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Virginia Public Records

The Virginia Public Records Act, found in Chapter 7, Section 42.1, established uniform procedures across the Commonwealth for the maintenance and availability of public records. The Act defines public records as recorded information in any medium documenting a transaction or activity involving a public officer or agency in the transaction of public business.

Restricted records can include personnel records, records protected by attorney-client privilege, tests and examinations, computer software, property appraisals, personal private information, security systems data, scholastic records, and medical records.

This page is devoted to statewide databases in Virginia.  More resources are available via the left menu, such as licenses, city records, and county records.

  • Court System - The Virginia court system has four levels. First are District Courts. General District Courts handle ordinance & traffic violations, misdemeanors, civil cases to $25K, and small claims cases. Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Courts handle matters involving children, parents, and spouses. Both types of courts can appoint Magistrates to handle certain matters. At the second level are Circuit Courts, the trial courts of general jurisdiction. They handle civil cases, divorces, adoptions, probate matters, felonies, and misdemeanor appeals. At the third level is the Court of Appeals, which reviews decisions by the lower courts. At the fourth level is the Supreme Court, which has discretionary review of Court of Appeals cases, and reviews all death penalty cases.  Virginia Court Records
  • Criminal Records - Traffic & ordinance violations, and misdemeanors are handled by the General District Courts. Felonies are handled by the Circuit Courts.  For access to these databases, go to our Virginia Criminal Records page.
  • Vital Records – Order copies of birth, death, marriage & divorce certificates from the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, P.O. Box 1000, Richmond, VA 23218, (804) 662-6200.  Visit our Vital Records page to review the Social Security Death Index for Virginia; historical statewide death indexes; death, cemetery, and obituary records from available cities & counties; historical statewide marriages, marriage notices from newspapers, Virginia Beach marriages; and divorce court record databases. We have not yet located any birth record databases online for Virginia. For information about ordering birth certificates, call the number listed above.

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