California provides access to public records through the State of California Department of Justice., (DOJ), Office of the Attorney General. Through their website you can access information on:
In order to view criminal histories you must fill out an application and get clearance.
For other records, you must provide information about the records that you need, being as specific as possible about the record. Then the department of justice has 10 days to get back to you with the record, or to let you know if there is a problem.
If the records you need are with the Superior Court, or are under a local jurisdiction you won't be able to access them through the Department of Justice. In this case you must apply to the court that has jurisdiction over the case. If you know the court that holds the records, you can walk in and request them in person.
The California DOJ guidelines give the public the ability to view and copy records of interest. There is a fee for copying the records.
To request public records in the most efficient manner:
Your identification won't be required for viewing public records unless you have to enter a part of the building that requires increased security measures.
There are some records that are not accessible by the public. These include:
If you are unsure of just what records you need talk to the Ombudsman listed above. They can help you figure out what you need and provide information on how or where to find it.
Access to California public records is a basic right to all residents of California. These records are free, so go directly to the source. If you run an internet search for public records you will find many sites that will charge you for getting the records that are free through the right channels.
To lookup California public records information, contact:California Office of the Attorney General
As a resident of the state, you have the right to be able to perform a California public records search. The state Office of the Attorney General contains public information with regards to your criminal background using your fingerprints, for many different purposes from everything from employment to certification and licensing.
The California Public Records Act is a series of laws, under Statues 6250-6270 of the California Legislative Law, that guarantee the right of access of the public to public records in California. Under these statues, the California public records, called "writings" are defined as "any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored."
The Legislature of California has further found that access to public records in California "concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state". The public records in California are open to inspection during office hours and a governmental agency has 10 days from receipt of a request in which to comply.