Having a criminal record can be a discouraging thing. It can limit your job prospects and prevent you from being eligible for some housing or public assistance. Furthermore, you may have to provide details of your conviction(s) every time you apply for a job, volunteer position or housing. Failing to accurately disclose any requested information about your conviction or arrest can result in serious consequences. Having a copy of your criminal record is a good thing to have around. It allows you to have the information handy for when you are asked for it and it also can allow you to ensure your record is accurate and that you are fully aware of all your recording criminal activity. If your record does not seem accurate, and this can happen, you can address the inaccuracy with the Department of Justice. Having a copy of your criminal record can help you be aware of what others will see if they do a background check on you. If you want to have any charges dismissed from your record, you will also have to provide details about the conviction in order to do so and will need a copy of your criminal record for this. You can request a copy of your criminal record for these purposes directly through the Department of Justice custodian of records. To do so, you will need to submit your request along with fingerprints and a $25 processing/filing fee. You may be able to have the fee waived if your income qualifies. The Department of Justice maintains summary criminal records for an individual up until they turn 100. A summary criminal record will not include all the details of your charges, convictions and dismissals, however you can obtain these details through your local court system. California keeps criminal histories confidential, so confidential that it is a crime to provide your criminal record to an unauthorized third party, such as an employer who is requesting it. For this reason, all California residents seeking a copy of their criminal record must submit their fingerprints when requesting their record to confirm their identify. These must be the electronic, Life Scan, versions of your fingerprints. You can obtain your Live Scan fingerprints at your local police or sheriff's office and a few other authorized locations for a marginal fee, usually less than $30. Out of state residents requesting their California criminal record must submit hard copies of their fingerprints. You can also obtain information about your criminal cases through the superior court in the county you were convicted in. The process of requesting your summary criminal record through the California Department of Justice is somewhat lengthy. The Department of Justice asks you to wait 30 days after you submit your request before you follow up with them, which should give you an idea of how long it can take to actually get your record. Because of how confidential California keeps criminal records, the length process ensures your identity is confirmed and the record is released under proper procedure. This can ensure no one can obtain your criminal record but you. If you are in a rush and need details about your convictions immediately, contact the superior court in the county you were convicted in. The process of obtaining details of your convictions through the superior court is similar as with the Department of Justice however it takes less time. Depending on the court, you may be able to obtain the details of your convictions electronically or you may have to appear in person to either view it or receive a hard copy. The county superior court cannot provide details about convictions in other counties or out of state, however. Keep in mind; these procedures are valid for California criminal convictions. Contact the Department of Justice in the state where you were convicted to request copies of your criminal record as it pertains to convictions in that state.
Are you in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about your criminal record? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team. Mr. Martens has over 10 years experience in criminal defense and has never worked as a prosecuting attorney. Mr. Martens and his Visalia area legal team have worked on thousands of cases and have taken over 50 to trial. Mr. Martens will advise you on how to obtain a copy of your criminal record and what you can do to clean it up. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.