January 23, 2018, 3:41 pm
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How to Obtain Pennsylvania Criminal Records
If you made some mistakes in the past that you regret, you are not alone. However, some mistakes are more costly than others, and if they resulted in your arrest and fingerprinting, you probably have a Pennsylvania criminal record. In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, your records are public information, and everyone has a right to see them. It may be a good idea to check out your criminal history, especially if you plan to look for a new job soon. Here is how you can get your records and some important things to know about the process.

What are Pennsylvania Criminal Records?

Simple offenses like routine traffic or speeding tickets are not considered criminal offenses. Criminal records usually include serious offenses like felonies and major misdemeanors. Here are some incidents that might show up on a typical criminal history report:
  • DUI conviction
  • Assault
  • Theft (grand larceny)
  • Burglary
  • Drug possession
  • Illegal use of firearms

Pennsylvania Open Records Law

The Open Records Law of 2008 allows citizens and organizations to have full access to most government records. This is also called the "Right to Know." Criminal records are included in this law. Of course, there are some records that are excluded from the law. For example, if the information would result in injury or danger to the person on the report.

Getting Your Records

You can request Pennsylvania criminal records in one of two ways:
1. Online (PATCH)
2. Form Submission
Online Requests
You can take advantage of PATCH (Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History). This is an online service that simplifies the process of requesting and receiving criminal history reports. PATCH was established to comply with the Pennsylvania" Criminal History Information Act." You can access the PATCH site by clicking here.
If you go to the site, you can submit a request for a Pennsylvania criminal record search. When you enter your email address, you'll receive an email confirming your request and another one when the check has been completed. You must print your copy out from the website as it will not be mailed.
If you receive a request that is "under review" it could take some time to receive your information. In fact, the usual turnaround time is between 4 to 6 weeks.
When you have problems or questions, you can call the toll-free helpline at 888-783-7972.

Mail Request

If you want to send your request and receive it in the US mail, you need to fill out the Criminal History Request Form. Two other forms are available, and they are:

Form for volunteers

Individual Access and Review Request
Make sure to fill out all the requested info on the form in ink and print carefully because illegible forms are returned. You also must include your reason for requesting criminal records.
Fee for the mail service is $8.00, and if you want notarized records, it is $13.00. Individual access and review fee is $10.00. Mail your completed form and fee to:
"Pennsylvania State Police
Central Repository - RCPU
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758"
Make your certified check or money order out to the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
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