California Criminal Records: How to Check and Search Criminal Records in California
In the State of California, the California Department of Justice or DOJ maintains a state-wide criminal history repository. The police, sheriff, district attorney offices, probation departments, and courts submit any arrests and their related disposition details to the DOJ. This information is compiled into records of arrests and prosecutions, also called “RAP sheets”. They are positively identifiable biometrically and more specifically through fingerprint submissions.
Your criminal history is an official document which has a record of all your arrests and prosecutions. This information is put together and updated through the state, county, and local jurisdictions, trial courts, state correctional facilities, and the court of appeals. California criminal records can be found online through police departments, courts, and the California State Records Online Database.
What will you find on your California Criminal Record?
Your criminal history will include the following:
- California Arrest Records
- California Arrest Warrants
- California Misdemeanors
- California Felonies
- California Serious Traffic Violations
- California Sex Offender Listing
- California Conviction Records
- California Parole Information
- California Jail and Inmate Records
- California Probation Records
How do your Access your California Criminal Record?
Access to your criminal record is maintained by the Department of Justice. Even though it is legally restricted for law enforcement purposes, you have the right to access a copy of your criminal history. You may also review this record for its accuracy and completeness. In case there are issues, you can submit a request to review to the DOJ. Third-party requests are not authorized. In addition, criminal records for an individual cannot be requested for the purposes of Immigration, or Visa, or other foreign national transactions.
To receive a copy of your California criminal history record, follow these steps:
- You are required to submit a Live Scan fingerprint via the Live Scan Form BCIA 8016RR
- Select ‘Record Review’ as the ‘Type of Application’
- Write ‘Record Review’ under ‘ Reason for Application’
- Complete all your personal details
- Take this form to any Live Scan location for fingerprinting services
Fingerprinting services may be accessed at sheriff’s offices, local police departments, or public applicant Live Scan site.
- After submitting your fingerprint images, you will be required to pay a $25 fee to the DOJ. This can be paid via multiple payment methods. You may be eligible for a fee waiver. However, you must apply for it by submitting a Fee Waiver form.
If you live outside of California, you must submit a manual fingerprint card by completing Form FD258.
- Print out Form BCIA 8705 and complete it. Follow all instructions listed on this form.
- Contact local law enforcement personnel for their fingerprinting location, services, etc.
- Your fingerprint card must contain complete information, i.e. full name, sex, date of birth, return mailing address, etc.
- Submit your form with a personal check from a U.S. bank, certified check or money order. The money order or check should be payable to the “California Department of Justice”.
- Once your application, fingerprint card, and fee are amassed, mail these to the following address:
California Department of Justice
Record Review Unit
P.O. Box 903417
Sacramento, CA 94203-4170
What Happens After You Receive a Copy of Your Criminal Record?
If after receiving a copy of your records, you feel something is incomplete or inaccurate, you must fill out and submit a “Claim of Alleged Inaccuracy or Incompleteness” form or BCIA 8706. This form will be sent along with your record review response and copy for your criminal record.
California Online Criminal Records Search
These days, there is more than one way to search California criminal records. So, if you want to find information about people in the state, you do not have to do so by contacting law enforcement agencies. Instead, you can use an online directory that can help you track down criminal records of people in the state of California.
To perform the search, you need to provide the full name, phone number, email address, or physical address of the person you want to know more about. Once the directory has this data, it will begin to scan California public records in search of the said person's criminal records. At the end of the query, you will get a report about the person you are looking for, and in that report, you will be able to see all the California criminal records and criminal data having to do with the person you are looking for.