Free Background Checks in California: How to Search California Arrest Records, Criminal Records, and More

Free Background Checks in California: How to Search California Arrest Records, Criminal Records, and More

California Background Check Services Available to the Public for Free: How to Search California Government Arrest Records, Criminal Records, and Public Records

Do you ever truly and entirely know who someone is? The answer, in short, is no. There are so many instances in life when it might be useful to dig a little deeper into someone's background before allowing them into your life.

Click Here to Perform a Background Check Online

If you've recently joined an online dating site or moved into a shared flat, you may have wondered about whether these people are honest, trustworthy, and safe to be around. For these reasons, being able to thoroughly check the background of people in our personal lives is of utmost importance.

In California, there are many ways to exhaustively check someone's background. But first, it's important to understand why a background check is so important and what they can reveal.

Why Background Checks in California are Important

Being able to check someone's background can potentially help keep you and your family safe. Individuals can check public record archives for background information. One can essentially verify claims made by someone about themselves and circumvent potential risks associated with trusting a particular person.

Furthermore, by completing a comprehensive background check, one can verify or corroborate information provided by an individual that can save money and heartache in the long run. Most notably, information like a criminal record and residency can be discovered and/or verified through a simple but thorough background check.

Background checks can also confirm such information as education and employment history.

Where Can I Go To Conduct a Premium Background Check in California?

Thankfully, there are many options for residents in California to complete nationwide background checks. There are premium services that can do deep and thorough background checks, as well as free services that allow you to investigate for yourself.

Here is a list of highly reputable, premium companies that perform background checks as well as some free resources.


Truthfinder is a service that searches public record databases from hundreds of millions of sites on the web. They go beyond the reaches of a simple web search. Truthfinder can confirm contact information, education and employment history, birth and death records, and more.

Additionally, Truthfinder can uncover a criminal or arrest record, dating and social media profile, and address/phone verification. A comprehensive service, Truthfinder, is the most trusted, one-stop-shop for background checks.


Another useful, premium resource is Intelius, a leading provider of background checks. Intelius can search public record archives allowing you to check for criminal reports, dating history, and property data.

Furthermore, Intelius can also provide reverse phone lookup and check property data information. All searches are conducted anonymously and can empower you with the information needed to decide if you can trust the person you're looking up.

Instant Checkmate

Another resourceful site that checks the background of an individual and public record searches is Instant Checkmate. This company provides customers with many varieties of valuable data about individuals.

Included in their background checks, Instant Checkmate accesses arrest records, sex offender databases, demographic and census data, and beyond. Instant Checkmate specializes in delivering important background information to their customers.

100% Free Background Checks in California

Besides typical information, like criminal records and demographic data, that you might consider searching when completing a background check, there are so many others to consider. Take a look below at a comprehensive list of public records accessible for free or a small fee in the state of California.

California Court Records

Link to Court Records:

Court records document an individual's court appearance for any manner of reason. Although there are some cases in which electronic California court documents may not be accessible online, many cases can be accessed through the California Courthouse's public remote database.

Moreover, according to California Rule 2.503, records not available online can be reviewed in person at the courthouse.

California Criminal Records

Link to Criminal Records:

Criminal records are official documents of public records that outline an individual's arrests, indictments, incarcerations, convictions, and pending charges. California criminal record archives are assembled by town/city and county.

However, please be aware that recent updates to criminal records may take several days before appearing on the results page.

California Public Records

Link to Public Records:

Through a public records search, interested parties can view the documentation on foreign adoptions, immigration, driver's licenses, sex offender lists under Megan's Law, missing persons, and consumer information. Access to these records can be acquired for free.

California Arrest Records

Link to Arrest Records:

Different from a criminal record, an arrest record officially documents when an individual has been taken into police custody for alleged involvement in a crime. California differentiates arrest records from criminal records by acknowledging that not all arrests lead to criminal indictment or detention.

Moreover, access to California Arrest records is restricted. Access will only be granted for authorized applicant agencies and legitimate law enforcement purposes.

California Vital Records

Link to Vital Records:

Vital records contain legal information regarding birth, death, and marriage. The legal information provided in vital records can be invaluable when completing a background check.

California Death Records

How to Obtain a Certified Copy of a Death Record:

A death certificate can be useful in determining the legal status or identity of an otherwise qualified individual. The California Department of Public Health issues copies of these records. However, they do cost. You will have to pay $21 per death certificate, and mail-in requests can take up to several weeks to process.

California Divorce Records

How to Obtain a Certified Copy of a Divorce Record:

A divorce record is a legal document that can help to confirm the identity and the dates of the dissolution of a given marriage. California issues divorce decrees and records of divorce too, but these documents are only available to the interested parties and not to the public as they contain personal information.

Although a California divorce record is not attainable online, it can be applied for by mail or in-person (they may require payment of a small fee payable by check or money order). Directions for doing so can be found by following the link above.

City and County-Specific Records

  • Los Angeles Public Records:
  • Los Angeles Court Records:
  • Los Angeles Marriage Records:
  • Los Angeles Arrest Records:

The Bottom Line: Free Background Checks in California

Performing accurate and comprehensive background checks can help you to determine whether your acquaintances, friends, neighbors and even family have been upfront and honest with you.

From determining the trustworthiness of someone you met online, verifying a spam caller, to ascertaining a criminal record, arrest record, vital record, and property record, background checks are very informative.

Although some records can be accessed for free, using premium services like Truthfinder and Intelius can help you quickly check an individual's background, reducing the time you'll spend searching for individual websites and application procedures. What's more, is that these providers can yield more in-depth information than you'll likely find on your own.

They can check social media accounts, dating profiles and confirm phone numbers. California has many free and low-cost resources, as noted, but even these official records cannot uncover the extensive background information you may require in one search.

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