Virginia Public Records: How to Perform a Virginia Public Records Search
September 28, 2022
Virginia Residents, by state law, are permitted to access public records in Virginia on request, unless the requested record is protected by statute against public access.
When it comes to out-of-state residents, however, the state of Virginia takes a less lenient view; people who live outside the state of Virginia may not access Virginia public records.
Depending on certain factors, some records may be accessible to requesters online, while a formal request has to be made in order to access others.
Regardless of the circumstances, the state of Virginia typically responds to Virginia public records requests within five days of application. However, the state may request an extension of seven days for some records.
Public Records Virginia: What You Need to Know
Whether you choose to perform a Virginia free public records search or pay for such a service, you need to know what you are getting.
Public records in Virginia are categorized by their type, and the following are records that one can obtain in the state:
What Are They Virginia Vital Records?
Together, birth records, death records, marriage records, and divorce records make up vital records in Virginia.
The Division of Vital Records of the Virginia Department of Health is the state agency saddled with the responsibility of curating and maintaining vital records in the state of Virginia.
Typically, applicants for Virginia vital records do not need to include a form of identification with their application.
However, only the individuals listed in the record, their immediate family members, or those who are legally permitted to access the data are allowed access to Virginia vital records.
Third-party websites offer more practical alternatives for requesters who don't want to take the official method.
Officially, interested members of the public can obtain certified copies of vital records in Virginia by completing the appropriate online request form and submitting it by mail or in-person to:
Virginia Department of Health - Vital Records Division Division of Vital Records P.O. Box 1000 Richmond, VA 23218-1000
For instance, a person who's interested in finding a Virginia marriage certificate must fill out the application for certification of a marriage record, print it out, and submit it, along with the $12 charge, to the above address.
Alternatively, they may also make an in-person request at the office of the Clerk of Court in the county where the marriage took place. The same process largely applies to divorce records requests. Fees for in-person requests may vary.
Virginia Criminal Records
Criminal records are official records that detail a person's interactions with Virginia's law enforcement agencies.
These records are often created and maintained by state law enforcement authorities, making them Virginia public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Criminal records are generally available to the public upon request because they are public records in Virginia.
Records that have been sealed or purged, however, might not be viewable by the general public. On the other hand, all forms of criminal records in the state are accessible to criminal justice organizations.
How to Obtain Virginia Criminal Records?
In Virginia, the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) is in charge of maintaining criminal records.
To access these records, interested individuals must submit a full set of fingerprints to the Virginia State Police.
While it's possible to obtain criminal records from the Virginia State Police without fingerprints, only fingerprint-based searches enable requesters to access additional information such as arrest information.
The department takes 15 to 20 days from the date of receipt of the fingerprints to process background check requests. Note that fees may apply.
How To Find Virginia Inmate Records?
The Virginia Department of Corrections administers state-run penitentiaries in the state and also maintains the records of inmates incarcerated in any of the state's correctional facilities.
Inmate records typically provide a physical description of their subjects as well as information relating to their offense, conviction, and incarceration.
Crime victims looking for information about the status of their offenders typically seek out inmate records in Virginia.
How to Find Virginia Inmate Records?
The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) maintains an inmate records database and provides an online offender locator tool for easy inmate lookup.
Interested members of the public looking for information about an inmate incarcerated in any correctional facility in the state of Virginia may visit the department's website, locate the offender search tool, provide the name and identification number of their inmate of interest, and click search to initiate a Virginia inmate records search.
What Are Virginia Court Records?
Court records in Virginia provide detailed information about convicts who have gone on trial in any court in the state. Court records are public records in Virginia and as such, members of the public may access them on request.
How to Find Virginia Court Records?
Before you begin your search for court records in Virginia, you need to know the precise court that's holding the records you seek.
Once you're able to determine the court that's keeping the records, you may then deliver a court records request form directly to the clerk of the court.
As the designated record custodian, the clerk of court will make requested court records available to you, after you've provided a few details about your subject.
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