Making the Most of California Public Records

Find information on individuals or property with CA public records

Making the most of California public records will require you to have a guide or referral. You can conduct Internet searches of many government agencies for free but you will spend a lot of time looking at irrelevant links and websites if you have no idea where to start.

You will first need to obtain some basic information on the individual or property you are seeking state of California public records on. For example, if you are seeking information on an individual, it will be helpful to know some addresses where that person has previously lived.

There are three general types of public records in California:

1. Criminal records that include files on registered sex offenders, past convictions or current information on current inmates in a particular prison. These records can help you perform a California background check.

2. California vital records such as census records, consumer protection information or legislation minutes. You may find these records helpful when researching a product or political candidate.

3. Real estate records like property appraisals, ownership and taxes. These types of records can be useful when buying or selling a home.

Find California public court records from local government agencies

City and county clerks in California can frequently provide a great deal of current information on an individual when you know their name and address.
Judicial Council of California lists all of the county courts and also allows a search by city and zip code. The State of California homepage has links to the city websites in California and also allows you to search public records.

Learn more about the laws regarding California criminal records

The records that are publicly available vary widely by state. You will want to have at least a general idea of what information you can expect to find before conducting your search.
Office of the Attorney General provides extensive information regarding the disclosure of public records. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides instructions for obtaining California DMV records.

Perform a search of a specific California public record database

Many cities and counties in California maintain a variety of records on individuals and property that are freely available to the general public.

  • Exhaust free sources of information before you consider paying for California divorce records. Sites that charge a fee may only provide information you could obtain elsewhere for free. Fortunately, libraries frequently subscribe to services that you would normally need to pay a fee to access. You should also bear in mind that many public records are simply not available online.