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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Rights and Responsibilities

Effective July 1, 2013 – FOIA Requests for Accident/Crash Reports (FR300) Must be Submitted to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. As of this date, VA State Police will no longer provide Virginia accident reports (FR300).

Your FOIA Rights | Making a Request | Department's Responsibilities in Responding | Costs | Common Exemptions to FOIA Requests | Freedom of Information Advisory Council

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 ( et. seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.

A public record is any writing or recording regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption or other law applies to those records.

The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.

Your FOIA Rights 

Making a Request for Records from the Department of State Police  

Where to Send A FOIA Request or Questions Regarding FOIA:

Virginia State Police
Criminal Justice Information Services
P. O. Box 27472
Richmond, VA 23261-7472

FOIA Officer: First Sergeant David L. Ostwinkle
Telephone: 804-674-2642

Fax:  804-674-2345

Additional Resource for Questions: 

The Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA.  The Council may be contacted by e-mail at, or by phone at (804) 698-1810 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.

The Department's Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request 


A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.

Note: As stated above, you may request that the Department estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested.  This estimate will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.

If the Department estimates that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, the Department may require you to pay a deposit before proceeding with your request.

Common Exemptions to FOIA Requests

The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure.  The Department commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:

The following frequently requested records are governed by the following statutes: