How to Perform a California Arrest Records and Warrants Search

The most efficient way to conduct a criminal background check is to use the resources each county puts at your disposal. The following list will provide you with useful information on how to perform a warrant and arrest search in each of California counties.

California Arrest Records By County:

The difference between an arrest record and a court record

California arrest records are official documents issued by a CA law enforcement agency after a suspect had been incarcerated. They, in fact, include an account of all arrest orders carried out against a person.

California court records are issued after a person had been found guilty of a crime in court and they are kept in the county Superior Court. If a trial ends with no conviction, there will be no criminal record carrying the defendant’s name.

In case you have an arrest record on your name, you should know that it cannot be used against you as a reason for rejecting your job application or firing you.

Conducting a background check on a county level

Arrest search – The sheriff office website on most of the counties offers access to an electronic database of jail records. For instance, it is possible to do a Kern County inmate search using the following online inquiry tool.

If you intend to broaden your inquiry to include the entire state, California Department of Corrections manages a computerized database that can be accessed here.

Finding court dockets – To locate official civil and criminal court documents, you should contact the county’s Superior Court. A FOIA request will have to be submitted and processing it by the authorities may take approximately 10 business days.

Another alternative is to use the online search tool that can be found on most of the websites managed by the county court. For example, if you wish to get access to Orange County court records, go to the following URL: By pressing “Online Services” on the header, you will reach a page with links to various case search options. To use this service, you will have to sign in after opening a user account.

Undertaking a warrant check – The best sources of information are the county sheriff offices. These offices keep track of all criminal activity that takes place under their jurisdiction.

Some sheriff offices will deliver warrant information on the phone or via email, but most of them will insist that you pay them a visit. In addition, many sheriff websites offer an electronic search tool. For instance, you can perform a Lake County warrant search here.