking and incarceration as a result of the suspected commission of an infraction, misdemeanor, or crime are detailed in the report that serves as the arrest record.

Virginia state flag with handcuffs on it


How to Perform a Virginia Arrest Records Search:


As in other states, you can find arrest records in Virginia, either online or offline. If you wish to perform a background check on someone, you can do so with an online service, such as 


The name-based directory provides access to public records, including Virginia public arrest records. You will also receive access to other records, such as marriage records, birth records, criminal records, contact info, etc. 


If you want to perform an arrest records Virginia search only, you do not need a background check service. You can find arrest records in Virginia in one of the following ways:


What You Should Know About Virginia Arrest Records

There are over 75 million public records in Virginia, including Virginia arrest records. 


Anyone may examine and copy these records maintained by public bodies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) enshrined in 2.2-3706 et seq. of the Virginia Code. 

A public body in this context includes a state agency, a board or legislative body of a county, city, or town, a planning committee, a zoning board, a school board, and even an organization that receives most of its funding from the government.

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However, law enforcement agencies may withhold some arrest records in Virginia from the public because of federal and state exemptions. 


The following records will be exempted from public view if:

* The record is for a minor still under parental consent
* The record will compromise the security of a person implicated in a criminal inquiry
* Making the record or information available to the public will impede or jeopardize an inquiry or other pertinent investigation
* Investigations into unattended deaths have been finished.

Arrest Records Virginia: How Can I Find Them in the State?

The first place to inquire about arrest records in Virginia files is the local sheriff's office or police department that handled the arrest. 


Next, it is a good idea to phone or visit the relevant department's official website for information on how to view an arrest record. 


This is because each agency has different record dissemination policies and costs.

For instance, some Local Sheriffs have online forms that requesters can fill out and submit, such as the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department. 

a hand pinching a folder in a row of folders

Some others, like the sheriff's offices in Chesterfield County and Northampton County, offer printed record request forms that can be mailed, emailed, or personally delivered. 


Others could require a requester to be present in person before records can be given. Additionally, current arrest information may be accessible on a few sheriff's websites.

A local law enforcement agency mainly needs identifying information about an arrestee, such as their complete name, date of arrest, case number, or booking number, to carry out a FOIA request. 

It will also be necessary to provide personal data, such as the requester's full name, postal address, contact phone number, and a valid photo ID. 


You should note that requesting copies of Virginia arrest records requires payments to the local law enforcement authorities, which accept cash, checks, or money orders as payment.

You may also ask a local police agency for the arrest record of an arrested person in addition to the arrestee's local or state criminal history record. 


This kind of document contains more thorough information on the arrest. 

However, it is only available to those arrestees, law enforcement agencies, select employers and regulatory bodies, and others entitled to do so by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2-3706.  

a hand stamping a sheet of paper

It is important to note that local law enforcement agencies maintain local criminal records containing information about arrests made within their jurisdiction. 


In addition, the state's Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) can provide access to state criminal history records, which offer a more thorough picture of an individual's arrest history in the state.

A subpoena is necessary when an organization needs to access restricted or Virginia arrest records not that are not covered under the FOIA from a law enforcement agency. 


The need for such access for law enforcement or judicial purposes is among the most common justifications. 

All that is necessary is for a person to download a subpoena form, fill it out as completely as possible, and then deliver it to the court clerk for issuance (i.e., for signature and stamp). 


The next step is to provide it to the records custodian at the relevant sheriff's office or police department.

Most courts' websites allow you to download subpoena forms and packages. If not, you can find the application form by typing "subpoena" into the search bar on the Virginia Judicial Branch's forms page. 

For instance, the requester should use the DC-336 form if the arrest record relates to a criminal or traffic court case. 


There could be a non-refundable processing fee that needs to be paid before someone can serve a police department or a sheriff.


Even though arrest records in Virginia are frequently confused with Virginia criminal records, they do not always prove a person has committed a crime. 


Instead, it provides details on a suspected criminal arrest, which could be important for a person's conviction.

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