Virginia Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)

Virginia Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)
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  • How do I get details on a shooting in Virginia that happened in the past without having the names?
    Libraries keep copies of old past reports in local papers you can access and look up local crimes. These copies can be accessed by micro film or database. The search shouldn't cost anything, other than the inconvenience of having to go to he library (Staff)
  • How do I get access to my late husband's mugshot in Virginia?
    Check old newspapers and articles at the library local to where his arrest occurred. (Staff)
  • How can I find out in Virginia, if someone has a building permit?
    Building permits are public documents and can be requested from the county. Individual counties have their own websites with public searches such as "Permit Status by Address" (for Fairfax Co.) You will need to check the particular department in that county. Projects are required to obtain permits from submitting plans and other documents. There's more you can look up, for example using the Community Complaint Inquiry and checking for existing code enforcement cases (according to Fairfax county) or file a complaint. The process in which to obtain the building permit is listed on the county's page, which will tell you what the proper requirements are for the application. (Staff)
  • Is a drivers license a public record and can I get a copy of someone's license in Virginia?
    The Virgnia's dmv page "Release of DMV Information" states that driving license information is "NOT" public, unless you obtain written consent. There are exceptions. (Staff)
  • How do I convince the state of Florida that I have no criminal history in Virginia?
    Criminal History Records Check (SP-230) and (SP-167) are obtained from the Virginia state police. Their website will list their purposes. One example of SP-230 request is for Armed (Staff)
  • How do I find a copy of a marriage certificate in Virginia?
    The division of vital records in Virginia tells you how to request a certificate (certified copy) of marriages. Marriage records are available from 1936 to present. They can be requested by mail, in person/walk-in, express delivery and at full service DMV locations. Marriages are considered public record after 25 years, only immediate family such as the spouse, child, sibling, parents and grandparents can make the request and obtain them within 25 years. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, a copy of free arrest records?
    Depends on where you are looking for the records. There are departments which list their recent arrests online for public view, take fairfax county for example. You will need to look into individual counties'/cities' jails to see persons in custody of the police. If you need the official reports, the department's website will have a process to obtain them. However, if you just need the information, you will need to located them at all levels, including courts and statewide incarceration. (Staff)
  • Where do I find in Virginia, if I can get a copy of my driving record and other peoples driving record?
    If the driving record is your own, the state's dmv provides copies over the net. Other than that, the law according to the dmv's site is that driving records are not open to the public, here's the Virginia code Va. Code §§ 46.2-208 through 214. The federal law, which is not as restrictive is Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (18 USC §§ 2721-2725). However, this does not mean it is not open at any time. You can look up the law for exceptions, (impractical to go over all of the exceptions to the law without knowing your specific situation and if they would apply). (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, an offender's mugshot from 1997?
    It's probably easier since they've already been in the system for so long. Virginia's department of corrections' offender locator. A name search can be conducted if you do not know any other information about that person. It's an open free search and worth the time spent checking. (Staff)
  • Where do I find in Virginia, about a DUI arrest?
    Arrest lists (whether DUI or others) can be found on independent police sites such as the one the city of Danville which has warrants and reported incidents also. You can’t tell which departments have these databases until you’ve accessed them. Remember that police sites are not marketed to gain a large number of visitors, but to simply assist with some of their tasks. Putting inmates, persons in custody and wanted fugitives online helps by having public access. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, historical criminal records and inmate autopsies from 1941?
    There are different types and sources of criminal and arrest records. Criminal records are from court or central criminal database/repository. Arrest records are from individual law enforcement agencies which made the arrest. Each has their records division and specifics in regard to records provided. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, access to marriage records?
    Marriage records since 1936-2014 in Virginia can be found at the Office of Vital Records. You can follow the birth records link listed under "free public records" since they're provided by the same department. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, what time is my traffic court case?
    Access the General District Court Online Case Information System. On the left menu, you will see a tab for traffic/criminal, under that tab you will see options to search cases by name, number, date or process/service. You will be able to select which court. Thereafter you will be taken to a page where you can search for free and view case numbers (if searching by name or other criteria), defendant, hearing date, hearing time, charge and action. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, daily crime statistics?
    Crime mapping allows visitors to chose the day(s) span to view their data of offenses occurring. The area to search can be narrowed, however the coverage is not the entire state as some police or sheriffs departments provide their arrest and incident data and other do not. It is free and there are several crime mapping services open to the public. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, the worst area for drug trafficking?
    There are two ways to look up areas under and see the types of crimes occurring. One is the crime maps that are freely available online, note that not all areas are included. The other are the recent arrests. There are certain times when drug activity picks up and their arrests follow. Also, there are published reports of sweeps. This is when a joint effort from law enforcement is executing warrants for arrest or search. The agency will release reports for the media, online, tv or their own site's press release. (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, access to and a copy of a will?
    Some wills are recorded and can be viewed through the county recorders/clerk's office. If you are in the will, the attorney drafting the will may have a copy they can provide (Staff)
  • Where can I find in Virginia, if the Department of Corrections shows mugshots?
    Yes and no. Some do and some others do not. You can check them individually. Each state has one main website to begin the search, so it will not take too much time and they're free to the public. (Staff)
  • Do Virginia expunge records automatically after ten years if its a misdemeanor?
    No, you must petition the court, and pay all subsiquent fees. (Staff)