Pennsylvania Criminal Records Search

How to Check for Pennsylvania Criminal Records

The Pennsylvania State Police has set up a designated website application for the general public where they can request copies of someone’s criminal records. Their system is called Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History (PATCH). Of all the searches, 85% come back with no match. You can also request a copy through the mail, and they have a downloadable form for you to use. It will cost you $22 per record. You may have your copies notarized for an additional $5 each.

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Federal Records vs. Court Criminal Records in Pennsylvania

You may use either The Pennsylvania Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) or Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) to access someone’s federal criminal records online. You can search using their name and date of birth. If you need to access local district court records, you can use the district court’s website or visit them in person to request copies. You will have to pay a fee and wait for your files. You can also use the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Web Portal system.

 

How Long do Felony or Misdemeanor Charges Last?

Pennsylvania’s laws dictate that any misdemeanor or felony charges stay on your record until you are 70 years old. At that time, if you have been crime-free for at least ten years, you can then apply for them to be expunged. This means if you commit a crime when you are young, that record will follow you most of your life. For summary convictions, you can apply after only five years to get the records expunged.

 

Who Can Lookup your Criminal Background?

Anyone with access to a computer can use the PACER or the CM/ECF system to look up your criminal background. They can also request one through the mail. If they choose, they may use a third-party service to find out if you have a criminal history.

 

Why Check Someone’s Filed Criminal Charges?

Before you start dating someone new, it might be a good idea to check on his or her criminal history. It’s so easy to do; it makes sense. Private companies use them for security clearances. Tenants often use them before renting property, and government agencies use them before selling firearms or issuing licenses.

 

Types of Criminal Records

The types of criminal records you will find in a background check are felonies, misdemeanors, driving infractions, drug charges, sex offenses, charges, sentencing, prison stays, and police reports. You will also get to see fingerprints, mug shots and physical descriptors like tattoos and scars. General information like name, address, phone, age, and date of birth will also be included.

 

How Are PA Criminal Records Created?

Pennsylvania criminal records are created whenever you are arrested, searched, detained, put in jail, sent to prison, sentenced with a punishment, appear at your hearing, show up to court and any other event that pertains to your crime. These documents make up your criminal history and are what someone will see when they do a background check on you.