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How do I get a free copy of my criminal record?

San Diego, CA |

Looking for a new job, I want to get a copy (preferably for free) of my criminal record, how can I achieve this?

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Attorney answers 3


If you go to the police station where you live, you can get one from the records section there. It will not contain records from pending but not charged events. You can also try the state police. There it would likely be a state wide record. At least thats how it is in Virginia where I practice. If you are looking for federal charges, that office is different. I've done it before. It is a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the FBI. I cannot tell you the address though. Its been a while. Good luck with this.

[Note: Consistent with Avvo policy, this communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]

Brian Geno
Geno Law Firm
Red Maple Court Office Condominiums
10617 Jones Street, Suite 201-B
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-691-GENO (4366) Office
703-691-4774 Fax Email Web


Don't waste your time by following the advice above. Maybe police departments in Virginia will give you your criminal record, but it isn't going to happen in California. Filing a Freedom of Information request is time consuming and complicated.

You can get your criminal history ("rap sheet") from the California Department of Justice for $25. You will also need to get fingerprinted at your local law enforcement agency.

The complete instructions are at:


Mr Marshall is as correct as Mr Geno is flat out wrong. If you folllow Mr. Marshall's instructions you'll have your criminal record in about two weeks.

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