Correcting Errors in California Department of Justice Criminal History Records

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California Penal Code sections 11120 – 11127.

 

  What is a California Department of Justice Criminal History Record?

  What will be on my DOJ Report?

  Why should I get a copy of my DOJ Report?

  How do I get a copy of my DOJ Report?

  How do I get a copy of my DOJ Report if I live outside of California?

  Need more information on requesting your report?

  I have a copy of my DOJ Report.  What does it mean?

  What if there are errors in my DOJ Report?

  Do I need a lawyer to correct errors in my DOJ Report?

  What if I want a lawyer to assist me?

  I have a FBI Background report and it has errors about my California record.  How do I correct that?

  How long will an offense I committed stay on my record?

  Does everything on my criminal history report get reported out on a background check?

  If I have questions, who can I contact for help?

 

 

What is a California Department of Justice Criminal History Record?

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) is required to keep a record of any individual arrested and/or prosecuted in California. The DOJ gets information from sheriffs, police, probation departments, district attorney offices, and courts.  The DOJ collects the information in a report, commonly called a “rap sheet” or “DOJ report”.

Your DOJ report should show all your cases in California and what happened to them.  Cases that have been purged (destroyed) from court can still show up on your DOJ report.  If a conviction is showing up on your DOJ report, it may be showing up on background checks. 

The report will not show your criminal history for other states or federal convictions.

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What will be on my DOJ Report?

It should show all your detentions, arrests and criminal cases in California and what happened to them.

It will not show your criminal history for other states or federal convictions.

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Why should I get a copy of my DOJ Report?

Individuals have the right to request a copy of their own criminal history record from the DOJ to see if it is accurate and complete.

We strongly encourage everyone to get a copy of their DOJ Criminal History Report.  You need it to:

• correct any errors

• have an accurate record of your conviction history

• be better prepared to answer questions about your criminal history

• clean up your record.  Some courts destroy their court files after a certain period.  We call this “purging” a court file.  Cases that have been purged from court can still show up on your DOJ report.  If a conviction is showing up on your DOJ report, it may be showing up on background checks.  You need the DOJ report to go back to court to seek conviction relief on any case that has been purged from the court files. 

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How do I get a copy of my DOJ Report?

Starting January 1, 2019, the Office of the Public Defender can request the report for you at no cost to you.  To request assistance, please fill out a Fresh Start Request for Assistance form.  You may return the form through email, fax, mail, or drop off at the address below.

Office of the Public Defender                   E-mail: Fresh.Start@sdcounty.ca.gov

Fresh Start Program                                 Fax: (619) 338-4811 (Attn: Fresh Start Program)

451 A Street, Suite 900                              

San Diego, CA  92101

If you want to order the report yourself,  you need to fill out the DOJ Record Request Form, get fingerprinted from a LiveScan operator (cost approx. $15-$25), and pay a $25 DOJ processing fee (unless you qualify for a fee waiver).   The LiveScan operator submits your completed Record Request Form with your fingerprints and processing fee (if needed) directly to the DOJ for you.  Click here for step by step instructions.

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How do I get a copy of my DOJ Report if I live outside of California?

The California Department of Justice has instructions on their website for ordering your DOJ report if you live outside California.  Click here for those instructions.

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Need more information on requesting your report?

The DOJ website has detailed information on how to request your report.      https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/security

You may also call the DOJ: (916) 227-3838.

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I have a copy of my DOJ Report.  What does it mean?

Learning to read these reports takes practice and experience.  Because of the odd format, overlapping material, and incomplete information, even experienced criminal law practitioners are sometimes puzzled by the report.  If you have questions about what is on your report, we recommend showing it to a lawyer with criminal law experience who is used to working with these reports. 

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What if there are errors in my DOJ Report?

We have reviewed thousands of these reports.  Many contain incomplete or inaccurate information.  For example, we have seen cases which have been reclassified as misdemeanors still show up as felonies.   We have seen records not updated to show cases have been dismissed/expunged.  You have the right to correct your report.

Once you receive your Criminal History Report from the DOJ, if you want to challenge the contents, you must complete the "Claim of Alleged Inaccuracy or Incompleteness" form (form BCIA 8706), which will be included with your Criminal History Report.

Mail the completed form, along with a copy of your criminal history record, to the address indicated on the form. Your challenge must specifically state the basis for the claim of inaccuracy or incompleteness and include any available proof or corroboration to substantiate your claim.   For example, you may need to send copies of court documents.

The DOJ will review your challenge and send you a written response, along with an amended copy of your criminal history record if appropriate. If your challenge is denied by the DOJ, you may request the DOJ refer the matter for an administrative hearing.

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Do I need a lawyer to correct errors in my DOJ Report?

Not necessarily.  You can follow the instructions above or on the DOJ website on how to request the report be corrected.   You may need to get certified copies of court records and send them with your request.

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What if I want a lawyer to assist me?

While you do not need a lawyer, you may want one.  You may hire a lawyer, or our office may be able to help you at no cost. 

To request assistance, please fill out a Fresh Start Request for Assistance form.  You may return the form through email, fax, mail, or drop off at the address below.

Office of the Public Defender                   E-mail: Fresh.Start@sdcounty.ca.gov

Fresh Start Program                                 Fax: (619) 338-4811 (Attn: Fresh Start Program)

451 A Street, Suite 900                              

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I have a FBI Background report and it has errors about my California record.  How do I correct that?

The California DOJ provides information to the FBI.  To correct any problems on your FBI report, you need to have the California DOJ send corrected information to the FBI.  Follow the steps to above correct your California DOJ report.   If the DOJ corrects your report, they are supposed to then notify the FBI to correct their records. 

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How long will an offense I committed stay on my record?

The DOJ is required by law to record arrest, detention, disposition, and personal identification information when submitted by a law enforcement agency or court.  The record retention policy of the Department is to maintain criminal history information until you are 100 years old.

Some information, such as minor marijuana offenses, are deleted after a few years.

Having a case dismissed/expunged (PC1203.4) does not remove it from your DOJ report.  If a judge dismissed/expunged your case under PC1203.4, the DOJ report should show the date the case was dismissed/expunged and language like: “DISPO: CONV SET ASIDE & DISM PER 1203.4 PC”.

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Does everything on my criminal history report get reported out on a background check?

It depends.  What gets reported out depends on who is requesting the information and for what purpose.  Your DOJ report is not open to the public.  The DOJ may give all or part of the information on your DOJ report to authorized agencies including law enforcement, licensing agencies, and potential employers. There are many laws restricting who has access to your DOJ report.   There are laws restricting what information potential employers may see and use in deciding to hire you. 

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If I have questions, who can I contact for help?

Please call the Office of the Primary Public Defender at (619) 338-4700 and ask to speak to someone from the Fresh Start Program.  The Office of the Primary Public Defender will assist you even if you had an attorney from the Office of the Alternate Public Defender, a court appointed panel attorney, or you retained an attorney and now cannot afford to pay the attorney for assistance.  You may also e-mail a question to Fresh.Start@sdcounty.ca.gov

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