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Washington Criminal Records

Washington Criminal Records often called rap sheets, contain information about a person's criminal history in the state. There are several criminal records, and the different courts, local and state law enforcement agencies, and detention facilities prepare and maintain them.

The information in the criminal records of Washington serves several purposes. Certain agencies and employers rely on these records for job screening or other legitimate reasons.

Other common uses of criminal records in Washington include tenant screening, firearm purchases, and licensing for certain professions, such as lawyers or healthcare providers.

Also, the information in these records is essential for law enforcement to investigate and solve crimes by identifying suspects and tracking their criminal history.

Some of the information that these records contain are as follows:

  • Full name
  • Any aliases or other names used
  • Date of birth
  • Physical description, such as height and weight
  • Fingerprints
  • Mugshot
  • Details of any arrests and charges filed
  • The outcome of the case, including convictions, sentences, fines, and probation
  • Prior arrests or convictions
  • Outstanding warrants
  • Information on parole or probation status or active restraining orders

In Washington, criminal records are generally public information under the state's Public Records Act (PRA) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These laws require specific types of criminal records to be publicly available, such as court records and police reports.

However, some types of criminal records may be exempt from disclosure, such as juvenile criminal records, certain medical records, and records that would invade personal privacy or interfere with an ongoing investigation.

What Are the Types of Crimes in Washington?

Washington State has many types of crimes, classified based on severity and the harm they cause to individuals and society.

Here are the types of crimes in Washington based on severity level:


In Washington, a felony is a serious criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for more than one year. Felonies in Washington are categorized into three classes:

Class A Felonies

These felonies are the worst type of crime in Washington. Those with any of the following felony records must pay a $50,000 fine and serve life in prison:

  • Rape
  • First-degree murder
  • Second-degree murder
  • Assault with a lethal weapon
  • Homicide caused by child abuse

Class B Felonies

Felonies under this class are the second worst type of crime in Washington. Someone who commits any of the following offenses could get a $20,000 fine and up to ten years in prison:

  • Stalking in violation of a restraining order
  • Second-degree manslaughter
  • Residential burglary
  • Stealing a gun
  • Auto theft

Class C Felonies

Class C felonies in Washington are the minor type of felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Below are some examples of Washington Class C felonies:

  • Theft of property worth between $750 and $1,500
  • Electronic data theft
  • Third-degree assault, including resisting arrest or violently attacking a police officer
  • Assault in the fourth degree (if the defendant has a history of domestic violence charges)
  • Second-offense driving under the influence (DUI)


Misdemeanors are less severe offenses than felonies. Like in most states, misdemeanors in Washington entail prospective jail terms of less than one year. Washington categorized misdemeanors into two, which are as follows:

Gross Misdemeanors

These crimes are a severe type of misdemeanor in Washington. Individuals with the following convictions on their Washington Criminal Records must spend 364 days in jail and pay a fine of $5,000:

  • Violating protective order restrictions
  • Stalking
  • TV subscription service theft
  • First-offense DUI
  • Reckless driving
  • Theft of property valued at less than $750
  • Simple assault

Plain Misdemeanors

In Washington, these misdemeanors are the least severe type of crime. If you are guilty of any of the following offenses, you could get a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail:

  • Theft of shopping carts
  • Prostitution or patronizing a prostitute
  • Refusal to disperse in response to a law enforcement order
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Possession of over 40 grams of marijuana
  • Speeding or parking violations
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Negligent driving
  • Disorderly conduct

How Does Probation Work in Washington?

In Washington State, probation is a legal status that allows an offender to remain in the community under the supervision of the Department of Corrections (DOC) or a county probation agency instead of serving time in prison. Probation can be granted as a sentence in place of jail time or as a condition of release after serving a portion of a prison sentence.

Probation in Washington aims to rehabilitate and supervise offenders while protecting public safety. Probation officers work with offenders to help them address the underlying issues contributing to their criminal behavior and support their successful reintegration into the community.

Probation Conditions in Washington

When an offender is on probation, they must comply with certain conditions and restrictions, such as the following:

  • Regular check-ins with a probation officer
  • Abstinence from drug and alcohol use
  • Participation in treatment programs
  • Payment of fines or restitution
  • Community service
  • Court attendance at the appointed times
  • Complying with curfews
  • Avoiding specific individuals or locations
  • Avoiding travel out of state without permission

The specific conditions of probation can vary depending on the offense, the offender's history, and the court's discretion. Meanwhile, the length of the probation varies based on the violation and the specific conditions of probation.

Nonetheless, the court can revoke the probation if the offender fails to comply with the conditions or commits a new offense while on probation. In some cases, probation can be extended, modified, or terminated early based on the offender's behavior and compliance with the conditions of probation.

As per Washington law, your probation officer or defense counsel may petition the court anytime for early termination If you are on misdemeanor probation. Conversely, for a felony conviction, you may only request the court for early termination after completing at least one year of probation.

Typically, cases involving significant felonies or individuals with a history of violence cannot be dismissed early in Washington.

How Does Parole Work in Washington?

Washington parole permits convicted criminals to be released early under certain conditions and supervision.

The Indeterminate Sentence Review Board (ISRB) administers parole in Washington State. The ISRB is responsible for determining whether an inmate is eligible for parole and setting the conditions of their release.

The ISRB implements three systems related to state parole, and these are the Parole (PRE), Juvenile Board Cases (JUVBRD), and Community Custody Board (CCB).

PRE includes those prison inmates who committed crimes before July 1, 1984. On the other hand, JUVBRD has minors who committed crimes before their 18th birthday and were punished as adults.

Lastly, the CCB has offenders convicted of certain sex offenses on or after September 1, 2001.

Generally, to be eligible for parole in Washington, an inmate must serve a minimum term of their sentence, determined by the sentencing court, and demonstrate that they are ready to be reintegrated into society.

The ISRB considers various factors when making parole decisions, including the inmate's criminal history, behavior in prison, and prospects for success on parole.

Once released, the offender must comply with specific supervision conditions, such as regularly reporting to their community corrections officer, refraining from drug or alcohol use, and staying away from certain people or places. The offender may also be required to participate in treatment programs, perform community service, or obtain employment.

If the offender violates any of the conditions of supervision, they may be subject to consequences such as increased supervision, incarceration, or revocation of their earned release time.

Under indeterminate legislation, parolees will be granted a Final Discharge if they complete three years in the community without being sent to prison. In contrast, following the determinate plus statute, prisoners will stay on release monitoring until their maximum sentence expires.

How Does Expungement Work in Washington?

Expungement in Washington is having a criminal record sealed or destroyed. It allows individuals convicted of certain crimes to have their records cleared, making it easier to find employment, obtain housing, and move on with their lives.

In Washington, there are two types of expungement: administrative expungement and court expungement.

Administrative expungement is a process that allows individuals to have certain non-conviction records, such as arrests, charges, and dismissals, removed from their Washington Criminal Records.

On the other hand, court expungement is a process that allows individuals to have certain criminal convictions removed from their criminal record. This process is also known as "vacating" a conviction.

Expungement Eligibility in Washington

To be eligible for administrative expungement of non-convictions in Washington, you must generally meet the following criteria:

  • The court dropped or dismissed your charges.
  • You were found not guilty.
  • At least two years have passed since the arrest or charge.
  • You received a "favorable" disposition.
  • You have not been involved in any other crimes in the two years since the arrest or indictment.

For court expungement of some convictions in Washington, you must satisfy the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Your conviction was unrelated to violence, sexual exploitation of children, obscenity or pornography, and driving or operating under the influence.
  • Must not have committed other crimes in the three years following the sentence
  • At least three years have passed since the completion of the sentence, including payment of fines.
  • Must not have any pending charges

Once eligible, you must petition the Washington State Patrol (WSP) for administrative expungement. For court expungement, you must file the petition to the county court where the conviction occurred.

You need to fill out the Request for Expungement or Deletion of Non-Conviction Records for administrative expungement, while court forms for court expungement.

Your petition to vacate may be the subject of a hearing. If it does not, the court will notify you after the judge has decided.

Once the petition is approved, with either expungement, you can legally say that you were never arrested or convicted.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Washington?

The simplest and fastest way to obtain Washington Criminal Records is through the WSP.

WSP offers Washington Access to Criminal History (WATCH), where you can do a background check online and get instant results.

Another option to obtain information from a criminal record in Washington is to request conviction-based Criminal History Record Information (CHRI). It is possible by accomplishing a Request Form and sending it through the mail. 

You must provide a subject's name and date of birth to get a conviction-based CHRI. Aside from name-based, you can also ask for a conviction CHRI with fingerprints.

You must send all conviction CHRI requests to the Identification and Background Check Section of WSP, along with the applicable fees.

Apart from online and mail-in requests, you can get conviction CHRI based on a person's name and date of birth or through fingerprints by filling out the same form above in person at the Olympia office at 106 11th Ave SW Suite 1300, Olympia, WA 98501.

In addition to conviction CHRI, you can also request and obtain non-conviction CHRI, although only arrests of less than one-year-old with dispositions are available.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Washington?

The state of Washington offers numerous protections for candidates with a criminal history. Aside from the federal laws, which include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), below are the notable criminal background check laws in Washington:

Ban-the-Box Law

Under RCW 49.94.010, Washington has a statewide ban-the-box law. It prohibits employers from asking about an applicant's criminal history on a job application. Employers must wait until after the initial screening to inquire about an applicant's criminal history.

Washington Employment Discrimination Law

According to the Washington Human Rights Commission, employers must not make employment decisions based on information concerning arrests that did not result in convictions.

Nonetheless, employers can take convictions and ongoing criminal proceedings into account. But an employer may only inquire about a candidate's convictions if the conviction or the applicant's release from incarceration happened within the preceding ten years and the offense was relevant to the job duties.

Employers are prohibited from asking for applicants' credit reports by RCW 19.182.020 unless the need for the credit report is directly connected to the employment requirements or the request is otherwise mandated by state or federal law.

Other Washington Laws

Employers in Washington must acquire written authorization before obtaining a background check from a third party under state law comparable to the FCRA. Also, the employer must send specific notifications before and after refusing employment based on the report's contents.

Lastly, if WSP or the court expunged or vacated a person's Washington Criminal Records, the candidate may respond to employer queries as if the crime never happened.


Counties in Washington

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Washington

King County Sheriff's Office516 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA
Pierce County Sheriff's Office930 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, WA
Snohomish County Sheriff's Office3000 Rockefeller Ave. MS 606, Everett, WA
Spokane County Sheriff's Office1100 W Mallon Avenue, Spokane, WA
Clark County Sheriff's Office505 NW 179th St, Ridgefield, WA
Thurston County Sheriff's Office2000 Lakeridge Dr SW building 3, Olympia, WA
Kitsap County Sheriff's Office614 Division St, Port Orchard, WA
Yakima County Sheriff's Office1822 S 1st St, Yakima, WA
Whatcom County Sheriff's Office311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, WA
Benton County Sheriff's Office7122 W. Okanogan Place, Building A, Kennewick, WA