California Public Records Search
As part of an “open government” policy, U.S. federal law provides for the public to be able to access information kept with different government agencies. It recognizes a citizen’s right to know the affairs of the government. With the exception of certain information that can compromise the safety and good name of an individual or compromise the proceedings of a trial, information the security and defense of the nation and some other information related to the activities of some government agencies, much of the information processed and maintained by the government is made available to the public for scrutiny and copy. Federal Law provides this under the FOIA or Freedom of Information Act. Most public records or any record regarding an individual that has been processed by a local, district, federal or any government agency is to be made available to the public. However every state has its own law governed by its constitution that regulates the degree to which public records can be accessed.
What are the benefits of a public record retrieval?
Public records often need to be accessed for a variety of reasons. For the safety and well-being of children, for example, a school may check the records of people for child abuse or criminal backgrounds or the driving records of a driver before employing them. Public records are also the best resources available for protecting identity theft. They can also be used to track government aid that is directed to individuals. If you are moving into a new neighborhood then you can use public records to run a scrutiny on the neighborhood.
Where in the USA, can I get public records information?
As stated before each state has its own version of the FOIA which is in accordance to its constitution. For example California has the California Public Records Act, Colorado has the Colorado Open Records Act and New Jersey has the Open Public Records Act. The state of New York follows a very open policy regarding the availability of public records and is managed by the Committee on Open Government. Different government agencies are made responsible for providing information to the public. On the other hand public records in Pennsylvania are kept fairly closed. Pennsylvanian law requires an individual to provide a justifiable reason in order to access the public records.
Are California public records available to anyone online?
Previously the records were typed and manually stored in files which had to be retrieved upon a written application or a verbal request made in person. This made the process of retrieval of information slow. With the advent of electronic data processing and the internet the process of storing and retrieving public records has changed drastically. The records are now stored electronically and can be retrieved via the internet. Most departments and states provide for an electronic retrieval of public records.
The California Codes Government Code section 6250 – 6270 is called the California Public Records Act or CPRA. Under sections 6250 and 6253 of CPRA public records are freely available to the general public. Our site offers an extensive database and millions of profiles. Our search engine is able to pinpoint your search and direct you to the relevant result.
Popular county searches in California include:
Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento, Contra Costa and Fresno.
Among our records following cities may be found:
More about California
Stateline.org provides a daily state-by-state summary of selected news stories, as well as some general information about the state and a handful of selected other links.
State of California Homepage
California’s CA.gov website provides access to a wide variety of information about living in, working in, and visiting California.
California State Agency & Employee Directories
The directories website enables you to search for state employees and to search for state agency contact information. Following are just some of the major agencies and offices in California:
- Attorney General’s Office
- Bureau of State Audits
- Business Transportation and Housing Agency
- Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
- Department of Education
- Department of Finance
- Department of Food and Agriculture
- Department of Insurance
- Department of Justice
- Department of Personnel Administration
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Health and Human Services Agency
- Office of the Governor
- Office of the Inspector General
- Office of the Lieutenant Governor
- Secretary of State
The California Legislature
The California State Legislative Portal serves as a starting point for access to many related websites, including: the State Senate and the State Assembly, in addition to bill information, committee events, lists of legislators, and more.
California Courts & Judicial Branch
The California Courts website provides access to information about the courts, court opinions, rules, legal forms, and much more. There’s even a section called legal self-help.
Supreme Court of California
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Office of the Clerk: 415-865-7000
Courts of Appeal and Superior Courts
There are six district courts of appeal and a superior court in every county. Contact information is available on the California Courts website.
California Public Records/Vital Records
The California Codes Government Code section 6250 – 6270 is called the California Public Records Act or CPRA. It provides information about access to public records in California. The State website makes it easy, with a page containing links to many public records sources.
Vital records (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) are kept by the county clerks of each county. The records are also maintained by the California Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records.
California Unclaimed Property
State law requires businesses to send to the State any property that has remained in their possession without any activity on the part of the owner, generally for three years or more. This includes inactive bank accounts, unclaimed tax refunds, and much more.
State Controller’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 942850
Sacramento, CA 94250-587
(800) 992-4647 (Nationwide)
California County and City Websites
Access to information about California’s counties and cities can be found from the state government’s “local government” page. This page also provides access to information about regional organizations and tribal governments in California.