What is an arrest record?
Arrest records in the state of Washington refer to crime related information stored in the central repository of CHRI (Criminal History Record Information). Maintained by the State Police of Washington, the data has been accumulated through inputs from all the local crime justice agencies across the state.
Since its establishment of the CHRI in the legislative session of 1972, all local law enforcement agencies are legally obligated to submit information relating to gross misdemeanor and felony arrests to the State Patrol which files the details into a CHRI database known as WASIS (Washington State Identification System).
The Identification and criminal history section of the CHRI provides accurate information to private citizens as well as peace officers along with expert technical service pertaining to legal matters, in the interest of public safety.
Records are furnished on the basis of a name/description inquiry as well as finger print identification. While there may be some discrepancies in the results of a name search, finger print inquiries offer positive identification.
Information provided in response to a criminal history inquiry will include details about the individual in question his/her such as his/her name, identifiable traits/ characteristics, finger prints, photographs along with crime and disposition related data like indictment and charges filed, verdict in the matter and correctional facilities that the criminal was sent to.
In Washington, you will also be handed information on cases that resulted in acquittal on the grounds of insanity and dismissal along with matters which culminated in any other form of disposition. Sentencing related information, criminal supervision and release related data also form a part of criminal history reports.
However, information on traffic violations that are not punishable by a maximum jail term of 90 days and records of traffic offenses retained by appropriate licensing departments to regulate the issuance, renewal and revocation of such permits are not furnished in criminal history check responses.
What is an arrest warrant?
A warrant for arrest issued in the state of Washington is a judicial order released to apprehend an individual if an indictment has been filed against him in court. Legally, a probable cause must exist and be ascertained by the judiciary before an arrest order is granted to the law enforcement agency applying for it. In this case, probable cause can be defined as the information based on logical findings and investigation that led a reasonable person to believe that the accused is responsible for /involved in the crime. Probable cause may be verified through the information presented in the form of a writ petition or the sitting magistrate may examine the witnesses and/or complainant under oath.
This is a legal binding on the issuing authority, so a warrant cannot be issued unless the court determines that probable cause indeed does exist which has caused police officers to believe that the defendant committed the crime that he/she is being charged of. In case of sworn testimony this will be filed with the written affidavit in an electronic or stenographical form. The evidence presented may be in part or wholly hearsay at this point.
In the state of Washington, a warrant for arrest cannot be issued unless the defendant’s current address has been ascertained. The police are required to get this information by searching the driver’s license identification database, details stored in the Department of Corrections listing database and also the District Court Information System.
An exemption from address search can only be granted if the person in question has already appeared in court or is in custody or if his/her name is not known. All arrest warrants issued in Washington have to be in writing and issued on behalf of the State of Washington. The arrest order shall have a mention of the date on which and the county where it was issued. The warrant will specify the name of the person who is to be arrested; in case this is not available, it will include an identifiable description of the individual.
Also specified in the order will be the precise nature of the offense allegedly committed by the person and a court directive to bring this individual before the judiciary. In case of bailable violations, a bail and other conditions for release may also be set forth in the warrant.
How to search for an inmate in the Washington Jail & Prison system?
All information relating to inmates housed in detention facilities across Washington and also criminals incarcerated due to sentencing in the state can be availed from the Washington State Department of Corrections. Details stored in the Washington Prison System like the name of the inmate, his/her DOC number and location are revealed in the interest of public safety.
To locate an inmate lodged in a prison in Washington, simply log on to the website of the Washington Department of Corrections at doc.wa.gov/offenderinfo/default.aspx. Enter the last name or the DOC number of the inmate and your search should bring back information like the name of the correctional facility that he/she is incarcerated in; first, last and middle name and the DOC number. The location link on the page will even give you driving directions to the correctional facility.
Alternatively, you can call on 360-725-8213 to locate criminals who are from Washington and have been convicted of a crime in the state. For inmates who are not residents of the state, dial 360-725-8900. Information is offered on both numbers from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 5 pm Pacific time.
If you are specifically looking for information on sex offenders in the area, it would be best to log on to the national sex offender registry website at fbi.gov/scams-safety/registry/
Who can search for arrest records and warrants in Washington and how?
Crime history records are disseminated to the public under two statutes in the state of Washington: the Child Abuse and Information Act and the Criminal Records Privacy Act. Depending on who is seeking the information, for what purpose and under which statute, some restrictions do apply.
RCW 10.97: The Criminal Records Privacy Act: Under this statute, conviction records stored in the CHRI can be made available to any member of the public through the WATCH program after filling Form 3000-240-569. Both name and finger print search request are entertained.
The form has two sections; of which, in section A, you will need to furnish the name of the subject, all aliases including birth and married names along with the sex and race; the last two bits of information are optional.
In Part B, the requestor will have to provide personal information including his name, telephone number and the name of the requestor’s home or business address including the name of the agency. If you would like to receive the results of your search electronically, simply check the box provided for receipt through email.
RCW 43.43.830-845: Children and Adult Abuse Information Act: Through the provisions of this statute, information about an individual’s criminal history is offered to government run and non government businesses and establishments licensed in the state of Washington which offer care for disabled and vulnerable adults and children . The information provided is strictly for the purpose of initial employment screening and records are disseminated both for conviction crimes and as well pending arrests. The requestor has to notify the applicant of the search results.
How to request records under the Washington specific laws, freedom of information?
Criminal history information is offered to residents of the state by the Washington State Patrol through the WATCH program which can be accessed through the website fortress.wa.gov/wsp/watch/.
A request for criminal records can be made through the website or by writing to the managing body of the program. At the least, you will need to have the first and last name of the subject of your inquiry along with his/her gender, date of birth and race. However, for a more conclusive report, you will need to include fingerprints as well.
Depending on the filing method used, the inquiry will cost you $10 or $26; the higher amount reserved for fingerprint inquiries. Another option is to get in touch with WATCH by phone; dial 360-534-2000. While finger prints are not a mandatory requirement, the Washington State Patrol does not guarantee that the information found through a name search will bring back a positive identification.
It generally takes 7 to 14 days for the request to be processed at which time the report is sent to you through your chosen method of receipt. The report will clarify if there were no records found in response to your inquiry.