Obtaining your criminal record
The California Department of Justice maintains criminal records that can only be accessed for specific law enforcement purposes. Individuals’ criminal records will not be disclosed to the public. California citizens are able to obtain their own criminal records so that they can review the information therein. It is a good idea to get a copy of your criminal record in California so that you can make sure it is accurate and complete.
You can find more information about how to obtain a copy of your criminal record at this website: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/record-review. To get a copy of your CA criminal record, first you need to get your fingerprints and application so the California Department of Justice knows that it is really you requesting the record and not someone pretending to be you. Fill out the form located here: BCIA 8016RR, pdf. You must take the form to a Live Scan fingerprinting site and you will also have to pay a $25 processing fee to the California Department of Justice.
Live Scan fingerprinting sites include most California police departments and sheriff’s offices. You will have to pay a fee to be fingerprinted at one of these places. You can find out where to go to get fingerprinted and how to pay for the service at this website: http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.php.
If you are not a resident of the state of California, you will have to submit manual fingerprint cards to obtain your criminal history record. The application for obtaining a copy of your criminal history record can be found at this website: Form BCIA 8705, pdf. For more information, you can contact the California Record Review Unit at (916) 227-3849. If you are going this route, you must pay with a personal check. Mail the application, the fingerprint card, and the $25 check made out to California Department of Justice to California Department of Justice, Record Review Unit, P.O. Box 903417, Sacramento, CA 94203-4170.
When you get the California Record Review response with your criminal history record included, there will also be a form you can fill out to contest any inaccuracies or incompleteness you feel exists in the record. You have to have to proof that something is wrong with your record and explain your claim.
Obtaining court records
The California Department of Justice only has court records about cases that have happened in the California state court system. If the case you are looking for records on happened in a lower court, you must contact the local court that processed that case.
CA court records are only available to the public after a case is complete. When you request court records from the California Department of Justice, you must give specific information about the records you would like access to. You must provide the name of the record, any information about the subject of the record, and the location of the record if you know its whereabouts.
After you make your request, the California Department of Justice has 10 days to decide whether the records should be disclosed to the public. They can also take an additional 14 days after that. However, they have to send the records to you in a reasonable amount of time, and they have to tell you about how long they think it will take. They will also require you to pay for copying fees. You can find the California records request form at this website: http://ag.ca.gov/contact/publicrecords_form.php.
Obtaining Nondisclosure of court records
If you would like the records of court cases you were involved in to be exempt from disclosure to the public in California, you must consult a lawyer. The lawyer will have to help you petition the court. There is no simple form to fill out in California.