What are arrest records and arrest warrants?
An arrest warrant is a straightforward matter: it grants the authority to the state of California to locate, apprehend, and place under arrest the individual that was named by the arrest warrant. Regardless of what type of arrest warrant has been issued, all of them share several things in common: they must be authorized by a judge or a magistrate, they always originate from the county in which the crime was committed, and they all must name the person accused of committing a crime.
In order for California arrest warrants to be created, police officers must present evidence to a judge or magistrate in a California court of law. After they swear under oath that the suspect they have named is, to their knowledge, guilty of a crime, the judge can decide whether or not to issue an arrest warrant. If the judge does, then police forces have 48 hours to apprehend the suspect.
California arrest records are essentially a record of all of the arrests that have been made against a particular individual. Often, these records will include details about the crime that the suspect is thought to have committed, the date, and a description of the suspect. Unless you are a member of an organization with access to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), you will only be able to view arrest records in limited circumstances, and often only for your own state.
It should also be noted that other types of warrants, such as bench warrants, can be issued when an individual fails to appear for a scheduled court hearing or misses a parole meeting.
How do I search for California arrest records and arrest warrants?
There are several different ways that California arrest records and arrest warrants can be located, both online and off. Unfortunately, unlike some other states, California does not provide a centralized database of all current and active arrest warrants/wanted persons.
As of the time of publication, the California Department of Justice, which once maintained a database of wanted persons in California, has stopped publishing a most wanted person database. Because this may change in the future, we recommend checking their page at https://oag.ca.gov/law.
You can visit the website of the sheriff of the county in which you reside or contact them via telephone or email to make an arrest warrant inquiry. Simply search for “[your county] sheriff’s office” in a search engine to locate the sheriff’s office.
You can find an outline of what types of records California will provide to you at https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/pra.
California criminal statistics
The overall violent crime rate throughout the state of California has dropped significantly between 2000 and 2009, falling from more than 210,000 total crimes to 174,000. However, the murder rate has largely stayed the same during this period, with 2,074 murders in 2000 and 1,970 in 2009. Robbery grew from over 60,000 in 2000 to more than 64,000 in 2009. Finally, aggravated assault has fallen substantially, from almost 139,000 in 2000 to only 99,905 in 2009.
You can locate a statistical overview of crime in California at the State of California Department of Justice website at https://oag.ca.gov/crime.