Archives and Records Retention
Pursuant to the Code of Virginia, §16.1- 69.55, the Fairfax County General District Court currently retains case records for a period of ten years from the date of judgment or conviction. (Note: criminal sexual offense convictions must now be retained for a period of 50 years from the date of conviction.) Due to a limited amount of space, many General District Court case records are not available in the Fairfax County Courthouse. Instead, they are stored off-site at County Archives, which is located at 6800 Industrial Road, Springfield, Virginia 22151. The Civil/Small Claims Division currently retains approximately seven years of case files in-house, while the Criminal and Traffic Divisions are only able to maintain about three years of records within their offices. Exceptions include driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions, which are stored in the Traffic Clerk's Office for the entire ten-year retention period, and sexual offenses, which are stored in the Criminal Clerk's Office for the fifty-year retention period.
Archives may be reached by calling 703-658-3875. To request a copy of a court record stored at Archives, you must first call the appropriate Clerk's Office in the General District Court to obtain the Accession Number and Box Number for the specific case. These numbers are assigned based on the conviction or trial date for criminal and traffic cases and on the case docket number for civil and small claims cases. Providing the clerk with this information will help expedite the search for these numbers, which must be provided to Archives.
In accordance with law, at the end of the ten-year retention period, General District Court records and indices are destroyed. Case records on civil and small claims cases that have been dismissed are destroyed following the yearly audit. If a civil judgment remains unsatisfied, it may be extended by docketing an abstract of the judgment in the Circuit Court. This must be done within the ten-year period from the date the judgment was entered in the General District Court.
It is possible that a criminal history of convictions involving criminal and traffic cases that have been destroyed by the Court may still be obtained through the Central Records Division of the Fairfax County Police Department. Central Records is located at 10600 Page Avenue in the City of Fairfax, directly behind the Massey Building and Garage A in the Public Safety Complex. Criminal history record checks cost $10.00 and must be requested in person between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Two forms of identification are required, one of which must be a photo ID. For additional information, call Central Records at 703-246-2272.