California Criminal Records

If you have ever been arrested in California and fingerprinted, you have a California rap sheet.  A “rap sheet” is a record of your arrest and conviction history in California.  Your criminal record is maintained by the California Department of Justice in Sacramento.  Each time you are arrested and fingerprinted, the police send an arrest report to the DOJ.  If you have been arrested before, the new arrest gets added to your file, and if not, a new file is made for you.  So anytime you are arrested or detained the information goes on your criminal record even if no charges are ever filed against you

California Department of Justice Maintains Criminal Records 

The California Department of Justice is required by law to record summary arrest, detention, disposition, and personal identification information when submitted by a law enforcement agency or court of this state (Government Code 61852).  DOJ keeps track of criminal arrests in California only.  Cases from other states and federal cases will not appear on your California Rap sheet.  The FBI keeps a complete list of all of your arrests from all states, and your DOJ file will have a reference to your FBI number.  Criminal records are kept until the person reaches 100 years of age. 

California Courts & Criminal Records

State and local courts send information to DOJ as well including the disposition of your case when your case is over in court.  There are many dispositions which can appear on your rap sheet including Not Convicted, Dismissed, Acquitted, and Convicted.  So your rap sheet will include information by law enforcement about your arrest and the court will provide the information regarding the disposition of your case.      

California Criminal Records Are Confidential

California criminal records are confidential.  California Penal Code section 11142 prohibits you from giving a copy of your criminal record to any unauthorized third party. California Penal Code section 11125 prohibits an individual, agency, or employer from requiring you to provide them a copy of your criminal record or proof that a record does or does not exist. Violation of either of these sections is a misdemeanor offense.

Correcting Your California Criminal Record

If you feel the information contained within your criminal history record is incorrect, you may submit a formal challenge to the Department of Justice only after you have received a copy of your record from the Department, pursuant to California Penal Code sections 11120-11127. Form BCIA 8706 “Claim of Alleged Inaccuracy or Incompleteness” will be mailed to you along with your record. Submit form BCIA 8706 and any supporting documentation to the Department of Justice at the address provided on the form. The challenge will be reviewed and a written response will be provided, along with an amended copy of your criminal history record if appropriate.

Correcting Arrest or Court Information

Arrest and court disposition information can only be modified or deleted by court order or at the direction of the arresting agency/district attorney having jurisdiction over the criminal matter. The Department of Justice is required to record summary arrest, detention, disposition, and personal identification information when submitted by a law enforcement agency or court of this state.