The simplest—and fastest—way to is to run an online background check on yourself through the Washington State Patrol (WSP).
The Washington State Identification System (WASIS) maintains an electronic database consisting of all criminal records. WASIS receives these records from courts and law enforcement agencies statewide.
The Washington Access to Criminal History (WATCH) is the official WSP website for accessing your criminal history record information (CHRI).
You can obtain the following through the WATCH website:
- Washington State criminal conviction history
- CHRI information about an arrest that took place within the past year and a case is pending in the criminal justice system
- Example: you were arrested for DUI 10 months ago. Prosecutors filed charges against you in King County District Court but the case is still pending in the court
- Information about any registered sex offender / registered kidnapping offender cases
There is an $11.00 fee for this service payable by check or credit card. The $11 fee is charged for each name, regardless of the result.
Conviction records do not include information on civil adjudications (i.e. civil judgments), administrative findings, or disciplinary board final decisions. You must contact the appropriate court or licensing or administrative agency to get a copy of these records.
You can also obtain a copy of your non-conviction CHRI, but that is a separate procedure.
WASIS cannot guarantee that the records you receive are accurate. That is because WATCH searches are based on your name and date of birth, not on fingerprint verification, which is the only way to positively ink someone to your criminal record.
Example: Your name is Robert Edward Watson (DOB: 3-4-76) and you live in Spokane. You have a small criminal record. There is another Robert Edward Watson with the same DOB who lives in Tacoma, who has a much longer criminal record. Your WATCH background search may show results for both Robert Watsons.
How can I get a fingerprint-based background check?
First, you need to get your fingerprints taken. You can do this at your local police station or Sheriff's office, usually for a nominal fee. Or you can come to the WSP office, which is located 106 11th Avenue SW, Suite 1300, Olympia, WA 98501. WSP charges $16 for one set of prints.
You then mail a copy of your fingerprint card, a completed Request for Conviction Criminal History Form, and the $58 processing fee payable by check or money order to the following address: Washington State Patrol Identification and Background Section, P.O. Box 42633, Olympia, WA 98504-2633. You will receive your results within 2-4 weeks.
A fingerprint based background check includes the following:
- Washington state conviction history information
- Any negative or adverse dispositions. These include the following: a deferred sentence even if the case against you was ultimately dismissed; a finding of not guilty by reasons of incompetency or insanity.
- Arrest information within the past year where the case is still pending
- Registered sex offender / kidnapper offender information
Can I get a copy of my complete criminal history record?
You also have the right to review your entire Washington criminal history record, which includes not only conviction history but information about dismissed cases and cases where you arrested but charges were never filed.
You can inspect your complete criminal record in one of two ways:
In-person: You can visit the WSP office in Olympia and ask to review your complete criminal history record. You will have to provide fingerprints. Upon verification, you will be given approximately 30 minutes to review your records.
You can purchase your own copy for $12.
By Mail: You can submit a fingerprint card along with the required $12 fee to the Washington State Patrol Identification and Background Section, P.O. Box 42633, Olympia, WA 98504-2633. You will receive your complete CHRI record in the mail.
Can I share my background check results with friends or family members?
Yes. Under Washington state law, conviction CHRI is available to anyone without restrictions. Therefore, you can share your background checks with anyone.
Of course, this also means anyone can access your conviction criminal history for any purpose whatsoever without your consent.