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Frequently Asked Questions - General

May I request copies of records concerning any individual pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Government Code section 6250)?

Criminal History Records are not subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. In California, state and local summary criminal history information is confidential and access is strictly regulated by statute. Penal Code section 11105 expressly authorizes the DOJ to disclose state summary criminal history information to law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes only, to certain employers or regulatory agencies, or to the person who is the subject of the record.

Individuals have the right to request a copy of their own criminal history record from the DOJ to review for accuracy and completeness. For more information, please click on the "Criminal Records - Request Your Own" tab on the right side of this page.

Can I obtain a copy of my Superior Court Record?

The DOJ does not maintain or provide certified copies of California Local and/or Superior Court Records and as such, does not provide these source documents. To obtain a transcript, you will need to contact the court with jurisdiction over your particular case(s) for certified documents.

How long will an offense I committed stay on my record?

The DOJ 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. The record retention policy of the Department is to maintain criminal history information until the subject reaches 100 years of age.

What if I have the appropriate documentation to modify or remove information on my record?

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.

Once you have obtained a court order, to process an update of your criminal history record, you must first obtain a copy of your criminal history record. For more information, please click on the "Criminal Records - Request Your Own" tab on the right side of this page.

What if I submitted fingerprints and have not received a response?

Please allow a minimum of thirty days before making a status inquiry. Applicants should check first with the applicant agency that requested the background review since the DOJ sends results directly to the applicant agency. Poor quality fingerprints, records that contain criminal information, erroneous information submitted on the fingerprint transaction, and individuals born before 1920 who have submitted manual fingerprints in the past may delay the reporting of results.

Since the DOJ normally responds to the applicant agency, please check with the agency first. If a requesting agency does not have results yet and digital Live Scan fingerprints were submitted, you can use the automated telephone system to check on your submission. You will need the following information: (1) your date of birth; and (2) the 10-digit Automated Transaction Identifier (ATI) number that appears at the bottom of the Department of Justice form requesting Live Scan fingerprint background checks. The ATI number always appears in the following sequence: 1 LETTER; 3 NUMBERS; 3 LETTERS and 3 NUMBERS.

Can my request be expedited for an additional charge?

No. Unfortunately, the DOJ does not offer an expedited process.

I obtained an expungement pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4 for an offense, why is it still on my record?

Section 1203.4 does not obliterate the fact that a defendant has been "finally adjudged guilty of a crime." It merely frees the convicted felon from certain "penalties and disabilities" of a criminal or like nature.

My employer is asking for a copy of my criminal history record? May I give it to them?

No. California Penal Code section 11142 prohibits you from giving a copy of your criminal record to an unauthorized third party. In addition, California Penal Code section 11125 prohibits an individual or agency from requiring you to provide him/her or the agency with 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.

What if the information on my record is incorrect?

If you feel the information contained within your criminal history 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. For more information, please click on the "Criminal Records - Request Your Own" link on the right side of the Background Checks home page.

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.

What are the steps I need to take to become an authorized Secondhand Dealer or Pawnbroker?

Prior to the granting of a license, you must contact your jurisdictional local agency (sheriff or chief of police), where your business will be located, not where you reside, to obtain the secondhand dealer or pawnbroker application package. The application package contains all of the necessary documentation and information you need to become authorized.

Please Note: The DOJ does not provide this information to the applicant.

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