California Arrest Records | 4 Important Facts you need to know

Your California arrest records can be accessed without having to go to court.

Have you ever been concerned about your California arrest records and how they may affect your life and opportunities? You’re not alone. Many are unaware that their arrest records can be accessed without even setting foot in a court. With the ever-increasing use of background checks for various purposes, knowing the status and details of your records is crucial. This article sheds light on four essential facts every Californian should know about their arrest records, which may impact your future in unexpected ways.

Your California Arrest Records/criminal record is available even if you do not go to the Superior Court that arrested you. You can give get a copy of this with a private company that collects public records and provides their service to you or you use the department of justice.  

If you want to get your record for the purpose of record clearing then the best way to is to use this form from the DOJ to get your California Arrest Record. This is the most accurate method. See instructions here on how to do this

shows a RAP Sheet which you get after doing a California criminal background check
A California criminal background check will show everything you were arrested even if you did not get convicted for it.

Nobody can access your California arrest records except Law Enforcement and the State.

California arrest records should not be considered for job purposes. There are laws that prevent employers from considering arrest records with nonconviction for determining an applicant’s fitness to do a job.  This is because anyone can be falsely arrested and accused of a crime.

The conviction in the Superior Court is an important thing and the state of California has made that very clear. For that reason, only Law Enforcement and Certain Government Agencies can access your arrest Records. 

If your case was dismissed or rejected by the district attorney then employers will not be able to use it against you. The law has made it clear and has provided for monetary penalties and made it an additional crime if anyone accesses your California Arrest Records via a RAP sheet without your permission. 

What happens to my California Arrest Records when my case is dismissed in Court?

When your case is dismissed at the Superior Court then you are free from the potential penalties of your case.  However, the case is still there if you get your California Arrest Records. In addition, the record will still show the charge but it will have a dismissal. 

It will not say if the dismissal was for Insufficient Evidence and law enforcement will still be able to see it.  The court will also have a record and the complaint will be available to whoever asks for it as well.  Judges may include reasons why the charge was dismissed on the record. For example,  they may say there was not enough evidence or a jury came back with a not guilty verdict. In short, you will still have California Criminal records for the purpose of law enforcement but for job purposes. Employers can’t hold it against you because they can only go after the California Conviction Records.

However, people can still access your records thru unofficial means. These unofficial means can mean going into the courts and asking for public records. Many court systems have their database open to the public which lets people access them. Orange County, San Diego, and San Bernardino are a few of the courts where you can access the court system. Once you access the system then you can find a case even if it has been dismissed.

Shows court access for Orange County Superior Court where people can see criminal cases that were dissmissed and Calfiornia Arrest Records if the case was filed. . .
California Arrest Records are not visible until they are filed with the court.

My Case was Dismissed, so I have no California arrest records right? (Wrong)

As discussed above, the Superior Court will still have a record of the case. In addition, there will be an annotation of an arrest on your record.  The court records will include a copy of the complaint on your case.  The complaint will spell out what you were accused of doing and the date you were accused or suspected of the crime. This is will not go away unless you take action on it. 

Is there a way to seal my California arrest records?

Yes. There is a way to seal your California Arrest Records. You should talk with a criminal defense attorney near you if you want to clear the criminal charges. An attorney near your courthouse will be familiar with the procedures and he will have been in the courthouse and in front of the judge who will preside over your charge.  

Your California Arrest Records are more than just a piece of paper – they’re a part of your history that can influence your future opportunities. Whether you’re applying for a job or trying to clear your name, it’s vital to be informed and proactive. Remember, knowledge is power, and understanding your arrest records is the first step to taking control. If you wish to seal or address discrepancies in your records, always consider seeking the advice of a criminal defense attorney familiar with the local court system.

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