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Washington Public Records

The Washington State Public Records Act, found in Title 42, Chapter 42.56 of the Revised Code, states that each agency shall make available for public inspection all public records. A public record is considered any writing containing information relating to the conduct or performance of any state or local government agency.

Some exemptions mentioned in the Act include personal & private information about citizens, investigative files, personnel files, real estate appraisals, personal financial information, preliminary drafts by public agencies, library patron records, medical records, and security plans of law enforcement and government agencies.

Appearing below are those statewide resources we feel will be most useful to you.  You may also find databases from county and local areas by navigating to those pages through the drop-down tools in the margin.

  • Court Records - The Washington court system has four levels. At the first level are Municipal & District Courts. Municipal Courts serve cities & towns, and handle misdemeanors and municipal traffic & ordinance violations. District Courts serve counties and handle infractions, traffic violations, misdemeanors, small claims, and civil cases up to $75,000. Second level is the Superior Court, the court of general jurisdiction, which handles civil, felony, domestic relations & juvenile cases, and appeals from lower courts. Third is the Court of Appeals, which handles appeals from lower courts, except those appealed directly to the Supreme Court. Fourth is the Washington Supreme Court, which hears appeals from the Court of Appeals, and direct appeals from the lower courts, such as death penalty convictions.  Washington Court Records
  • Criminal Records - Municipal & District Courts handle ordinance violations, traffic violations, and misdemeanors. Superior Courts handle felony cases. Washington makes statewide District and Municipal criminal court records accessible online.  To search those resources, go to our Washington Criminal Records page.
  • Vital Records – Certificates for births, deaths, marriages and divorces are provided by: Washington Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics, P.O. Box 9709, Olympia, WA 98507-9709, (360) 236-4300 Info, (360) 236-4313 orders, Fax: (360) 352-2586.  Visit our Vital Records page to access historical state birth indexes, historical birth records from available counties; the Social Security Death Index for Washington; historical statewide death certificates; death, cemetery & obituary records from available cities & counties; historical statewide marriages; marriage databases from available counties; and statewide divorce court records.

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