Washington

CNCS provides this state by state guide for informational purposes only and makes reasonable efforts to ensure the quality of the information. You are responsible for determining the suitability of the information and your use of the information in this guide, and for compliance with NSCHC requirements (45 CFR 2540.200 - .207). CNCS makes no express or implied warranty, no representation, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness, timeliness, or completeness of any information in, or available through, this guide. The information in this guide is presented in good faith and believed to be correct. You assume the risk of relying on the information contained in this guide. Links to non-CNCS websites are provided for informational purposes only.

CNCS is not responsible for the content of non-CNCS websites. CNCS neither endorses the information, content, presentation, or accuracy nor makes any express or implied warranty regarding external websites or any commercial product or service.

If you identify information that is outdated, please notify us at CHC@cns.gov.

Washington is an open records state.
Some form of criminal history information is open to the public in “open records” states. In “closed records” states, access to criminal history information is not generally available to the public, but is available to authorized entities (e.g. law enforcement agencies).
 

Contact Information

Washington State Patrol, Criminal Records Division 
Phone: 360-534-2000, option 2
 

State Checks 

General Information on State Checks:

  • While two options for types of state checks are listed below, name-based and fingerprint-based, only one type of state check is required. CNCS does not recommend one of these checks over the other. Either the name-based state check or the fingerprint-based state check is acceptable.
  • Please note that to be in compliance with CNCS requirements, recipients may have to conduct checks in up to two states: the  state of service/work check on individuals in covered positions, as well as a state of residence check (i.e. if the state of residence is different from the state of service/work at the time of application).


Name-Based State Checks

Available from: Washington State Patrol, Criminal Records Division
 
What is released: If no criminal history record is found, the letter will indicate this. If a record is found, conviction information for Washington will be provided dating back to 1974. 
 
Cost: $12.00. There is no charge for nonprofit organizations if the inquiry falls under Child and Vulnerable Adult legislation. (More information on Child and Vulnerable Adult legislation pertaining to criminal history checks can be found here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=43.43.830.) Nonprofits will need to apply for an account to take advantage of this. Any results that are obtained by nonprofit organizations at no charge under this legislation cannot be shared outside of the organization.
 
How long does it take to obtain results? Immediate results when electronic system WATCH is used (see the Additional notes area in this section below for more information on WATCH.) 7 – 14 days when the request is mailed. 
 
Additional notes: Name-based checks may be requested either electronically or through the mail. Washington’s website is called Washington Access to Criminal History, or WATCH.  
 
Washington State has specific legislation in effect for volunteers who work with children at nonprofit organizations. Under the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act, requests are limited to organizations that educate, train, treat, supervise, house, or provide recreation to disable persons, vulnerable adults, or children under 16 years of age. Under this Act, any results that are obtained by nonprofit organizations cannot be shared outside of the organization. Criminal history checks may also be requested by a business or organization that qualifies for exemption under section 501 (c)(3) of the internal revenue code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501 (c)(3) and that provides emergency shelter or transitional housing for children, persons with developmental disabilities, or vulnerable adults.
 

Fingerprint-Based State Checks

Available from: Washington State Patrol, Criminal Records Division
 
What is released: If no criminal history record is found, the letter will indicate this. If a record is found, conviction information for Washington will be provided dating back to 1974.
 
Cost: The fingerprint check is also free if the organization is a nonprofit. Otherwise, there is a $26.00 fee. 
 
How long does it take to obtain results? 7 -14 days upon receipt
 
Available to: Authorized entities. More information on what kinds of organizations are eligible can be found here, see FAQs #4 and #6: https://fortress.wa.gov/wsp/watch/Home/FAQ 
 
Additional notes: Applicants must sign a disclosure before the fingerprint request is submitted. 
Fingerprinting services are offered by Washington State Patrol, as well as county sheriff’s offices and many local police departments. 
 
Washington State has specific legislation in effect for volunteers who work with children at nonprofit organizations. Under the Child and Adult Abuse Information Act, requests are limited to organizations that educate, train, treat, supervise, house, or provide recreation to disable persons, vulnerable adults, or children under 16 years of age. Under this Act, any results that are obtained by nonprofit organizations cannot be shared outside of the organization. Criminal history checks may also be requested by a business or organization that qualifies for exemption under section 501 (c)(3) of the internal revenue code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501 (c)(3) and that provides emergency shelter or transitional housing for children, persons with developmental disabilities, or vulnerable adults.
 

Approved Alternative Repositories 

State repositories are institutions that house and maintain the arrest and disposition (or outcome) information for cases handled in that state. Each state has a central repository, and CNCS has designated one in each state that grantees must use. In some cases, generally when a different institution is able to provide information that is equivalent to what is provided by the state repository, CNCS may designate them as an Approved Alternative Repository.
Programs may also use a fingerprint-based check from the Montana Department of Justice (https://dojmt.gov/enforcement/background-checks/), the Oregon Department of Human Services (http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/BUSINESS-SERVICES/CHC/Pages/index.aspx), or the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (http://wyomingdci.wyo.gov/home). 
 

FBI Checks 

 
State Repository Provides FBI Checks: No
 
CNCS FBI Channeler:  Organizations that cannot successfully use the state repository for FBI checks may use CNCS’s FBI-approved Channeler, Fieldprint, for FBI checks. 
 
Cost: The cost for one FBI check through Fieldprint is $27.50. 
 
How long does it take to receive results? The majority of checks conducted electronically take no more than two business days from the date the fingerprints are captured. If an applicant does not live near a Fieldprint livescan location and fingerprints must be taken manually and mailed, it will take longer to receive the results. See the Fieldprint Guide and FAQ (linked below) for more information.
 
More information
Fieldprint Guide and FAQs: https://www.nationalservice.gov/FBIGuidance (see document, “Using Fieldprint as an FBI Channeler – A Guide for CNCS Recipients”)
Fieldprint website: http://www.fieldprintcncs.com/ 
 

NSOPW (National Sex Offender Public Website) Check

A required component of the NSCHC is a nationwide check of NSOPW.gov before an individual begins work or service in a covered position. Please note that a compliant nationwide NSOPW check must include reports from all states, territories, and tribes. If any state, territory, or tribe is unavailable at the time the NSOPW check is conducted, you must either run a nationwide NSOPW check again through NSOPW.gov and ensure that all entities are reporting, or run a separate check for each entity that is not reporting through the state sex offender registry website.

Please note that a check of a single state’s sex offender registry alone is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the nationwide NSOPW check requirement. The information provided in the State Sex Offender Registry Information section is for reference purposes only in the event that a single state sex offender registry check is necessary to supplement an incomplete nationwide NSOPW check.

 

State Sex Offender Registry Information

Washington Sex Offender Registry: http://www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=54528
 
 

Individuals Requesting Criminal History Records (versus Organizations)

1. The applicant must establish a new WATCH account in order to receive a Washington state background check. 
2. The applicant must fill out the personal information page and submit the form. The process can be completed online. There is a fee of $10.00 per name searched, payable by credit card only. 
3. Generate the information, print and mail only one copy of the form to The Washington State Police for a notarized signature.  Notarized letters cost $10.00 per notary seal. 
4. Please go to "Forms," complete and print the Bank Card Authorization Form, and fax the form with your Web Search Transcript to 360-534-2073. Requests may take 7-14 business days. If you would like your notary letter mailed by means of special handling, please provide the envelope and a completed mailing label including the account to be billed. 
5. Mail the Web Search Transcript including a $10.00 check or money order to: 
Washington State Patrol 
PO Box 42633 
Olympia, WA 98504 
6. You will receive your results after they have been processed, which takes 7-14 business days. 
7. Bring sealed result to program to ensure chain of custody. 


Revised as of 2/16/2018

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