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California Criminal Record

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California maintains criminal records on anyone who violates local, state, or federal laws. You can ask to get a copy of your criminal record.

What Are Criminal Records?

A criminal record is a history of any criminal actions that were committed by a person. This record includes information about them, such as their name, known aliases, address, photograph, fingerprints, and birthday. It also lists information about their criminal history, such as:

  • Warrants
  • Past arrests
  • Pending charges
  • Acquitted charges
  • Dismissed charges

Your criminal record may include misdemeanors, felonies, and any information about other interactions with the police or court.

How Are Criminal Records Used?

There are many ways that criminal records are used. Some of the most common include:

  • For security clearance
  • For admittance into school, such as medical or law school
  • For employment
  • For adopting/fostering
  • For checking the person’s history before purchasing firearms
  • Voter registration
  • For CDL licensing
  • For law enforcement purposes, like building a criminal case
  • For travel visas, naturalization, international travel, and immigration

How Can Someone Access Your Records?

Usually, you need to give permission to a business or organization for your records to be checked, so you’ll know if someone is going to run a background check on you. However, remember that a conviction is usually a public record, so anyone could have access to that information.

The general public is able to access records that are considered to be public records. If someone runs a background check, they’ll likely receive your past and current addresses, your marital status, any history of bankruptcies, and information on convictions like felonies or DUIs.

On the other hand, if they run a criminal record check, then they may receive further information such as what you look like or specifics about your past penalties or convictions.

Sex Crimes

The general public does have access to sex crime information. This is usually openly available on the sex offender registry. Information on California’s Sex Offender Registry is available on the Office of the Attorney General’s website. The registry can be searched at https://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/.

How Can You Request a Criminal Record?

To request your own criminal record, you are able to use the Live Scan Form called Form BCIA 8016RR in English or Spanish. On that form:

  • Check the type of application as “Record Review.”
  • On the reason for application line, enter “Record Review.”
  • Add all of your personal information to the form
  • Go to any Live Scan site to have your fingerprint taken in order to receive your records

Those who are out of state may fill out form BCIA 8705 in English or Spanish. Fingerprinting is still necessary, so you will need to contact the local law enforcement agency to ask them to take your fingerprint. The fingerprint card needs to be submitted with the application and returned to:

California Department of Justice

Bureau of Criminal Identification and Analysis
Record Review & Challenge Section
PO BOX 160207
Sacramento, CA 95816-0207

Last Verified:
Mar 30, 2023