According to California’s Public Records Act, anyone can look up public records, including arrest records for the state. Government agencies maintain arrest records for the state. To find someone’s arrest record, the requestor will need their name and birth date. It is better to have more information like their social security number, address or other defining details, and it will be easier to locate their arrest records.
California guarantees its citizens the right to information through their California’s Public Records Act (CPRA). Therefore, all arrest records maintained by local and state law enforcement are available for public access and review. When requesting copies, someone must fill out special forms and pay a fee.
Arrest records from California are packed with information. A typical report will contain details about the arrest such as where it occurred, the date of arrest, what agency arrested them, the charges filed, the arresting officer’s information, if any vehicles were involved and the booking details. Additionally, a profile for the person arrested will be included with name, age, address, gender, height, weight, and more. Often included are also other warrants and booking details including fingerprints as well as other police and criminal records associated with this person. At the same time, there may also be court records related to any arrests, fines, convictions, and sentencing.
The crime rate has decreased over the past decade in California, going from 162,135 crimes in 2006 to 148,260 by 6% lower than it was back in 2006. The largest percentage of violent crimes falls into the Aggravated Assault category, with Revised Rape being the least popular crime in the state.
Being arrested means, someone is taken into custody and cannot leave. Most often it entails being detained for questioning about a crime that has been committed. In California, local law enforcement has the right to arrest someone in accordance with an arrest warrant. They can also arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, or one was committed in the presence of the officer, the person has committed a felony that the officer is aware of, or the police officer believes the suspect is guilty of committing a felony, misdemeanor, or other crime based on some evidence. Later, that person will be found guilty or innocent in a court of law.
Any law enforcement officer has the power to arrest someone, even when they are off-duty. Both parole and probation officers can also arrest someone if they have probable cause that they committed a felony or misdemeanor. They do not need an arrest warrant to take someone in. If they suspect them of a felony, they can arrest them, but in the case of a misdemeanor, they must witness it before arresting them. Instead of arrest, if someone commits an infraction such as speeding, they will get a ticket or citation. Any regular citizen can also make a “citizen’s arrest.” Again, they must witness a misdemeanor when arresting and have good evidence of a felony before taking anyone to the police.
The state of California’s Department of Justice retains the right to keep all criminal and arrest records in their database until the person reaches the age of 100. All local law enforcement agencies are required to file arrest records with the DOJ so they may keep them on file for their full retention period.
According to California’s Penal Code section 1203.4, someone does have the right to file to have their arrest records expunged. However, they must contact the arresting agency or the court where they were tried to request an update. The state leaves it up the discretion of these agencies to decide whether or not to expunge.
California keeps considerable data on arrests for the state. In 2017, there were 306,024 felony arrests and 784,229 misdemeanor arrests. 36% of those were for violent offenses (111,478), and 25% were for property offenses (77,223). Another 29,955 were drug-related charges, 5,519 were arrested on sex offenses, and the remainder 81,849 included a variety of other crimes, not fitting in any category. 75% of misdemeanors and 80% of the felonies were committed by men, the rest by females. White people committed 95,913 of the felonies, 63,146 by African Americans, 128,271 Hispanic and the remainder (18,694) other races.
The popular arrests for 2017 in California was for All Other Offenses (except traffic) - 298,229, the same popularity of the arrest type was seen in Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona. The least popularity had Offenses Against the Family and Children arrests - with only 229 crimes a year.
|Arrest Type||Under 18||All ages||Total arrests|
|Murder & Non-negligent Manslaughter||98||1,499||1,597|
|Motor Vehicle Theft||1,774||19,501||21,275|
|Forgery and Counterfeiting||45||4,440||4,485|
|Stolen property; buying, receiving, possessing||1,167||17,398||18,565|
|Weapons; carrying, possessing, etc.||3,081||28,547||31,628|
|Prostitution and Commercialized Vice||18||7,056||7,074|
|Sex Offenses (except rape and prostitution)||1,139||9,244||10,383|
|Drug Abuse Violations||3,781||212,025||215,806|
|Offenses Against the Family and Children||2||227||229|
|Driving Under the Influence||455||122,961||123,416|
|All Other Offenses (except traffic)||8,607||289,622||298,229|
|Curfew and Loitering Law Violations||998||998||1,996|