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We receive referral fees from partners
(advertising disclosure)

The information we provide you is free of charge and a result of extensive research by our home warranty experts. We use affiliate links on our site that provide us with referral commissions. While this fact may not influence the information we provide, it may affect the positioning of this information.

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California Warrant Search -
The Ultimate Guide 2024

Our Ultimate Guide to California’s warrants search will take you through everything you need to know about the state’s arrest warrants, including how to perform a warrant search.

Warrant Search California

California Arrest Warrants

In California, when law enforcement obtains a warrant, they gain the power to detain a suspect believed to be involved in a crime. These arrest warrants remain valid indefinitely and become outstanding if not served promptly. Notably, the police cannot unilaterally issue a warrant; it requires a judge’s signature, contingent on probable cause. The police are then responsible for notifying the public once a warrant has been issued.

Possessing an active arrest warrant in California means law enforcement has the authority to apprehend you for a specific offense. You have the right to be informed about the reasons for your detention and the charges against you. Active warrants are those not yet executed by authorities, signifying no arrest has taken place. If a specified period lapses without the warrant being served, it transitions into an outstanding warrant.

Active Warrants in California

In the state of California, initiating the issuance of a warrant requires filing a police report. Subsequently, a deposition is submitted, featuring the individual’s legal testimony on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. The court reviews this information to determine if there is credible cause to arrest the subject. Upon establishing probable cause, the court or judge issues an arrest warrant. Typically, this warrant is assigned to a specific law enforcement officer tasked with apprehending the subject.

In a court proceeding, the individual must then undergo the process of proving innocence or guilt regarding the charges. It’s important to note that even upon apprehension, the presumed stance is that the suspected individual is innocent until proven guilty.

Performing a Warrant Search in California

Regrettably, the state lacks an all-encompassing online database housing the names of individuals sought by law enforcement. Consequently, you’ll need to visit the sheriff’s office in the county where the suspect is believed to have committed the offense. The sheriff’s criminal archives contain information on fugitives and individuals sought within the county. If you’re seeking details about suspects through a criminal history check, the sheriff is likely to be cooperative, especially regarding their whereabouts. In more extensive counties, online databases may be available for your research. For instance, if you’re searching for a warrant in Orange County, you can explore relevant databases here. Additionally, many sheriffs’ websites feature a list of the most sought individuals in their respective counties.

Performing a Warrant Search in California

How Can I Find California Criminal Records

Enacted in 1968, the California Public Records Act provides public access to government records. While tracking criminal records is feasible, the process can be intricate and time-consuming. For information on arrest records in the state, the California Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Attorney General, stands as the most reliable source. However, access to these records is limited to authorized law enforcement agencies and their representatives.

It’s important to note that you can only request information regarding your own criminal history; requests for another individual’s criminal history are not permitted. To obtain your information, a $25 fee and a set of your fingerprints must be submitted to the Department of Justice. You can find the required form here, which needs to be downloaded and completed for your request. Following this, take it to a live scan site providing fingerprinting services for processing. The Department of Justice maintains a list of such locations. Typically, an arrest record includes information such as:

Why Conduct a Background Check

The California Department of Corrections offers a user-friendly computerized inmate locator for public access. Utilizing the inmate’s last name or prison identification number allows you to conduct a search, although the results provide limited information. The inmate’s profile page typically displays their full name, age, CDCR number, current location, and admission date.

For a more focused arrest search, it’s advisable to explore the websites of individual county sheriff offices. Many counties offer a prisoner lookup tool, aiding in narrowing down search results. For instance, Ventura County provides a site for conducting inmate searches.

In various life situations, determining an individual’s criminal background becomes necessary. Whether you’re in the process of hiring someone and want to ensure they are not wanted by the police, hiring a nanny and need to ascertain their criminal history, or starting a new relationship and aiming to ensure your safety, accessing this information is crucial. Fortunately, obtaining this information is readily available and doesn’t require a significant amount of effort.


If you find yourself facing an arrest warrant in California, it’s crucial to address the matter promptly. For less serious offenses, like an outstanding unpaid traffic ticket, you likely have the option to pay the fine instead of facing arrest. Understanding how to navigate this situation is vital, especially if you’re pulled over for another reason, as it could lead to additional fines and penalties. Keep in mind that regardless of the time that has elapsed since receiving a speeding ticket in California, the active warrant persists on your record until the fine is settled or due to other circumstances.

Disclaimer: OurPublicRecords mission is to give people easy and affordable access to public record information, but OurPublicRecords does not provide private investigator services or consumer reports, and is not a consumer reporting agency per the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You may not use our site or service or the information provided to make decisions about employment, admission, consumer credit, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance.

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