Free Washington Criminal, Arrest & Warrant Lookups

Free Washington Arrest Records & Criminal Records Search
Access Washington Records: background checks, warrants, probation and parole, court records, and all criminal and arrest records.

Learn how to look up Washington criminal records for free through various agencies and government entities today.

The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives all citizens the right to request records from any executive government agencies, but the state-specific laws dictating access to information can make accessing public records like Washington arrest records difficult.

The Washington Public Records Act allows all residents of the state access to government records from all counties and organizations.1

However, access to certain records may be restricted – some may be public, while others require the person’s consent to access. Some records may even be available only to government agencies and employers.

Through this guide, searchers can find the appropriate ways to look up or contact the most relevant agency, court, jail, or jurisdiction for various criminal and arrest records in Washington and obtain the information for free.

Availability of Criminal & Arrest Records in Washington State

Yes, the Washington Public Records Act allows citizens access to the public records repository of all government agencies in the state. However, some records which may put people’s privacy or safety at risk cannot be disclosed, such as:

  • Children’s personal information on school files
  • Personal information of employees held by the employer
  • Information critical to defending the security of Washington or the USA
  • Medical information and records
  • Certain records relevant to an ongoing court case
  • Any other records that may unduly disclose private information about a person or organization2

Sealed juvenile records are confidential, but vacated juvenile convictions are still searchable publicly. Neither of these types of records needs to be disclosed to employers.3 However, court records for sealed adult convictions remain publicly searchable, though the person still does not need to disclose them voluntarily.

Expunged arrest information for both juveniles and adults is removed from the felony registry and public record.

  • Sealed: The juvenile was convicted, but the case is completely erased from public record.
  • Vacated: The juvenile was convicted but has completed their sentence or fulfilled any other requirements, so the court has reversed the judgment and dismissed the case.
  • Expunged: The juvenile or adult was arrested and charged but dismissed or declared not guilty.

All other records are publicly accessible for anyone in Washington, but the process to access each type of record (criminal, arrest, warrants, sex offenders) can vary. In addition, the public domain is vast, and the tutorial on free Washington state public records shows searchers how to find even more information.

Washington: What’s Included in Criminal Records Searches vs Arrest Records Searches

All arrest and criminal records are public in Washington and can be easily found both online and offline, excluding juvenile records.

An arrest record pertains only to that particular offense or arrest, while a criminal record lays out a person’s entire criminal history (except sealed or expunged records). It also includes arrest information newer than 1 year.

People can only search for arrest records online on the county or city level unless there is an active court case. However, people can always make public records requests to their local law enforcement agency to obtain arrest records offline. On the other hand, criminal records are searchable state-wide.

Generally, Washington arrest records allow people to find out what someone was arrested for and include:

  • First and last name
  • Charge (without details)
  • Booking or arrest date and time
  • Release date and time (if the person has been released)

In contrast, a Washington state criminal record will generally contain:

  • First and last name
  • State identification (SID) number and FBI number (if applicable)
  • Appearance information (eye color, hair color, sex, height, weight, etc.)
  • Aliases
  • All previous convictions (except sealed and expunged ones)
  • Disposition or judgment date
  • Type and degree of crime (for example, Burglary-1)
  • Whether the was classified as a felony or a misdemeanor
  • Details of state prison time (charge and date of commitment to prison)
  • Sex or Kidnapping offender registry information
  • Details about each arrest
  • The court where the case was filed
  • Verdict
  • Sentencing details (date, duration, etc.)
  • Specific law violated
  • Court record number

For example, anyone can review arrest records from the King County Jail Roster with a quick, convenient online lookup.4 

A screenshot of the King County Jail Roster where the user can search for someone's criminal history.
Source: Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention Portal4

Since criminal records cover much more ground than Washington arrest records, they are often the best option when searching for someone’s criminal history. However, if a person only requires information about a specific crime or arrest, or if the arrest was recent, then seeking arrest records is a better choice.

How To Find Washington Arrest Records: See Why Someone Is in Jail for Free

In Washington, a person may be arrested by either a county or a city law enforcement agency, depending on the size of the county and/or city. Therefore, anyone can find recent arrests in Washington and find out someone’s charges in jail if they know which agency to check with.

The counties and cities in Washington have a total of 348 jails, lockups, and holding facilities under the jurisdiction of sheriff’s offices, city police departments, and counties.5

Here are the types of facilities and their role in the criminal justice system:

  • Lockups have no staff or secure perimeter and hold only juveniles.
  • Holding facilities have a secure perimeter but no staff and hold adult inmates.
  • Jails hold detainees long-term and operate on the city or county level.

Conduct a County Arrest Records Search in Washington (WA)

Washington has 59 county jails, and most allow searchers to look up who’s in a Washington jail for free or call them for more information. However, most counties in the state do not make their mugshot database public.

Searchers can use the table below to contact the county sheriff’s office or the jail for arrest reports/records:

County Jail Inmate Roster or Contact Page County Jail or Sheriff’s Office Contact Details Shows Mugshots?
Adams County Contact Form X
Asotin County 509-758-1668 X
Benton County 509-783-1451 X
Chelan County 509-667-6462 X
Clallam County 360-417-2458 X
Clark County 564-397-4996 X
Columbia County 509-382-2518 X
Cowlitz County 360-577-3094 X
Douglas County 509-667-6462 X
Ferry County 509-775-2906 X
Franklin County 509-545-3549 X
Garfield County 509-843-3494 X
Grant County 509-450-1127 X
Grays Harbor County 360-964-1717 X
Island County 360-679-7310 X
Jefferson County 360-385-3831 X
King County Seattle: 206-296-1234
Kent: 206-296-1234
Kitsap County 360-337-7108 X
Kittitas County 509-962-7527 X
Klickitat County 509-773-3666 X
Lewis County 360-748-9286 X
Lincoln County 509-725-3501 X
Mason County 360-427-9670 X
Okanogan County 509-422-7200 X
Pacific County 360-875-9337 X
Pend Oreille County 509-447-4119 X
Pierce County Main Jail: 253-798-4590
New Jail: 253-798-4590
San Juan County 360-378-4151 X
Skagit County 360-416-1911 X
Skamania County 509-427-9490 X
Snohomish County 425-388-3395 X
Spokane County 509-477-2278 X
Stevens County 509-684-4707 X
Thurston County 360-754-3800 X
Wahkiakum County 360-795-3242 X
Walla Walla County 509-524-5430 X
Whatcom County 360-778-6500 X
Whitman County 509-397-5585 X
Yakima County 509-574-1700 X

*Countries without a link do not have an online presence. 

Generally, people can find out if someone is in jail by following these steps:

  1. Go to Google and search for “[county name] arrest records” (for example, “King County arrest records”).
  2. The county’s official website will show up within the first one or two search results. Ignore any sponsored results.
  3. Navigate to either “Arrest Search” or “Jail Roster.”
  4. Here, the searcher can see the entire list of people in the county jail and their charges or search for a specific person.
A screenshot of an inmate's information from the King County Jail Roster where the searcher can see the entire list of people in the county jail and their charges or search for a specific person.
Source: Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention Portal4

On the other hand, if a county search doesn’t yield any results, searchers can call up their local police department (PD) for information or to find out if someone was arrested.

How Do I Bail Someone Out of a Washington Jail or Contact Them

To contact someone who’s in jail, loved ones can call, send a letter, email them, or visit them.

Visit: Find the county jail a person is in with the table above and call them for information on visiting hours and specific rules that may apply. Alternatively, Google ” [county name] jail visiting hours” to see if their visiting hours are posted online.

Call or Email: Many county jails require inmates to have a communications account into which loved ones can deposit money. Call times and frequency depend on the funds in this account. Other jails utilize collect calls, which charge the caller for the duration of the call.

Most jails with communication accounts allow payment by credit/debit card, money order, or cashier’s check. Find out how to deposit money by calling or visiting the relevant county jail.

Many counties in Washington also allow people to deposit money into inmates’ accounts through the Access Corrections6 website or app. To set up an account with Access Corrections:

  1. Register for an account.
  2. Save your payment information.
  3. Choose the Send Money option on the homepage.
  4. Select the state and the facility where the person resides.
  5. Enter their Inmate ID or name and choose the correct person from the drop-down menu.
  6. Choose the purpose and amount of the payment.
  7. Click “Review” and complete the transaction.

People can also send money orders via Access Corrections or find payment kiosks in jail lobbies and other locations to add money to an inmate’s account.

Send a Letter: Find the county jail’s number in the table above and call them for their address. Alternatively, Google ” [county name] jail contact” to find their address online. The table above provides the contact information for each county sheriff’s office as well.

Post Bail: Some inmate rosters on county jail websites may display the amount required to post bail, but many will not. Loved ones can contact the jail via phone to determine the bail amount.

Afterward, they can visit the jail or call them to find out how to post bail. Many jails allow posting bail online through various services. People can post bail with a:

  • Cash Bond (posting the full amount), usually paid directly to the jail.
  • Bail Bond (finding a bond company authorized in the county and paying a percentage of the amount, usually 8-15%). To find a bond company authorized in a particular county, search Google for ” [county name] bond company.”

How To Look Up Washington Criminal Records: WA Criminal History Search

The Washington State Criminal Records Privacy Act provides access to conviction data and information on any criminal proceedings less than a year old to anyone who requests it.7 In Washington, court websites host most criminal records except those that have been sealed (as a juvenile) or expunged.

We outline each county court and clerk of court below to simplify the process of searching for criminal court records in any WA county.

However, depending on what’s being looked for, understanding Washington’s court system can be helpful; the state has a 4-tier court system consisting of:

  • Municipal & District Courts: Handle cases on the municipal and legislative district levels, including misdemeanors, traffic tickets, domestic violence protection orders, civil suits (up to $100,000), and small claims (up to $10,000).
  • Superior Courts: Handle appeals from lower courts and civil/domestic cases beyond the lower court’s jurisdiction, besides felony and juvenile cases.
  • Court of Appeals: Handles appeals from lower courts.
  • Supreme Court: Handles appeals from the Court of Appeals.

The state allows free access to court records through a state-wide online directory and local court websites. However, certain court records are not accessible to the public, including:

  • Paternity and adoption records
  • Confidential name changes
  • Alcohol, mental illness, and drug commitments
  • Non-offender juvenile records
  • Sealed juvenile convictions

Additionally, Washington restricts access to family law and guardianship cases.

A screenshot of the Motion and Declaration to Allow Access to Records form, which the user can fill out to access family law and guardianship cases.
Source: Washington Courts22

People can view these only by seeking permission from the relevant court by filling out a Motion & Declaration to Allow Access to Records form.

Run a Search for Criminal Records in Washington via the County’s Clerk of Court

Searchers can contact the court hosting the record and/or submit a Public Records Request form for access to court records. The Clerk of Court websites for most counties (except King County) in Washington state do not allow searchers to look up court and criminal records for their superior courts.

Note: Since King County is the exception and does allow for criminal case lookups, residents are encouraged to keep reading below on how to access county superior court records and to refer to the resource on finding free public records in King County to discover more about the process of finding criminal histories, as well as arrests, warrants, probation, background checks, other court records, and more.

A screenshot of the King County Superior Court search feature where the user can request access to court records.
Source: King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office8

The King County Superior Court search feature8 shows the following information:

  • Case number and type
  • Case docket entries
  • Names of plaintiffs, defendants, and attorneys
  • Plaintiffs’ and defendants’ addresses
  • Date when the concerned parties were served
  • Hearing details
  • Fines and judgment details
A screenshot of an inmate's details from the King County Superior Court search feature lets the user view the summary, charges, participants, document list, events, and judgments of an inmate.
Source: King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office23

All other courts either require an in-person request using public access terminals or by submitting a public record request form. Additionally, the clerk of court in each county can assist in retrieving court records of all types.

Searchers can find the county clerk of court addresses and phone numbers below:

County Clerk of Courts Courthouse Address Phone Number
Adams County 210 W Broadway Ave, Ritzville, WA 99169 509-659-3257
Asotin County 135 2nd St, Asotin, WA 99402 509-243-2082
Benton County 7122 W Okanogan Pl, Bldg A, Kennewick, WA 99336-2359 509-736-3071
Chelan County 401 Washington St, Fl 5, Wenatchee, WA 98801-4197 509-667-6210
Clallam County 223 E 4th St, Ste 8, Port Angeles, WA 98362-3015 360-417-2386
Clark County 1200 Franklin St, Vancouver, WA 98660-2812 564-397-2150
Columbia County 341 E Main St, Ste 2, Dayton, WA 99328-1361 509-382-4321
Cowlitz County 312 SW 1st Ave, Fl 2, Kelso, WA 98626-1739 360-577-3085
Douglas County 203 S Rainier, Waterville, WA 98858 509-745-9063
Ferry County 350 E Delaware Ave, Republic, WA 99166-9747 509-684-7527
Franklin County 1016 N 4th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301-3706 509-736-3071
Garfield County 789 Main Street, Pomeroy, WA 99347 509-843-3731
Grant County 35 C St NW, Fl 2, Ephrata, WA 98823-1685 509-754-2011
Grays Harbor County 102 W Broadway Ave, Room 305, Montesano, WA 98563-3621 360-249-5311
Island County 101 NE 6th St, Fl 1, Coupeville, WA 98239 360-679-7361
Jefferson County 1820 Jefferson St, Port Townsend, WA 98368-0920 360-385-9395
King County 516 3rd Ave, Rm C-203, Seattle, WA 98104-2361 206-477-1400
Kitsap County 614 Division St, MS 24, Port Orchard, WA 98366-4683 360-337-7140
Kittitas County 205 W 5th Ave, Ste 207, Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887 509-962-7533
Klickitat County 205 S. Columbus Ave, Rm 206, Goldendale, WA 98620-9279 509-773-5755
Lewis County 345 W Main St, Fl 4, (W Main at Pacific), Chehalis, WA 98532-0336 360-740-1333
Lincoln County 450 Logan St, Davenport, WA 99122 509-725-3081
Mason County 419 N 4th St, Fl 2, Shelton, WA 98584-3419 360-427-9670
Okanogan County 149 3rd Ave N, Okanogan, WA 98840-1112 509-422-7130
Pacific County 300 Memorial Dr, South Bend, WA 98586 360-875-9328
Pend Oreille County 229 S Garden Ave, Newport, WA 99156 509-684-7527
Pierce County 930 Tacoma Ave S, Rm 334, Tacoma, WA 98402-2108 253-798-3654
San Juan County 350 Court St, #7, Friday Harbor, WA 98250-7901 360-378-2399
Skagit County 205 W Kincaid St, Rm 202, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-4225 360-416-1200
Skamania County 240 Vancouver Ave, Stevenson, WA 98648-6447 509-427-3765
Snohomish County 3000 Rockefeller Ave, MS 502, Everett, WA 98201-4046 425-388-3421
Spokane County 1116 W Broadway Ave, Spokane, WA 99260-0350 509-477-5790
Stevens County 215 S Oak St, Rm 209, Colville, WA 99114-2862 509-684-7527
Thurston County 2000 Lakeridge Dr SW, Bldg 2, Olympia, WA 98502-6001 360-786-5560
Wahkiakum County 64 Main St, Cathlamet, WA 98612 360-795-3558
Walla Walla County 315 W Main St, Fl 3, Walla Walla, WA 99362-2864 509-524-2790
Whatcom County 311 Grand Ave, Ste 301, Bellingham, WA 98225-4048 360-778-5560
Whitman County 400 N Main St, Colfax, WA 99111-2031 509-397-6244
Yakima County 128 N 2nd St, Rm 314, Yakima, WA 98901-2639 509-574-2710

For more details on finding local court cases, search portals, and contact details, interested parties can also search the web using the following steps:

  1. Google “[county name] county court records” (for example, “Adams County court records”).
  2. After scrolling past the sponsored results, find the court’s or county’s official website.
  3. Navigate to the Case Search page. If no such page exists, search for the Contact page instead to get the Clerk of Court’s contact information.
  4. Follow the instructions to search for the relevant cases.

Search Criminal Court Records Through Washington’s State Court

The Washington Courts9 website allows people to search for court cases and criminal charges at all levels of the judicial system with its Case Search tool, including municipal and district courts. This tool is the quickest way to find Washington criminal records for free.

A screenshot of the Washington Courts search tool searchers can utilize to determine if someone has a criminal record by searching an individual's name.
Source: Washington Courts24

There are three ways to find a particular case in Washington Courts:

  1. Case Search: To look up a case the searcher knows about. People can search for cases by name, case number, or business name. While first and last names are mandatory, information seekers can also narrow down their search by entering the following:
    • Court level
    • Court Name
    • Case type (civil, criminal, etc.)
    • Date of filing (does not have to be exact as the results will show all cases filed after that date)
  2. Person Search: To perform a search using only a person’s name. Searchers can utilize this option if they do not know any details about a case or need to determine if someone has a criminal record.
  3. Attorney Search: To find cases associated with a particular attorney. People can use this feature to look up attorneys they plan to hire. Searchers have to enter the attorney’s Bar Number, but they can also enter the date after which the case was filed and the number of days after the specified date to search (up to 90).

The website also provides the Washington State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals appellate court records.

Washington Courts only display the name of the person or business, the court name, the case number, and the filing date. People must use other portals like the Odyssey Portal below to access case details, but they can get started here.

View Criminal Proceedings Through the Superior Courts of Washington & the Odyssey Portal

The Odyssey Portal10 provides access to court records for 37 Washington state counties or superior courts, excluding King and Pierce counties. A search on the Odyssey Portal will generally show:

  • Case number and court name
  • Case type and status
  • Name of plaintiffs, attorneys, and defendants
  • Judgment details
  • Hearing dates and details
A screenshot of case information from Odyssey Portal provides access to court records for 37 Washington state counties or superior courts, excluding King and Pierce counties.
Source: Washington Courts25

Odyssey Portal has three search modes, depending on the information the searcher has:

  • Smart Search: Using case number or first/last name (make sure to enter the name in “Last, First Middle Suffix” format, like “Smith, John Edward Mr.”)
  • Hearings Search: Using court name, hearing type, search type (by name, courtroom, etc.), and dates
  • Judgment Search: For completed cases (using name and dates)

Find Criminal Records via the District & Municipal Courts

With a few exceptions, neither the district and municipal courts nor the WA Courts website provides case details of Washington criminal records online.

Those seeking the particulars of a case must complete a Public Records Request form available on the relevant court’s website. For courts without a website, searchers must contact them via phone or in person.

To find district and municipal Public Records Request forms:

  1. Google ” [district or municipality name] [county name] court records” (for example, “Othello District Adams County court records”).
  2. Navigate to the Public Records Request page.
  3. Email or mail the completed request to the court.

The Washington Courts website also provides a list of Municipal Courts and District Courts along with their websites, but searchers may have to contact WA Courts if their jurisdiction is not listed.

How To Obtain a Copy of Criminal Record Reports in WA

Thanks to the Washington State Criminal Records Privacy Act, people can request a copy of their or anyone else’s criminal records in WA. Copies can be obtained by visiting the relevant court or by requesting police reports from the Sheriff’s department.

However, the best way to check if someone has a criminal record in Washington is through the Washington State Patrol (WSP), which handles criminal records requests from every county, district, and municipality. This process is also known as a background check and will be detailed below.

How To Check if Someone Is on Probation or Parole in Washington State

If released from a county or city jail under supervisory conditions, a person is on probation. However, if they have been released from a federal or state prison, they are on parole.

Searchers must contact the relevant department or court to determine if someone is on probation in Washington or look up WA parolees. Inmate search tools for prisons and jails do not show inmates who have been released, so information seekers should submit a Public Records Request or contact the state agency for information.

Historical parole/probation records are available through criminal records searches, but that does not mean a person is currently on parole/probation. The Bureau of Prisons also provides information on people who went to federal prison but does not indicate their current parole status through its Inmate Search function.

A screenshot of the BOP inmate locator offered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where the user can obtain a parolee database to find a subject’s historical parole details at the federal level.
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons14

Parole: Since the parolee database is not publicly accessible, the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) advises people to contact them to find parole dates for formerly incarcerated persons. Searchers can reach out to the DOC:

Washington Dept. of Corrections
P.O. Box #41100, Mail Stop 41100
Olympia, Washington 98504

  • In Person:

Washington Dept. of Corrections
7345 Linderson Way Southwest

Tumwater, WA 98501-6504

Probation: People looking to conduct a probation search for free can contact the relevant county or district jail for information on people on probation. They can also contact the concerned court. The contact information for jails and courts is listed above.

Additionally, people can use the Washington Victim Notification Network (WA VINE) to sign up for notifications in case of any custodial changes.

Victims of certain crimes committed by inmates in state prisons can also fill out the Application for Advance Notification & Victim Services form to be informed by the DOC about any changes in custody.

How To Seal, Vacate or Expunge a Criminal Record in the State of Washington

Washington allows many juvenile records to be sealed, vacated, or expunged after the person becomes an adult. Adult records can also be sealed, but these processes differ for juvenile and adult offenses, and adult court records may remain public even if the conviction itself is sealed.

Sealing & Destroying WA Juvenile Criminal Records

Courts in Washington state hold sealing hearings regularly, and juveniles are assigned the first hearing after the predicted completion of their sentence or their eighteenth birthday.

However, juvenile records of sex and drug offenses cannot be administratively sealed. For these, the convicted person has to file a request with the court which delivered their judgment.11

The court will allow the records to be sealed if the person:

  • Has not committed another crime for five consecutive years in the case of Class A felonies (many types of murders and rapes) or 2 for Class B and C felonies, gross misdemeanors, and misdemeanors (second-degree manslaughter, for instance).
  • Has no court proceedings pending against them.
  • Did not commit first or second-degree rape.
  • Is no longer mandated to register as a sex offender.
  • Has paid restitution to the victim as ordered.

Juveniles may also request a deferred disposition or a postponed sentence, which the court can grant if they did not commit a violent offense or felony and have no previous deferred dispositions and no more than two adjudications (dispute resolutions by a mediator outside of court). These convictions with deferred dispositions can then be vacated.

Courts can also destroy or expunge juvenile records if the convict’s criminal record consists only of successful diversions (conditions they must follow to have charges dismissed) and has no pending restitution to pay.

Records approved for expunging are destroyed within 90 days, and all related records within 30 days of expungement.

Sealing & Expunging Adult Criminal Records (Washington)

Washington criminal records for adults cannot be destroyed.11 However, adult convictions can be vacated, i.e., dismissed after the fact if the case meets the eligibility criteria:

  • The crime was a misdemeanor and was not violent or sexual.
  • The crime did not include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The convict has completed their sentence and fulfilled all other requirements imposed by the court.
  • The crime is older than three years, and the person concerned has not committed any other crime since.
  • The convict does not have an order of protection, no-contact order, anti-harassment order, or a restraining order against them.
  • The person has not violated any previous restraining orders.

Once a conviction is vacated, the person can apply to seal the related records. However, the court will grant this request only if the risk to the person’s safety outweighs the necessity of public access to the record.

How To Locate Someone in a WA State or Federal Prison

The Washington DOC (Department of Corrections) operates 12 state prison facilities with over 13,000 inmates.12 The DOC allows anyone to search for current inmates across all 12 prisons through its online Inmate Search tool.13 Searchers can look up daily arrests by name (first or last) or their DOC number.

A screenshot of the Washington inmate search tool where the user can search an inmate by name or DOC number.
Source: Washington State Department of Corrections13

A typical inmate record on the people finder will show:

  • First and last name
  • DOC number
  • Current prison facility
  • Age

The DOC does not provide the inmate’s details online. Still, those seeking more information can contact them via telephone (360-725-8213) or email ([email protected]) for details like date of birth, parole and release dates, supervision conditions, etc.

For any other information, such as the crime committed by an inmate or their mugshot, searchers must submit a Public Records Request form online or by mail at:

Department of Corrections (DOC)
Public Records Office
PO BOX 41118
Olympia, WA 98504-1118

Searchers should include the name of the person whose records they need, the date of their request, and the specific records required.

People can call, mail, email, or visit their loved ones in state prison, but they must apply about 30 days before a visit. They must also know the inmate’s IPIN (Inmate Personal Identification Number) to place calls and can use JPay, Securus, Western Union, or cashier’s check/money order to send money.

Here are the addresses and contact information for each location:

Prison Address Phone Number
Airway Heights Corrections Center 11919 W. Sprague Avenue, Airway Heights, WA 99001-1899 509-244-6700
Cedar Creek Corrections Center 12200 Bordeaux Road, Littlerock, WA 98556-0037 360-359-4100
Clallam Bay Corrections Center 1830 Eagle Crest Way, Clallam Bay, WA 98326 360-203-1500
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center 1301 N Ephrata Ave, Connell, WA 99326 509-543-5800
Larch Corrections Center 15314 NE Dole Valley Road, Yacolt, WA 98675-9531 360-260-6300
Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women 3420 NE Sand Hill Road, Belfair, WA 98528 360-277-2400
Monroe Correctional Complex 16550 177th Avenue SE, Monroe, WA 98272 360-794-2600
Olympic Corrections Center 11235 Hoh Mainline, Forks, WA 98331 360-374-7000
Stafford Creek Corrections Center 191 Constantine Way, Aberdeen, WA 98520 360-537-1800
Washington Corrections Center 2321 West Dayton Airport Road, Shelton, WA 98584 360-426-4433
Washington Corrections Center for Women 9601 Bujacich Rd. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332-8300 265-858-4200
Washington State Penitentiary 1313 North 13th Avenue, Walla Walla, WA 99362 509-525-3610

For inmates in federal prison, searchers should use the Find an Inmate tool14 provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The tool allows people to search former and current arrests by name and characteristics (race, age, sex) or by BOP, FBI, DOC (Department of Corrections), and INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) number.

A typical BOP search will include a person’s:

  • Name
  • Register number
  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Release date
  • Location (“Released” if the person has been released from prison)
  • Release date
  • Mugshot (if available)
A screenshot of a federal inmate's information, where users of this free search resource can search by the subject’s name or BOP number if known.
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons14

There is no option to filter results by state to find only inmates who belong to the state of Washington, so searchers must ensure they have found the right person on their own.

If a loved one wants to contact someone in federal prison, they can call, email, mail, or visit them, though visits require prior approval. They can also transfer money to an inmate’s account through MoneyGram, Western Union, or USPS.

How To Check for Arrest Warrants in Washington State

The Washington DOC provides a centralized Warrant Search tool15 to look up warrants across all WA counties. Warrants remain private for 60 days from the date they are issued, after which they are posted publicly on the warrant list accessible through the portal.

A screenshot of the centralized warrant search tool where searchers can see if a person has a warrant out for their arrest by providing their name, DOC number, crime, or county.
Source: Washington State Department of Corrections15

Searchers can see if a person has a warrant out for their arrest by providing their name, DOC number, crime, or county. They can also look through all active warrants across Washington.

A warrant search will show a person’s:

  • Name
  • Photograph (if available)
  • DOC number
  • County
  • Crime
  • Date of issue
  • Age and date of birth
  • Appearance characteristics (height, weight, eye and hair color, race)

Alternatively, people can search the county’s Superior Court’s website for warrants with their Warrant Search tool or contact the court for more information with the table above.

An Overview of Background Checks in Washington

People might require a background check for employment, firearms, residency, or adoption applications and security clearance checks for government agencies.

These professional background checks involve verifying personal information and reducing risks by searching criminal records, education, credit history, and character (usually through social media).

State and federal laws limit what shows up on a professional background check and require consent from the person being investigated.

There are two primary types of background checks that an organization can request depending on its needs:

Level 1: A level 1 background check searches local records (state, county, city, etc.) by a person’s name or SSN and returns their local criminal and employment records. It is useful for checking a regular employee’s background.

Level 2: A level 2 check is much more in-depth and intensive as it checks a person’s criminal history nationally. It is extremely accurate since it uses a person’s fingerprints to deliver personal and criminal information.

The results include previous addresses, employers, marital status, credit history, educational and professional certifications, along with misdemeanors, felonies, pending criminal cases, civil judgments, arrests, sex crimes, and prison or jail records.

Level 2 checks are crucial for jobs that involve interacting with vulnerable groups like children and the elderly, healthcare jobs, and certain C-level positions.

Important Information for Employees & Employers

The WA Criminal Records Privacy Act makes conviction data publicly available, but non-conviction data remains private.16 The Washington State Patrol Identification & Criminal History Section (WASIS) also stores information about the person who requests the search, such as their name, the person they searched for, and the search date.

A name-based or fingerprint-based background check in Washington will show the following:

  • All previous convictions in WA, unless they are sealed, vacated, or expunged
  • WA arrests less than a year old which have not yet reached a disposition
  • Adverse or negative findings against the subject
  • Sex and Kidnap Offender Registry data

Agencies and laws such as the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) protect people’s privacy regarding fingerprint-based background checks and are detailed below.

How To Conduct a Level 1 Background Check in Washington by Name

The WASIS (Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section) hosts the Washington Access to Criminal History17 (WATCH) tool. Using this, a person can conduct an immediate Level 1 search based on a person’s name and date of birth.

However, this search will cost $11, payable by credit/debit card, regardless of whether it returns any results. Searchers will have to pay an additional $10 for the background check to be notarized and $32 if they want to receive it by mail.

Fingerprint-Based Background Check Process in Washington

For more accurate results, searchers can opt for a fingerprint-based search across the state of Washington.

This search will cost $58 and an additional $16 for a fingerprint collection service at the WSP Identification and Criminal History Section in Olympia and $10 for a notary seal. The cost of fingerprint services at local law enforcement agencies varies.

A Level 2 check, also known as a fingerprint background check, is carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and not a state agency, as the FBI has access to criminal records across all states. People cannot use the results of this check for employment purposes – the governmental agency employing them will have to make such a request.

To obtain an FBI background check or rap sheet, including national and Washington arrest records, applicants can request their Identity History Summary by following these steps:

FBI CJIS Division
1000 Custer Hollow Rd.
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306

  • Complete payment of $18 by credit card, PayPal, or Amazon Pay.
  • Save the confirmation email sent to the provided address to access the results.
  • Receive results via email (with a secure link) or USPS (First-Class Mail).

Fill out the Credit Card Payment Form if you are paying by credit card.

A screenshot of the credit card payment form the user must fill out if they are paying by credit card.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation26

How To Search the Registry for Sexual Offenders in Washington

The Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs (WASPC) maintains the Washington Sex Offender Public Registry (WASOR)18, including kidnap offenders.

A sex offender registry record will contain the offender’s:

  • Full name
  • Risk level (1, 2, or 3)
  • Photograph
  • Registration number
  • Physical description (age, height, eye color, race, etc.)
  • Current address
  • Compliance status
  • Offenses and their details
  • Probation conditions

People can search the registry in 3 ways:

  • In and around a particular area
  • By name
  • By city

The registry also hosts a list of non-compliant offenders. Alternatively, people can use the national sex offender registry to look up offenders.

A screenshot of the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) search tool where registered sex offenders in Washington can be searched nationally by the subject’s name or location (within a specified radius).
Source: Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website27

Still, it may be quicker to use the WA registry if they are looking for offenders within the state.

Understanding Your Privacy & Rights Regarding Criminal & Arrest Records Under Washington Laws

Despite free access to public records, several federal and state laws protect people’s right to privacy. On a federal level, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that checkers notify the subject before conducting a background check and specify what aspects, if any, led to the subject not being employed.19

Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employment discrimination based on protected characteristics like sex, race, age, etc., through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

There are other laws specific to the state that prevent discrimination based on criminal history and other characteristics:

Anyone can legally conduct a level 1 name-based background check for Washington criminal records; however, for jobs, licensing, housing, etc., people and businesses performing the screenings must ensure they abide by all federal and state laws when conducting a level 2 check for Washington arrest records and criminal records to ensure they’re not used in a discriminatory manner.


1Revised Code of Washington. (2023). Chapter 42.56 RCW: PUBLIC RECORDS ACT. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

2Office of the Code Reviser. (2019). Public Disclosure Exemptions [PDF]. RCW. Retrieved 05 11, 2023 <>


4King County. (2023). Subject Lookup · Custom Portal. DAJD Portal. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

5Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families. (2023). Washington Jails. Retrieved 05 11, 2023 <>

6Access Corrections. (2023). Create an Account. Access Corrections: The secure way to send funds and messages to your loved ones. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

7RCW. (2023). Chapter 10.97 RCW. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

8King County Superior Court. (2023). Case Search. King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

9Washington Courts. (2023). Name Search. Washington Courts. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

10Odyssey Portal. (2023). Smart Search. Odyssey Portal. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

11Washington Courts. (2021, June). Sealing and Destroying Court Records, Vacating Convictions, and Deleting Criminal History Records in Washington State [PDF]. Washington Courts. Retrieved 05 11, 2023 <>

12Washington DOC. (2023). Prison Facilities. Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

13Washington DOC. (2023). Inmate Search. Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

14Bureau of Prisons. (2023). BOP: Federal Inmates By Number. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

15Washington DOC. (2023). Warrant Search. Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

16WSP. (2023). WATCH Background Check. WATCH Overview – Washington State Patrol. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

17WSP. (2023). WATCH New Web User – Washington State Patrol. WSP WATCH. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

18WASIS. (2023). Washington Offender Search. Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

19Vedova, H. (2023). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

20Washington State AG. (2023). Fair Chance Act. Washington State Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

21Washington State. (2023). RCW. RCW 49.44.200: Personal social networking accounts—Restrictions on employer access—Definitions. Retrieved May 11, 2023 <>

22Motion for Access to Restricted Court Records (GR22(c)(2)). Washington Courts. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2023 <>

23Records Access Portal. (2023) King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2023 <>

24Person Search. (2023) Washington Courts. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2023 <>

25Odyssey Portal. (2023) Washington Courts. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2023 <>

26Credit Card Payment Form. (2023) Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2023 <>

27National Sex Offender Search. (2023) Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2023 <>