Pennsylvania Public Records
The government of Pennsylvania has long made provisions for granting access to its records. The public can access and copy many of the state’s records.
Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law gives individuals the constitutional right to access, copy and see the public records of the state of Pennsylvania. You don’t have to disclose the purpose for requesting the information. The general public can request public records from all judicial, legislative, commonwealth and local agencies. Records from state offices, schools, state boards and authorities can also be requested. The documents classified as public records include any sound recording, map, photograph, book, tape, electric data or film received, created or retained with a business transaction or activity with a state agency.
Pennsylvania Criminal Records
The requests for Pennsylvania criminal history checks are processed and supervised by the Pennsylvania State Police. The PATCH (Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History) tool, which is a database that is preserved by the Pennsylvania State Police, is generally searchable by both non-registered and registered users. You will have to pay a non-refundable fee for every search. The website’s customers are charged for duplicate submissions, misspellings or user errors.
The search results typically include all charges with an existing pending warrant issued, all past convictions as well as all charges and arrest records that are not older than 3 years from the arrest date. You can find the database on The PATCH tool webpage of the website of the Pennsylvania State Police.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections preserves arrest records as well as inmate and jail records and also makes them available to the general public through an online database that can easily be searched. You can search the database by first name, last name, inmate number, sex, race, date of birth and location. The record found will state the inmate’s name, date of birth, race, complexion, citizenship, housing location and height. You can find the database on the official website of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. You can check the Pennsylvania’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile for more information about Pennsylvania’s inmate and jail records.
Pennsylvania Court Records
The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania oversees and distributes Pennsylvania Court Records. You can search online for information regarding individual court case for free. These searches typically contain information about civil cases, traffic cases, criminal cases, landlord-tenant cases, and non-traffic cases. For you to search for the court records, go to the web portal of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Vital Records
Pennsylvania Vital Records include death and birth records that have been preserved since 1906. The records are maintained and distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. For you to gain access to these records, your name must be on the certificate, or you must be a legal guardian or an immediate family member, and you must be 18 years or older. Immediate family members, those with the Power of Attorney and the legal representative of the estate of the decedent are eligible to request for death certificates.
- Birth records: The state of Pennsylvania did not enact a statewide registration of births until 1906 and full compliance was achieved by 1915. While birth registration was never required before this time, some birth registration catalogs actually occurred from 1851 to 1855 in clerk and county offices. You can obtain birth records from 1906 to 1910 from Pennsylvania State Archives. You are only allowed to view copies of birth records and not obtain them unless they are older than 105 years.
- Death records: The law requiring registration of birth in Pennsylvania was signed in 1906. Before this time, death records in the state were recorded in county, city and town offices. The state required deaths to be recorded from 1851-1855 in the county where the death had occurred. All deaths from 1906 to 1965 are maintained by the Pennsylvania State Archives. You can only get copies of death records that are already 50 years old. Otherwise, you are only allowed to view the records.
- Marriage records: There were few marriage records prior to 1885 and you can send your request to the Marriage License Clerk at the particular courthouse where the event took place for you to obtain these records. Most counties began registering for marriages in October 1885.
- Divorce records: Divorce proceedings exist even before 1885. These records are available at the Marriage License Clerk at the appropriate courthouse.
The government of Pennsylvania considers state records as public property and it does have clear provisions for granting the public access to these records. Follow the appropriate procedure to obtain the information you need.
Pennsylvania state court system
Understanding how the system of Pennsylvania state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.
Pennsylvania Courts Overview
To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Pennsylvania by simply going to courts by county.
The trial court system of Pennsylvania State consists of Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Philadelphia Municipal Court, Magistrate District Courts, and Courts of Common Pleas.
Courts of Common Pleas
Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas have general jurisdiction to handle all types of cases, but typically handle only those cases that other courts have no jurisdiction over.
Criminal cases generally handled by these courts include lesser-included offenses and felonies. Civil cases handled by these courts include general civil claims of any disputed amount. Besides, they also handle delayed birth certificates, adoptions, juvenile matters, domestic relations, some arbitration reviews and appeals of decisions from some administrative agencies.
All Court of Common Pleas have Orphans’ Court divisions for handling estates, termination of parental rights, trusts, guardianships, adoptions, wills and trusts. They may also have a Domestic Relations Section and a Family Court than hears spousal and child support and other related matters.
They may also exercise jurisdiction over certain types of cases that are beyond the jurisdiction limit of traffic courts and municipal courts. This is true with the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, which also share jurisdiction to handle small claims cases.
Magistrate District Courts
Pennsylvania Magistrate District Courts have general jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases.
Criminal cases typically handled by these courts include certain DUI cases, most preliminary hearings, most summery offenses, some ordinance violations, and certain third-degree misdemeanors.
Civil cases typically handled by these courts include some general civil claims of specified financial limits and certain landlord-tenant cases. These courts cannot handle cases against or brought by the State.
Philadelphia Municipal Court
This court has limited jurisdiction to handle certain types of traffic, criminal, and civil cases within the territorial borders of the County and city of Philadelphia.
Criminal case heard by the Philadelphia Municipal Court include most summery offenses, preliminary hearings, some motor vehicle offenses, and offenses that have potential punishment of less than 5 years of incarceration. It doesn’t offer jury trials. However, it may conduct a jury trial if a request is made and granted for a new trial.
Civil case heard by this court include certain local tax matters that involve less than $15,000, breech of contracts, landlord-tenant cases, actions to stop certain nuisances, and some general civil claims with less than $10,000.
The Philadelphia Municipal Court shares limited jurisdiction with the Court of Common Pleas.
Pittsburg Municipal Court
This court hears certain types of traffic, criminal and housing cases. Criminal cases generally handled by this court include traffic offenses, summery offenses, violations of certain city ordinances, and preliminary hearings for all criminal cases that take place in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Municipal Court can also hear cases for Emergency Protection.
The Official Website of Pennsylvania County
Philadelphia City of Philadelphia Official website of the City of Philadelphia, includes information on municipal services, permits, licenses, and records for citizens and businesses.
Pittsburgh City of Pittsburgh – Announcements, Special Events, Press Releases, City Permits, Careers, Pay your taxes, view Burgh’s Eye View and more!
Allentown City of Allentown – PA – Official Site
Erie Erie, PA – A Community of Choice
Reading City of Reading, Pennsylvania
Scranton Scranton, Pennsylvania – Licensing, Inspections & Permits
Bethlehem City of Bethlehem
Lancaster City of Lancaster
Bensalem Bensalem Township Bensalem Township Municipal Government
Harrisburg HarrisburgPA.gov | The official website for the City of Harrisburg View the latest news and updates from the City of Harrisburg. Find documents, browse careers or request support services for various city resources.
Altoona City of Altoona
York City of York, Pennsylvania
Williamsport City of Williamsport – The Birthplace of Little League Baseball
Easton Welcome to the City of Easton – Northampton County, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia County Official Website of the Philadelphia City Commissioners The Philadelphia City Commissioners are a three member bipartisan board of elected officials in charge of elections and voter registration for the City of Philadelphia.
Allegheny County Allegheny County | Always Inspiring Elite Video Player
Montgomery County Montgomery County, PA – Official Website
Bucks County The Official Site of Bucks County
Delaware County Delaware County PA
Lancaster County Lancaster County, PA – Official Website
Chester County Chester County, PA – Official Website
York County York County, Pennsylvania Quick & easy access to information about York County, Pa. agencies, programs and services. General hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Berks County Berks County
Westmoreland County Westmoreland County, PA – Official Website
Lehigh Countyt Lehigh County
Luzerne County Luzerne County, PA | Official Website
Northampton County Northampton County
Erie County Erie County Pennsylvania Official site of Erie County, PA government. Includes property assessment information, online jury summons, and a directory of elected officials and…
Dauphin County Welcome to Dauphin County, PA Welcome to Dauphin County, PA
Cumberland County Cumberland County, PA – Official Website Cumberland County, Pennsylvania official website for county government information, news and events
Lackawanna County Lackawanna County
Washington County Washington County, PA – Official Website
Butler County Butler County, PA 3
Beaver County Beaver County Official Site
Monroe County Monroe County
Centre County Centre County, PA – Official Website
Franklin County Franklin County, PA
Schuylkill County Schuylkill County Government
Cambria County Cambria County PA
Pennsylvania Arrests and Inmate Search
Jail | Home | Allegheny County Allegheny County Jail
Welcome to Berks County Jail System Berks County Inmate Locator
Corrections Bucks County Inmate Lookup
Correctional Facility Inmate Listing – Centre County Government Centre County Jail Inmate Search
Crawford County Inmate Lists Crawford County Inmate Search
Greene County Inmate Search The Official Site for Greene County Pennsylvania, located in the southwest corner of the state with West Virginia to the South and West, Fayette County to the East and Washington County to the North. Greene County is rich in natural resources and strategically located between Morgantown and Pittsburgh on Interstate 79.
Indiana County Jail – Indiana County Pennsylvania The mission of the Indiana County Jail is to safely, securely, and humanely detain persons arrested and held during adjudication…
Who’s In Jail? | Lancaster County, PA – Official Website Lancaster County Inmate Search
Lycoming County Inmate Search Lycoming County Prison Inmates
Mercer County Jail Population Report Mercer County Jail Report
Northhampton County Inmate Search Northhampton County Inmate Search
Inmate Search – Washington County Washington County Jail Search
Northhampton County Inmate Search Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Pennsylvania State Police Requesting a Criminal History Record
Public Records | Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Public Records Search
Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System UJS web portal
Megan’s Law Public Application PA Megan’s Law Sex Offender Search