March 28, 2023, 8:52 am
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General Information On Pennsylvania Criminal Records
In the state of Pennsylvania, criminal records are available for searching, but this information is not available to everyone. The state does not have an official open records law. This means that some information remains protected by the state and is only accessible by the law enforcement officials, court officials or other authorized personnel. For those who wish to learn the criminal history of an individual, there are several things to keep in mind prior to trying to access this information.
The state does track the criminal actions of individuals and records these in a file based on the individual's name and other identifying information. Most criminal records in the state are fingerprint based, though name-based searches are also available. The criminal record is established when an individual commits a crime, not before. Most people in the state, then, who do not have a criminal background will not have a file on hand. To access this information, as much information as possible about the individual must be available, including the full legal name of the individual, date of birth, permanent resident address and Social Security numbers.
The Pennsylvania State Police are charged with creating and maintaining criminal records within the state. The agency does this at any local law enforcement agency. If there is a need to open a record, the jurisdiction in which the illegal action took place will be charged with creating the file. The Pennsylvania State Police then maintain those records in the State Central Repository. The Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History, or PATCH system, is used to manage the criminal records of those in the state. This web-based system allows both registered and non-registered users to access the information contained on it. However, there are some restrictions on how can access this information.
Most citizens can only access the information through a name-based search. Law enforcement officers are able to use a fingerprint based scan to access information that is more accurate on the individual. In order to request access to this database, individuals should contact the following address:
Pennsylvania State Police
Bureau of Records and Identification
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17110
It is possible to make this type of request over the phone as well. To do so, call 717 783-5556 and follow the prompts provided for access. There is a fee of $10 per name run through the search. If an individual wishes to obtain a fingerprint scan, especially for him or herself, this can be done at a local law enforcement agency.
The information available through Pennsylvania criminal records searches will differ significantly from one person to the next. Keep in mind that no data on individuals under the age of 18 will be a part of this database in terms of being accessible to the public. Information regarding sealed records must come from a court order, in which a judge approves the opening of the file. Most other criminal records are searchable within the state by the general public and area businesses for business related needs.
Pennsylvania Criminal Records
  • Attorney General

    Strawberry Square, 16th Floor
    Harrisburg, PA 17120
    p (717) 787-3391
    f (717) 787-8242
  • Criminal Records

    Central Repository -164
    1800 Elmerton Ave
    Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758
    p (717) 783-5494
    f (717) 772-3681
  • Incarceration Records

    Bureau of Inmate Services
    PO Box 598
    Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598
    p (717) 730-2721
    f (717) 731-7159
  • Sexual Offender Registry

    Megan's Law Unit
    1800 Elmerton Ave
    Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758
    p (717) 783-4363
    f (717) 705-8839

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