The District of Columbia's Freedom of Information Act states that any citizen may request any public document or report without giving any kind of explanation. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, including the access to law enforcement reports. This means that performing a criminal background check on the District of Columbia can be a complicated task.
The Arrest and Criminal History Section of the Metropolitan Police Department manages all criminal records in the District of Columbia. Any individual can ask for a Police Clearance -a certificate of clear police record- by mail or by visiting the Arrest and Criminal History Section in person. After the request is been made, the process can take about twenty four hours to be completed. If the subject of the report has any arrests or criminal offences on their records, the process can take longer. The requester must pay a fee of $7 and present a PD form 70 (Criminal History Request) and either a driver license, a non driver identification document or an original birth certificate together with a Social Security Card. Requests by mail must include information such as full name, date of birth and social security number. Mail requests must be notarized, and they must include a self addressed stamped envelope. These request may take a minimum of six weeks. The Metropolitan Police Department will not grant access to criminal records belonging to anyone but the requester. Learn more about the Arrest and Criminal History Section at their website.
The District of Columbia Courts offer a different way of performing criminal background checks. Their website has a case search engine that allows the user to look up their database. There, it is possible to find transcriptions of court cases, including the offences committed and the decisions of the court. The returned reports don't include pictures, physical descriptions, addresses or any sensible or relevant information on the offender. Check out the District of Columbia Courts' website to use their Court Cases Online search engine.
The Metropolitan Police Department is in charge of maintaining and managing the District of Columbia's sex offender registry. The Department's website features a very powerful and complete search engine, allowing the user to search by name, geographical location, specific address or even district. The results of the search are very precise, complete and specific. These reports include a lot of sensible information on the subject, giving a lot of useful data to the researcher. The reports include name of the subject, date of birth, physical description, home address, work address, nature of the offence committed, date of conviction, place of conviction, date of registration, date of registry verification and whether the offender is currently on "wanted" status or not. The disclaimer at the beginning of the report states that the information contained on the report may not be used to cause any prejudice to the offender. It also offers the option of requesting more information on the subject of the report by contacting the Sex Offender Registry Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department. Check out the sex offender registry of the District of Columbia by visiting the Metropolitan Police Department's website.