Crime & Safety · Request a State Criminal History Record (Background Check)
The WSP Criminal History Section (CHS) maintains the complete and accurate criminal history record information (CHRI) of the statewide criminal records repository as well as Washington State records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On this page you will find the following resources:
Who can request a Criminal History Record (Background Check)?
Who can Request Criminal History Records (Background Check)?
Certified criminal justice agencies may request and receive unrestricted criminal history record information (CHRI) from the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section for criminal justice purposes.
The public may request and receive CHRI for non-criminal justice purposes, but it is limited to conviction information only.
Obtaining a State Criminal History (Background Check)
Conviction criminal history record information (CHRI) is defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 10.97.030, and it relates to an incident that has led to a conviction or other disposition adverse to the subject. In addition to the conviction CHRI, non-criminal justice requestors (the public) may receive a record showing pending arrest offenses under one year old without a disposition, and if the subject is a registered sex/kidnapping offender.
You can obtain criminal histories from the State Patrol in two ways:
You may run a background check and receive the results immediately by going online and using WATCH (Washington Access To Criminal History). This feature requires either a credit card, or a pre-established billed or non-profit account.
If applying for a billed or non-profit account, print and fill out the application packet and submit by mail, fax or e-mail. All forms are available in the WATCH forms directory.
Criminal History Request Statutes
Depending on the purpose, the Identification and Criminal History Section responds to public inquiries under two different statutes.
The results for either check are the same. Both include all convictions, information on pending arrests less than one year old, and kidnapper/sex offender information.
Criminal Records Privacy Act (RCW 10.97)
Under the Criminal Records Privacy Act, conviction criminal history record information (CHRI) may be made public to anyone without restriction and without the consent of the subject of the record. The requestor must either:
Instructions for completing a Request for Conviction Criminal History Record PDF form (3000-240-569):
Child and Adult Abuse Information Act (RCW 43.43.8321 or 43.43.830)
Under the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act, requests for CHRI are available at no charge to non-profit businesses or organizations licensed in the state of Washington; any agency of the state; or other governmental entities that educate, train, treat, supervise, house, or provide recreation to developmentally disabled persons, vulnerable adults, or children under 16 years of age. Background checks may also be requested by a business or organization that qualifies for exemption under section 501 (c)(3) of 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.
These background checks are for initial employment or engagement decisions only, or for volunteers working with vulnerable adults and/or children. The requesting agency must get permission from the subject and notify them of the Section’s response.
Create Online WATCH Account
Once the WATCH account is set up the requestor will run the applicant using the on-line account.
Request Fees (all fees are non-refundable)
Mailed requests must include a check or money order made payable to the Washington State Patrol. Personal and/or business checks are accepted. Fees may be paid using a Bankcard Authorization Form. This form may be filled out and mailed, faxed or emailed along with the request.
There is no fee for Washington state organizations that qualify as a non-profit.
Request Responses: Timeline & What to Expect
WATCH (Online): Immediate
If a record exists, a copy of the record will be attached to the returned form. It will include a state of Washington record of convictions, any pending crimes against persons less than one year old, and sex offender and kidnapper registration information. If our search reveals that no CHRI exists, a no record result will be provided.
Secondary dissemination of the CHRI is prohibited, unless in compliance with RCW 10.97.050.
Please note that some of the documents provided on this page are available in Adobe® PDF format only and will require the Adobe® Reader in order to view or print them from your Web browser.