Pennsylvania Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)

Pennsylvania Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)
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  • How can I view a specific criminal complaint in Pennsylvania?
    Go directly to that court's website. Allegheny county for example has a page with a case search of both civil and criminal cases filed. Cases can be searched by participant name, case number, police incident, offense tracking number, complaint number or an organization's name or state ID number. (Staff)
  • How can I find out if my ex-wife has been arrested on criminal charges in the past month in Pennsylvania?
    There's a link to an inmate search for the state of Pennsylvania above in the public records directory above. You can choose to search by the committing county, inmate name or facility the person may be currently held in custody. If you know the county, you can go directly to the county's own web searches, for example Philadelphia, which has their own inmate search. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, if I have access to detailed records from an old case?
    If the case made it the news, even in a small town paper, the article can be accessed with the local library archives. The story itself may not be readily available online, however, the services that the library offers the public can be looked over to see where to get it. This is not the only way, but offers another method when other methods have been tried. (Staff)
  • How can I find out on line, if someone has a warrant for their arrest in Pennsylvania?
    You need to mention where the warrant is out of, some areas' police websites make their arrest warrants public online. You can search freely as with Bucks county bench warrant search online. Lancaster County Sheriff’s webpage on warrants shows you how to use the "The Unified JUDICIAL SYSTEM of PENNSYLVANIA WEB PORTAL" to search for more warrants, including the ones outside the county. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, a law that says police must give crime information to the public in a timely manner?
    You can check the laws on the state's PA open records RTKL (Right To Know Law) faqs under: If our local or state agency receives a right-to-know request what must we do to be in compliance with the new law? [Section 502, 703, 901]. There are exceptions which are specific to certain records. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, if 911 logs are public records?
    Pennsylvania general assembly's webpage under "Section 708. Exceptions for public records." will be able to give you the answer. The page is long, but if you do a page search of 911, you will be able to find it and go directly to what you're looking for. There is a concern with personal information being opened to the public during emergency calls, such as the mental condition of the individual. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, access and contact information for who owned a specific property?
    Counties are in charge or recording deeds, depending on the county the property is in, the database can be open to the public. Which county is it in? (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, an accident report?
    Accident, incident and arrest reports are usually requested from the department which created the report. It is then requested by persons involved in the case, such as attorneys, investigators, person in the report and others related to the accident. If you know where the accident is, refer to the department's website which services that area. You will then see what needs to be done to obtain the accident report online. If you mention the area or department, other visitors can share their similar experiences. On a side note, if you are not sure of the area, you can use crime mapping to pinpoint the accident's location and department. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, a person who has been arrested in the last three weeks?
    Police logs, crime maps and custody-inmate/jail lists can show arrests, even some periodicals will show its local arrests. Helpful to know which area as arrests are mostly made at the local level. The Pennsylvania State Police offers a criminal check service named "patch", but it's not the same as looking up arrests as they don't always lead to convictions to show up as criminal records. (Staff)
  • Where do I find in Pennsylvania, a criminal background check?
    You can either conduct your own search or order one from the Pennsylvania State Police (the first link will take you there). If you conduct your own search, you can pick and choose what to look into. Some of the records, court filing for example, may have a fee, but they are relatively low. The state police only charges eight dollars for a standard criminal check. You can also go to the state's judiciary site and look up criminal and civil dockets for free online. There are cases there which go back a years, I've seen a case from 1970, may go back even further. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, if my corruption of a minor conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony?
    That's a question which should be asked of a qualified professional that can be verified. Pennsylvania has legal aid websites which can help with contact information and maybe answer the question. Public record site posts are to help with where and how to obtain information. There are legal aid services with websites that cover certain areas, you can begin by looking for one in your city/county. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, all the public sources of my criminal records and opt out of having them available to view?
    Whether criminal or civil public information, there's usually one supplier and thereafter, it can take a life of its own by many other sites/sources also showing them online. There is no one step available for taking yourself off from ever showing up online. Public records are created by a variety of entities, from real estate recording, court records and more. Many have taken upon themselves to search the internet and request to be taken off from appearing on search engine results. However, it is not a simple and easy task to accomplish for various reasons. A major obstacle is the right to access records which are deemed as public information under the law. Privacy laws are also in effect to protect individual's private personal information. Many individuals are not clear as to which is private or public information. The statutes in place cover most records requested on a daily basis. Government agencies can place restrictions or access requirements under certain guidelines. Courts are the source of many records most individuals would like to be kept private such as past criminal offenses, bankruptcies, divorces and other lawsuits. The entire record may not be open, such as personal sensitive information, however, the data regarding a person's filings are deemed public and open for anyone to obtain. When the access to an individual's information is publically available, any person or entity can obtain and make them available to others. Others can include other entities which in turn once again make them available in other sites. As long as the source of the information is still providing the record, it can appear anywhere online. Some sites will remove the information from appearing online they've acquired lawfully as a courtesy and policy. Persons looking to conceal the information can request an opt out from each site and source individually. The original source of the information, usually a government agency, may not conceal the record without proper cause. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Pennsylvania, arrest records and would I start with the state police?
    Most of Pennsylvania's state trooper police reports have to do with accidents. Most of the arrests are made by local police departments, which you will have to request the specific arrest report from. This is because they're the ones making the arrest and fill out the report. If you need a full arrest report from the past, there's a process from each department to request them. Background checks are offered from the state troopers for the entire state. If the arrests have resulted in a conviction, the state trooper is the central depository for the criminal records. However, when troopers make the initial arrests, where are the records, which could be for a routine DUI? The PA state troopers provide arrest and conviction reports for education employment, a form for the search is on their website, but no sign of other services for arrests were found. (Staff)
  • A slow economy has more people desperately trying to find new ways to get a job and keep it. The impact to employers is that while more applicants are applying, so are the people willing to file lawsuits out of desperation, fear and anger. The employee or applicant is well aware of the unemployment environment which has plagued everyone for years with no relief in sight. The effect is the greater tendency for lawsuits claiming unlawful termination or hiring practices. When conducting a background check, the laws which apply to employers can vary from one state to another. So it is a good idea to get familiar before hiring from the general public. Some of the rules which apply to employers are specific and their violation will not be easily defeated, in other words, you're in trouble if you're not careful. In Pennsylvania, the law restricts certain type of offenses that can not be a reason for eliminating the applicant. Laws change, there are ongoing efforts to eliminate employee background checks altogether in order to help people with convictions have a better chance at getting hired. More laws for employers on the horizon There are several groups with political clout that are determined to restrict and eventually eliminate the ability for employers to conduct background checks. Small businesses are the ones which would suffer the consequences the most as they do not have the same funds in order to defend and/or pay fines resulting from a lawsuit being filed. Small businesses are not had as strongly represented, hence the probability of new laws being passed in the future. (Staff)