State of California Most Updated Public and Criminal Records Portal


California Public Records Search

California takes great strides in protecting individuals' privacy, operating within enacted state laws and federal statutes, the state has imposed amongst the toughest restrictions to public records in the United States. California Department of Justice provides background checks for employers, professional certification or licenses, temporary VISA or immigration purposes and foreign adoptions or yourself only. Obtaining records from individual departments may be a better method. Court clerks in the county where the criminal case is filed can provide copies of their files unless sealed by court order. A directory of California's major public records custodians allows anyone to see available channels to obtain copies, certificates, files and any other form of information granted by law. About California Public Records

California Public Records and Court Information

California, "The Golden State" obtained statehood on September 9, 1850. It is the third largest state in the country at 158,706 square miles with the largest state population. The state motto is the Greek word "Eureka" meaning "I have found it". It has appeared on the state seal since 1849. The state seal was designed by US Army Major R.S. Garnett. The seal depicts the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva with a grizzly bear and a cluster of grapes at her feet. A miner working near the Sacramento River with the Sierra Nevada peaks above. At the edge of the seal are 31 stars for the 31 states at California's time of admission. In much the same way that Minerva sprung full grown from the head of Jupiter, California became a state without having to go through a territorial stage. California has an array of state symbols including the State Animal which is the California Grizzly Bear. Also designated to symbolize this beautiful state are the State Colors of blue and gold and state flower the Golden Poppy. California was the first state to designate an official state rock in 1965, Serpentine. In 1985 California was the first to designate a State Prehistoric Artifact. A chipped stone bear discovered at an archaeological dig in San Diego County. Other symbols are the State Bird (the California Valley Quail), Tree (California Redwood), Mineral (Gold) and Fossil (Saber-toothed Cat). The official State Song is "I Love You California" written by Los Angeles merchant F.B. Silverwood. In the contiguous (lower) 48 states, the highest point is California's Mt. Whitney, at 14,495 feet and is less than 100 miles from Death Valley California, the lowest point in North America. The capitol of California is Sacramento. Sacramento became the state's capital city in 1854, four years after California was admitted into the Union. There were three capitols previous to Sacramento. San Jose, Vallejo and Benicia.

California's government includes the Governor as well as 80 Assembly Members and 40 Senators. There are 58 counties in California containing 481 incorporated cities and towns.  Basic provisions for the government of California counties are contained in the California Constitution and the California Government Code. The fundamental difference between cities and counties in California are that counties lack broad powers of self-government that cities have. Additionally legislative control over counties is more complete than it is over cities. There are two types of counties in California. General law counties which adhere to state law as to the number and duties of county elected officials. And Charter counties which have a limited degree of "home rule" authority that may provide for the election, compensation, terms, removal, and salary of the governing board.

Freedom of information in California is controlled by Constitutional, legislative, and judicial rules. Proposition 59, commonly known as the Sunshine Amendment added to the California constitution that the people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny. State law enforcement is provided by the California Highway Patrol which allows access to the statewide integrated traffic system reports as well as collision reports and statistics on drunk driving and fatalities. Individual county sheriffs offices provide such records as crime reports, inmate information and wanted persons. Public records such as birth, death and marriage certificates may be obtained from each counties recorder/clerk.

Criminal records can be obtained from several public sources in California with various policies to service requests. Employers can access the automated service from the California Department of Justice to conduct background checks online. Individuals can also request a self background check. Separate law enforcement agencies provide incident and police reports.

Background Information. Personal information is needed for identification, verification, passports and instances where official documentation is required. California's department of Public Health issues certified authorized and informational copies online to the public. Certain employers require applicants to provide a driving record which can be requested directly from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.            

Court self help services help the general public and attorneys directly access records from all 58 county superior courts. Case information is offered by court clerks with services to obtain copies of filings. Online calendar of upcoming cases, party names and division details where trials are held are available from Appellate to lower courts. The PACER system is a Bankruptcy public case access system operating separately from other court services.

California Statewide Public Records

  • California Criminal History Records

    Find out how to obtain criminal history records from the state of California. Get detailed criminal background searches using law enforcement and official information.

    • California Criminal Self Service Center
      How to see or get a copy of records from criminal cases.
    • California Department of Justice Background Checks
      Background criminal record searches of individuals as a pre-employment requirement, fingerprinting, foreign adoptions, licensing, certification, condition of residency and more. Online criminal history checks, applicant fingerprinting and processing costs. Access an automated telephone system to find out about your submissions. Conduct a search of your own criminal history and see records that are available for public viewing.
    • California Inmate Locator
      Locate inmates held in California correctional facilities. Obtain an inmate's contact information including the current facility and location where the prisoner is held. Research statistical information about parolees and inmates. View reports about prisoners in custody of the state penal system and see current data of jail populations supervised by the state's DOC.
    • California Sex Offenders
      Information provided by criminal justice departments and local police agencies. Daily updated list of persons required to register in California as sex offenders. View detailed profiles on all registrants. Publication directory of reports to legislators regarding California's Megan's law.
    • California Wanted Alerts
      Search for fugitives wanted by the California department of Corrections. The state's wanted person's online database to the public will show photo, age, physical description, offense, bulletins, warrant date and crime information.
    • California Criminal History Request and Review
      Information of arrests and convictions in California
    • California Criminal Record Expungements
      Information and resources to assist in expunging criminal records state and nationwide.
  • California Arrest Records

    Access arrest records directly from California law enforcement agencies individually. Request information of incidents, charges and details from state and local police departments. Records division contact information and requirements to order official reports.

  • California Asset Search

    Search government agencies open to the public to find assets of companies, corporations, or individuals.

    • California Property Records
      Obtain property tax info by contacting the county assessor.
    • Individual and Business Unclaimed Property Search
      Database of unclaimed property reported by various financial institutions, insurance companies, corporations and associations. Search can be conducted by individual owner's name, business name, government entity or property. Query results show owner's name, reported owner name, type of property, cash reported and the entity that reported the unclaimed property.
    • California Business, Corporation, LLC and LLP Search
      Information for corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships of record with the California Secretary of State
    • California Professional Licenses
      Look up and verify professional licenses.
    • California Official Document Search by Agency
      Search Records By individual agencies throughout the state of California. Open access to California state clerks, offices and public services, forms and instructions to procedures when requesting official and un-official documents.
    • California Business Filings By Name
      Search Corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership names and foreign name registrations
    • State of California Professional License Online Verification
      Search all professions in California from accountants to vocational nurses and view status of an individual's or firm's licenses by name. Additional background of licensee's information, education, years in practice, past disciplinary actions taken by the state, bonds or other detailed data required by the state can be viewed online. Look up entities required to file for permits when conducting a business in the state.
    • California Secretary of State Archives
      Local and state government recorded historic events. Records are compiled by state agencies, state Supreme and Appellate Courts, state legislature and governor. Historical investigation supported by documents for researchers. See the state's resources and research room access.
  • California People Search by Universities

  • Other California Popular Public Records Searches

    • Obtaining Certified Copies of Death Records
      Online resource for requesting California death records.
    • California Death Records Registrar All Counties
      Local county registrar recorder of deaths
    • California Death Row
      Information from a non-profit resource about California death row inmates.
    • California Vital Records
      Request birth and death certificates, marriage records and divorce filings in California.
    • California DMV Records
      Access online forms from the state DMV to request a drivers license, complete registration and more.
    • California Genealogy Records
      Conduct an online search of historical data and event occurring in the state of California. Find documents by keyword, phrase or question to obtain data of people, cities, towns and biographies. See the history using a free and open to the public database.
    • California Lawyer Lookup
      Search the state bar of California list of lawyers and find profile information of education background , disciplinary actions and available details of any pending actions affecting eligibility to practice law in the state, administrative actions, date of admission to the state bar, status history, dates and changes.
    • California Missing Persons
      Search the state database of missing people my name, location, suspects, and more.
    • California Missing and Exploited Children
      National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides a comprehensive statewide and national list of family abductions, missing, endangered and runaway minors. Online profile of the missing show original and age processed photo, written physical description. age, missing from location and date. Conduct a search of California and the entire United States.
    • California Digital Newspaper Search
      Freely accessible repository of digitized California newspapers from 1846 to the present of 59,769 issues comprising 533,076 pages and 6,224,759 articles. Conduct a search by title or date. All results are instant and without cost.
    • California Public and Private School Directory
      Listings of all state schools, public and private, nonpublic nonsectarian schools, school districts and education county offices statewide. Information available includes detailed current data, statistics and staff of a particular school accredited in California. Services for parents students when selecting a school in a new neighborhood. Look up administrators of the school, email addresses and other contact information.
    • California State University Directories
      Find a campus in the state university system. Information of 23 campuses, locate and find any of the 44 thousand faculty members, admissions, state and international student programs, tuition, fees and California university administration. Guidance regarding individual programs such as getting multiple subject teaching credentials.
    • University of California Campuses and System
      Find any of the 10 UC schools across the state. Find out details about admissions and help with getting started. Transfer information and graduate programs for students. Look up academic programs and calendars, research opportunities for undergraduates, sessions and fees for new students, housing, libraries and resources for parents of attendees.
    • California Teacher's Credentials and Certificates
      Look up an educator with credentials to teach in California. Official commission on teacher credentialing provides a free web search service to parents and residents for verification and requirements of an educator. Reports include name, last known county of employment, status, issue date, renewal, employment restrictions, adverse and commission actions.
    • Escrow Agents Disciplinary Actions Background Search
      View a list of persons that have been disciplined and suspended or barred under the Financial Code by the Department of Corporations from January 1, 1991 to present. Results of searches will show the individual's name, date and a brief description of restrictions, revocations and duration of suspension.
    • California Secretary of State Elections and Voter Information
      Look up voter registrations statewide. Find information for both state and local ballots, polling locations in your area, data about new voting systems, election results, voting districts across California, laws pertaining to voting and elections. Find a state representative by location, city or district and view the official's profile and legislative issues.
    • California State Board of Equalization Sales and Use Taxes
      State taxes for individuals and companies, fees, business permits, forms and filing returns, making payments and tax information. Look up tax laws and requirements which pertain to companies doing business in the state of California. Access the state's official online ordering system for forms, fees, publications, laws relating to fictitious business names and applications.
    • California State Employee Directory
      Search names of persons employed by the state of California by their full or partial name in all its agencies and departments. Results of open public access search will show the state government employee's name, the agency, city and contact information such as email addresses and telephone numbers as required by state statutes
    • California Constitution and Statutes Law Finder
      Open public access to look up current California state laws including all 29 codes and statutes online. Directory of business, corporation and professions codes, civil procedures, contract law, vehicle and other legislation that can be researched using the department's web resources. Searches can be performed based on keywords or violations.
    • Directory of California State Government Agencies
      Contact information and web site links, director's names and telephone numbers to all of the California state agencies. Instantly displays data online by name, search word or phrase. District Office locations and administration details of over two hundred agencies within the state's government.
    • Financial Institutions Operating in California
      Check information of banks, credit unions, trust companies, money transmitters commercial, industrial and foreign banks. Obtain license numbers of the institution, officer's name, addresses and contact lists. Services regarding licensee complaints from consumers. Directory of branches in states other than California.
    • California Publicly Traded Company Search
      Access online publicly traded disclosure statements filed with the secretary of state. Conduct a search by corporation name, director or executive officer name or the independent auditor's name. Results disclose directors and officers, compensation, shares, options, bankruptcy, fraud and loans to members of the board.
    • California Demographics and Population Census Information
      U.S. Census collected data about the state of California residents and geography. Look up statistics and information of the state's economy, business facts, housing and income averages of a specific area. Comparisons to nationwide census data. Future estimates of demographic, housing, social and economic characteristics.
    • California Finance and Demographic Information
      Look up the demographic data for state budgeting and planning from official sources. Report and periodical data of latest California economic data, indicators, forecasts, events, history and models. See the general fund and special fund tax for the governor?s budget and finance research unit access.
    • California State Public Library Online
      Services for the general public, teachers and students. Online digital newspaper collections of over six million articles from 1846 to the present. Electronic books, library catalogs, data and other online publications. Services regarding braille and talking/audio books. References to research genealogy, California history and archives.
    • California Government Record Requests
      Reports of from the state's various agencies, departments and offices regarding business and labor, crime and courts, demographics, education, oversight and review, real estate and transportation. Financial research of the state agencies, programs, funding, budgets and complaints.
    • California Energy Commission Public Records
      Index of services from the state's energy commission and data research. Access divisions of electricity's reports and services. Where to review and inspect documents. Research codes, standards and an online database of publications including public interest energy research fact sheets.
    • Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
      Information on the latest major incidents. Accessing public records not exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act in the possession of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Find records that are for public inspection and copy requests.
    • California Visitors Information
      Look up popular destinations, the state's art and culture. Find helpful travel tools that provide free online maps index. Official state guide and travel planner. Find dinning, restaurants and calendar of events. Alphabetical directory to explore the state of California.
    • Directory to California Lobbyists Information
      Find Lobbying individuals, employers and firms. See who are the state's lobbyists, how much are spent on their lobby and entities or persons that hire them. Financial activity, filing history and general information of persons or entities spending $5,000 or more in regard to legislative or administrative actions.
    • California Employment Development Department Job Listings
      Search the state's official site for employment openings in various industries. Job seekers can post a resume, browse listings, see requirements, employer, location and other details provided by employers posting openings. Free online instant job search provided by the state of California (EDD).
    • California Apprenticeship Program Search
      The state's department of industrial relations offers Californian's a listing of registered program sponsors from various fields in the construction industry. Searches can be conducted by county or occupation. Results will show name of company and person to contact, email addresses, telephone numbers and locations.
    • California Protected Land and Areas Database
      Access the National Conservation Easement Database and a GIS list of all of 49 million protected acres of open space and land held by 949 public and non profit public agencies. Includes information of small local parks to national forests of over fifty four thousand individual parcels.
    • Contractor's State License Board Check
      Verify an individual's or a business contractor's license or the registration of a Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS). Searches can be conducted by license number or name of company or individual. Help and tips for California residents prior to hiring a contractor.
    • California State Contracts Index
      Look up current contract service descriptions, start and end dates, contract administrator contact information and other details of the state hiring entities and their agreements. Contract descriptions and documents can be downloaded online any any visitor to the site.
    • Public Auctions and Bidder Information
      Tax defaulted land public caution location and sale date calendar. Instructions of how to participate, list of properties for delinquent tax sales, minimum bid and reports of prior years sales. Notification email alerts, data of property for sale at public auction, a sealed bid sale, or a negotiated sale to a public agency or qualified nonprofit organization
    • California Insurance Companies Consumer Data
      The California Department of Insurance provides the public information of insurance companies, agents, brokers and other related databases. The public can see the companies complaint history and lines of insurance it's authorized to transact.
    • California Nursing Home Check
      Find out about a particular nursing home administrator and view certification and verifications. Other sources include checking and verifying certified nurse assistants, home health aides and certified hemodialysis technicians.
    • Air Quality Check and Data
      Look up the quality of air across the state of California and view measurements in twenty four hour periods, trend and summaries in key statistics. Daily and weekly compiled records. Monitor an area for regional haze, stat's emissions and air pollutants.
    • California Adoption Agencies
      Search the state's directory to California adoption agencies. Financial assistance and medical coverage programs offered by the state. Referrals to agency offices, adoptions district offices and counties served. Description of the California Department of Social Services guidelines for access to public records.
    • Check California Water Quality
      See where it is safe to swim from anywhere as listed by the California Water Quality Monitoring Council. View beach closures, beach improvement projects, bacterial impairment listings and sampling data by county and map. Recent conditions, health risks and reports from monitoring programs.
    • California Land Use Restrictions
      Check sites in California with land use restrictions. Search results reveal area address, site type, status and date when recorded. See a summary or detailed report of restrictions and notification requirements placed on a property.
    • California Veteran Benefits Documents and Directories
      Look up services, overview of benefits and programs offered to veterans and their families residing in California. List of resources including employment, claims representation, cemeteries, license plates, college tuition fee waivers and more.
    • California Building Codes and Laws
      Residential, school, hospital and construction codes. See laws pertaining to access compliance, official codes and policies from the division of the state architect in regard to structural safety and related forms, programs, services and resources.
    • California Mobile Home and RV Parks Search
      Find information about active and inactive mobile home parks in California. Locate information by county, complete list of all parks across the state by city, county, park ID number or name. View information of operators, spaces and mapped location.
    • California Title and Escrow Search
      Housing and Community Development online title and escrow search. Public search of manufactured homes, mobile homes, commercial modulars, floating homes and campers (truck)
    • California Statewide Online Maps
      Find resources of information from county data to state offices using online maps. Locate facilities across the state. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geological, regional, historical, environmental and government offices maps.
  • State of California Courts

    Search California court records for the general public, attorneys and other members of the legal justice system. Search case status, plaintiffs and defendant names, subsequent filings, discovery and judgment of a case utilizing state court web resources. View the status and upcoming cases on calendar. Criminal courts include traffic divisions, small claims and misdemeanors to superior court felony cases and supreme court hearings. Access bankruptcy filings and procedures in obtaining details of the case. Preparation and procedures for persons interested in using self help, legal aid and low cost options open to the public.

    • California Criminal and Civil Courts
      Access the California judicial branch for the general public, self help and law professionals. Information about cases heard in the state's 58 civil and criminal superior courts. From small claims and traffic court to appellate and supreme court of California. Look up jury and trial information and individual court web sites.
    • California Criminal Courts and Cases
      Information about criminal cases, types of cases and how to clean up a criminal record. Trials involving felonies with sentences of one year or more, misdemeanors trials that can result in less that one year sentencing, juvenile delinquency and vehicle traffic infractions. Look up the court venue of the trial being heard and jurisdictions under the state's criminal courts.
    • California Courts Official Forms
      State Judicial directory of statutory forms, latest changes regarding specific forms, publishers and rules of court. Search an online database of the most current downloadable forms and select any area of law by form identification, number or name.
    • California Judicial Administrative Records
      Public access to records maintained by the state's appellate hearings and trials, judicial council and the administrative office of the courts. How to request and forms associated with access to administrative orders.
    • California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal Calendar
      View a current list of upcoming calendared recent and pending oral arguments. First to sixth appellate courts and the state's supreme court. Case on calendar information shows the hearing's date, venue, location, case number and name.
    • California Appellate Courts Case Information System
      Updated case information for the supreme and appellate courts. Searches of records can be conducted by party name, case number, attorney, county, district or date. Results will feature an online case summary of oral argument dates and times, filing date, caption information, division, disposition, docket, briefs and scheduled actions. Request to receive automatic email notifications regarding the case.
    • California Judgments and Liens
      Find judgments and liens of individuals in California.
    • Uniform Commercial Code Filings and Searches
      Access the UCC online services to search filings using the secretary of state's online public databases. View financing statements, lien documents in UCC records in the state's central filing office. Find customer notices and publications. Residents can perform transactions such as filings, inquiries, or copies, place bulk requests and other online services.
    • California Bankruptcy Search
      Conduct a bankruptcy search through public records to find individual or corporate bankruptcy filings.
    • California Judicial Branch Self Help Center
      Online resources when filing and representing yourself. Public assistance with being sued or suing another party, collecting on your judgment, mediation, divorce or legal separation. Information and procedures regarding evictions and housing issues including foreclosures occurring in California. How to help and directions when using the state's small court claims system. Instructions for self representation in criminal law cases from traffic to felony and appeals. Find out how criminal cases in California work through the system from arrest to conviction and the appeals process. Clean or expunge criminal convictions obtained in the state of California with forms and frequently asked questions.
    • California Tax Law Look Up
      Online access to the California revenue and tax codes. Find the latest tax law changes for businesses and residents, part-year and non-residents. Information of legislative bills regarding state taxes. Resources to obtain legal documents, regulations and legal staff directory.
    • California State Cases
      State of California case information, pending issues, case summaries, calendars of upcoming hearings, briefs, minutes and death penalty trials.
    • California Federal Cases: California Northern, Central and Southern Federal Districts
      Search the California federal district court system to view cases, calendar of upcoming hearings, public access to electronic filing and clerk records services.

What is the process for someone who is arrested in California to go through the jail and court system?

If you get arrested in California, you would go to the local county jail. The address of the jail would depend on the county in which you were arrested. You would then go to court at the local county courthouse. The address of the courthouse would also depend on the county in which you were arrested.

What publicly accessible records can be obtained from the California Library?

The California State Library (CSL) maintains a variety of public and historical records. These records include federal, state, and other local government records, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce records; and military records. The CSL also holds historical maps, newspapers, books, photographs, manuscripts, audiovisual materials, and digital images.

What are the requirements for obtaining vital records from California, and what information is provided in the records?

The California Department of Public Health – Vital Records (CDPH-VR) is the state agency responsible for issuing vital records such as certified copies of birth, death, marriage, or divorce certificates for events that occurred within the State of California. To obtain a vital record, you must complete a standard application form, include the required fee, and provide the necessary proof of identity. The records include the full name of those listed on the document, the event (birth, marriage, divorce, or death), the date and place of the event, and the father’s and mother’s full names (if available). If the record you are requesting is for a birth that occurred in California, the record may also include a residential address.

Where is the best place to locate police reports in California?

Police reports in California can be obtained from the local police department or sheriff's office that handled the incident. You can also find police reports online through the California Department of Justice's website.

What information is typically included in a California background check?

A California background check typically includes a search of criminal records, including felony and misdemeanor convictions, as well as any pending criminal cases. It may also include a search of civil records, such as bankruptcies, judgments, and liens. Depending on the type of background check, it may also include a search of driving records, credit reports, and/or employment history.