September 23, 2017, 12:14 am
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General Information About California Court Records and Laws
 You can learn a great deal by searching through California court records. For example, you can find out if someone has changed their name, or if they have been convicted of some kind of crime. If you want to search California court records, then you must first gain an understanding of the way the justice system works in this state.
 About California Courts
One of the few states offering a unified court system, California has superior courts with jurisdiction over both criminal and civil court records. Depending on the case, the superior courts are broke down into divisions. The criminal divisions of the court handle misdemeanors and felonies, while civil divisions are divided according to claim. Limited claims are claims that are under $25,000, while the claims that are over $35,000 are unlimited.
The small claims division of the California court system handles civil claims that are under $7,500 and are eligible for the simplified process of small claims. Restrictions on small claims include financial and other limitations on the use of the small claims process by organizations and businesses.
California court records for cases that include families and children, such as divorce, legal separations and cases of domestic violence are available through the family divisions of the California court system.
Matters such as estate administration, guardianship and wills are handled by the probate division. The juvenile division takes care of legal cases related to neglect, child abuse and juvenile delinquency. Traffic violations go through the traffic division and criminal cases that require rehabilitation over incarceration go through the drug courts.
All California court records for civil cases, juvenile cases and non-capital crime cases are housed by the California Court of Appeals, while records for disciplinary and capital criminal case are housed by the Supreme Court.
 Access to California Court Records
As of January 1, 2010, identifiable judicial administrative records are available for inspection upon request, except for California court records that are exempt from disclosure.
It is important to note that the Administrative Office of the Courts does not maintain records or documents that relate to a specific case filed under the superior courts. In order to obtain such information, you will have to contact the superior court where the case was filed originally.
If you need to request California court records from the judicial council, the appellate courts or the Administrative Office of the courts, you will need to submit proper documentation by email, fax or the postal service. However, it is important to refrain from sending your request in alternate formats, which may delay the processing of your request. On the contrary, if you have a disability alternate request formats are available for you.
You should also note that records or documents that relate to specific cases filed under the superior courts are not maintained by the AOC, such as:
·         Criminal records
·         Complaints
·         Criminal case histories
·         Divorce decrees
·         Traffic tickets
·         Powers of attorney
·         Specific case information
To inspect case files, you will need to contact the superior court where the California court records were filed originally. In addition, each of the superior courts in California is responsible for maintaining their own administrative records. You will need to make a request for the court's administrative records directly from that court.
California Court Records
  • Legislation Records

    State Capitol
    Room B-32 (Legislative Bill Room)
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    p (916) 653-7715
    f (916) 322-1257
  • Statewide Court Records

    Office of Communications
    455 Golden Gate Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94102-3660
    p (415) 865-4200
    f (415) 865-4205

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