How to Obtain a Free Background Check in the State of Virginia?
According to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, all information collated from government and other official records is deemed public. There are over 75 million transparent records that the citizens of Virginia can easily access.
Virginia passed the Freedom of Information Act in 1968 and established the freedom of Information Act Advisory Council in 2000. These work as both formal and informal sources of advice to public agencies and individuals. Any person can access said records without stating a reason for doing so. Additionally, the use of records is unrestricted.
However, there are a number of records you cannot obtain. These include:
- Trade and commerce secrets
- Virginia port records
- Mental health and recovery records
- Child fatality records
- Personal information on the subject of the records
- Records that have been sealed by a court order
Criminal record check in Virginia
There are two ways you can obtain a criminal history record of Virginia. However, remember that you will only receive records of convicted felons, not of people who were arrested and released without a proper conviction and sentencing.
Records check via fingerprint card
Fingerprint cards are used by individuals and private companies with the consent of the subject. A fingerprint card will allow you to receive conviction data, arrest records and a list of charges the subject has faced. Fingerprints of the subject are taken at the following address:
State Police Headquarters, 7700 Midlothian Turnpike, North Chesterfield 23235, Virginia.
If you want to take fingerprints at your local police station, be sure to contact the area office for the correct time and location. You will pay $10 for the first fingerprint card, and $5 for every additional card you order.
Fill out Form SP-167 along with your fingerprint card. The link is given below:
Print out the form and send it to the address listed above.
Criminal history records check
If you are a non-criminal justice entity, you can avail of criminal records through a non-notarized form. Non-criminal justice entities include the following:
- Adoption and foster care agencies
- Adult home care facilities
- Child care centers
- Employees of hospital pharmacies
- Homes for adults
The following entities are entitled to receive full criminal records:
- Volunteer agencies
- Security companies
- VISA/ Passport companies
- Alcoholic beverage Control Board
- Volunteer Fire and Rescue departments
- Departments of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Fill in form SP-167 at https://vspapps.vsp.virginia.gov/catspublic/public/publicHome.html.
Background check for employment in Virginia
Virginia is a "ban the box" state. This means employment agencies are not allowed to convictions, arrests, and juvenile records before the commencement of the first interview. Additionally, employers are also not allowed to ask potential employees about charges that did not result in convictions. There are a few records that are necessary for the employer to know before hiring someone for a job. This includes jobs such as:
- Educators: Everyone applying for a teaching position will have to go through a background check, mainly for sexual offender crimes. Individual school districts set separate requirements for background checks.
- Licensed professionals: All people applying for licensed jobs in Virginia will have to go through a fingerprint-based background check. This includes medical practitioners, lawyers, and heavy machinery workers among others. This is done to ensure these professionals will not be a danger to the people around them while doing their job.
- Transportation: People who apply for a job in the transportation industry go through both criminal background and driving history checks in the state. A record of one's driving history is especially important, as any records of accidents or DUIs will get the person struck instantly off the application list.