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Pennsylvania Public Records

The Pennsylvania FOIA law (The Rights to Know Law) became effective on Jan. 1, 2009. According to this law, all the records issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are presumed to be public records. This means that the public in the state can access all records in possession of government agencies unless these fall under specific exemptions that we will detail below. To make sure that the law is enforced, a special agency was established - the Office of Open Records (OOR).

The people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are also entitled to access vital records (birth records, death records, adoption records) that are available at the Department of Health, in the Vital Records Division.

Marriage records are maintained by the Marriage License Clerk in the courthouse of the county issuing the marriage license. Likewise, divorce records are maintained in the courthouse of the county in which the divorce decree was granted.

Pennsylvania background checks and criminal records are available at the State Police office and can be ordered online, or after filing a demand in person on site.

Pennsylvania Public Records Search

Pennsylvania – Laws and Vital Information

The Pennsylvania Constitution is the foundation of the state's government. The first version was adopted in 1776 and was a framework for the US Constitution, which did not take effect until 1789. The state of Pennsylvania was one of the original 13 colonies and as a result, has a very rich history of laws.

The latest Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was revised in 1968, and is based on the state’s former constitutions. Amendments to the constitution can be made only after a majority vote of two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and an affirmative vote by the electorate.

Like all other states in the union, the law in Pennsylvania consists of several levels; statutory, constitutional, regulatory and case law. Acts are numbered by the Department of State and published by the Legislative Reference Bureau as separate official documents known as slip laws before publication in bound editions as the Laws of Pennsylvania.

The official laws of Pennsylvania are also referred to as the Pamphlet Laws or Sessions Laws. Pennsylvania Session Laws are available for free online from the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Pennsylvania – 10 Laws You Should Know

  1.  The legal blood-alcohol concentration limit for most drivers 21 and over 0.8%. 
  2. Pennsylvania is one of many states that prohibits texting while driving but not taking voice calls.
  3. To file for divorce in Pennsylvania, one spouse must have resided in the state for at least 6 months.
  4. Pennsylvania's High Court has found that community property is invalid under the state constitution. So without a private agreement like a prenup, the property of divorcing spouses is divided based on fairness.
  5. Pennsylvania has adopted a modified contributory negligence standard. If you are more 50% at fault for your injuries in an accident, you may not recover any money.
  6. There are time limits for filing a civil lawsuit in Pennsylvania. For example, you generally have 2 years to sue for personal injury, but just 1 year to sue for libel.
  7. Handwritten wills and oral requests describing how to distribute your property after death are not recognized by Pennsylvania laws. 
  8. Landlords must allow Pennsylvania tenants up to 10 days to pay overdue rent before evicting them.
  9. You can openly carry firearms without a license in Pennsylvania, except in the city of Philadelphia, but you need a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
  10. The age of majority is 18 in Pennsylvania, although 14-year-olds may consent to mental health treatment.

Pennsylvania Public Records - Exceptions

The Right-to-Know Law has an express presumption that all records in possession of the state of Pennsylvania are public. However, agencies can deny access in some cases. Here is a list of some examples in which case PA public records may not be accessible.

- if the disclosure of the record could result in the loss of 
Federal or State funds by an agency or the Commonwealth;
- if it could result in a risk for the personal security of an individual;
- if the record is in connection with the military, homeland security, national defense, law enforcement or other public safety activity; 
- if the record concerns 
an individual’s medical, psychiatric or psychological history or disability status;
- if the record contains the home address of a law enforcement officer or judge;
- if the record constitutes or reveals a trade secret or confidential proprietary information;
- DNA and RNA records are also considered personal and shall not be revealed, as well as autopsy records of a coroner or medical examiner;
- if the record identifies an individual who applies for or receives social services;
- if the record identifies the name, home address or date of birth of a child 17 years of age or younger.

Pennsylvania Public Records - Fees

The fee to access vital records in Pennsylvania is $20.00, and each additional copy costs $20.00.

Fees for marriage records and divorce records vary from county to county, and you must approach the proper court to get the records you desire.

The fee for a criminal record history copy is $22.00

Pennsylvania background check

What are Free Background Checks and How Do They Work

There is another way to gain access to vital records, marriage records, and criminal records in Pennsylvania, and that is with a free background check website. If you decide to use these kinds of sites, you must know that you will not get all the services that are available on paid background check sites. Free sites lack the financial means that can grant them access to all the public records in Pennsylvania. This means that you will not find all the information you are looking for on a certain person. Also, free background check sites cannot provide a customer support service, and the means to protect private information.

There are also sites that advertise themselves as free background check sites, but charge money for the services they provide.

Finding Public Records by Running a Background Check with a Legitimate Service

The best way to perform a full background check in Pennsylvania, or any other state, is to use a website that has full access to public records. GoLookUp provides this kind of service to all US residents, so you can find all the information you need in one place. GoLookUp provides accurate reports on any person you desire based on their name, phone number, physical address, or email address.

The website scans public records based on the details you provide, and aggregates the information into one report that includes criminal records, arrest records, social media information, mugshots, employment history, and more.

To make sure that all your information is protected, GoLookUp operates a protection system that prevents hackers from getting their hands on your data. Along with that, you will receive unlimited searches for no extra charge, and around the clock customer support service. The professional Pennsylvania public records search is conducted within a few minutes, so you do not have to file any requests and wait for days to get the information you desire.

Pennsylvania background checks are easier when you use a website that has access to all the public records in the state. GoLookUp will provide you with information about any person you desire in a matter of minutes, so you get a quick, accurate, and reliable background check service.

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Search for anyone in the United States! 100% Confidential! Updated on December 1, 2021
Sensitive Information!