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The Identification and Criminal History Section was established during the 1972 Legislative Session as the central repository for Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) for the State of Washington. It consists of fingerprint-based records and disposition data for crimes and gross misdemeanors which are submitted by enforcement agencies and courts across Washington. Washington Arrest Records are found among them; they are compiled from arrest warrants issued by the concerned authorities throughout the state. To access such documents, one may visit the individual local courthouses or the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation.
Arrest records are public records in Washington. Under the Criminal Records Privacy Act, conviction CHRI may be made public to anyone without restriction or consent of the subject. However, the general public is only entitled to access conviction records and sex offender status. Other than self-checks, vital documents and complete criminal information will be released only to employers, law enforcement and other approved state agencies. Criminal record searches can either be by name or fingerprint, the latter being considered higher powered. Name-based requests cost $17 per name while fingerprint searches are $26 each plus an additional fee of $13 for fingerprinting which is offered at the Washington State Patrol office in Olympia.