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San Francisco Arrest, Court, and Public Records

What are San Francisco Public Records?

In compliance with the CPRA, San Francisco public records include any information generated, prepared, used, or retained by state or local agencies—except where restricted by law. San Francisco public records may consist of typewritten or handwritten information. Records may also include pictures or information transmitted by email. Certain portions of a public record may be restricted or redacted from public view if it contains:

  • Private personal information that violates personal privacy
  • Information on pending litigation (attorney work product)
  • Information related to an ongoing law enforcement investigation
  • Preliminary drafts or notes
  • Confidential information
  • Taxpayer information and private financial data

San Francisco Crime Statistics

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) provides citywide statistics on crime trends, traffic statistics, and arrests. It also shares crime data through crime maps and year-end summaries. Data released for 2017 reveal that the city recorded a total of 60,993 crimes. Larceny was the most common property crime with 44,587 cases. Compared to 2016, the city experienced an 11.81% increase in total crimes. Property crimes grew by 14.69% while violent crimes increased by 1.51%. The total number of larceny cases increased by 20.53% and arson reports rose by 18.36%. However, incidences of homicide dropped by 3.45% while auto theft slid by 11.03%.

Are San Francisco Criminal Records Public?

Not all San Francisco criminal records fall under the umbrella of public records. For instance, access to criminal history information compiled by local law enforcement agencies is restricted to a specific group of employers, such as security guard firms, child care facilities, law enforcement, and public utility companies. However, individuals who have been arrested or detained by the San Francisco Police department can request copies of their criminal records by contacting the custodian office.

How to Obtain Police Reports and Arrest Records

The SFPD provides access to public San Francisco records through its Public Record Request portal. Individuals can also sign on to check the status of submitted requests using the platform. The SFPD provides free copies of San Francisco police reports to affected individuals. Requests can be made via email, in person, or by mail. Residents can also make in-person requests at the Record Management office, which is open all through the workweek. To obtain a police incident report via mail, interested parties must send a completed request form in a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the:

San Francisco Police Department,
Records Management,
1245 3rd Street,
San Francisco, CA 94158

Similarly, the California Department of Justice compiles and maintains a statewide criminal record database.

How to Find Sex Offender Information in San Francisco

The California Department of Justice maintains a searchable online registry that provides general information on registered sex offenders residing in San Francisco and other parts of California. The registry contains related sex offender information such as the names (and any known aliases) of sex offenders, physical descriptions, and the addresses on record. It also includes photographs (if available) and zip codes as well as a mapping feature that allows individuals to conduct searches using names or proximity to schools and parks.

How to Find San Francisco Inmate Records

The San Francisco Sheriff Department provides public inmate information via a searchable online inmate locator tool. Members of the public can search for San Francisco inmate records using the first and last name of a suspected inmate. Requesters can also conduct searches using a booking number, or SF number (if known).

How Do I Visit an Inmate in San Francisco County Jail?

Inmate visits only occur on Saturdays, Sundays, and during official holidays. Visits also require booked appointments. Friends and families who wish to visit an inmate must schedule one at least a day before the planned visit. Visiting appointments are limited and issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests must also provide a valid government-issued photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license. Individuals who arrive at the county jail without a valid I.D risk being denied entry. Applicants who submit fraudulent details may lose their visiting privileges. Requesters can verify the location of inmates using the county’s inmate locator tool. Residents can also obtain more information by contacting the custody division of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.

Court Records

Part of the California Judicial branch, the San Francisco County Superior Court provides access to different types of San Francisco court records including administrative records, criminal records, probate records, and traffic records.

Locations of Courts in San Francisco

The City and County is home to four superior courts located at:

San Francisco County Superior Court - Civic Center Courthouse,
400 McAllister Street, San Francisco,
CA 94102,
Phone: (415) 551-4000

San Francisco County Superior Court - Community Justice Center,
575 Polk Street, San Francisco,
CA 94102,
Phone: (415) 551-3837

Francisco County Superior Court - Hall of Justice,
850 Bryant Street, San Francisco,
CA 94103,
Phone: (415) 551-0651

San Francisco County Superior Court - Juvenile Justice Center
375 Woodside Avenue, San Francisco,
CA 94127,
Phone: (415) 682-5100

Are San Francisco Court Records Public?

Not all court records are open to the public. California state law prohibits public access to San Francisco court records involving confidential cases. Examples of cases that may fall under this category include:

  • Juvenile delinquency cases (when a minor is charged with committing a crime)
  • Juvenile dependency cases (where a kid is separated from parents)
  • Civil harassment cases
  • Some divorce cases
  • Child custody cases

Can You Look Up a San Francisco Court Case Online?

Online access to San Francisco court records varies on a case-by-case basis. Some court records can only be accessed by visiting the courthouse and submitting a direct request to the court clerk, while others can be accessed online over the web (remote access). San Francisco court records may be stored in paper or electronic format, depending on the type of record and year when it was filed.

How to Obtain San Francisco Civil Court Case Records

Requesters can obtain civil records in person, by mail, or online. The court provides an online tool that members of the public can use to search for some civil cases by name, filing date, or case number. In-person requests can be made at the public viewing room located at the end of Room 103 in the Civic Center Courthouse (CCC). Interested parties will need to submit a request form detailing their full name, contact address, and the type of information being

sought. Mailed requests should be sent to the

San Francisco Superior Court,
400 McAllister Street,
Room 103
ATTN: Records Clerk San Francisco
CA 94102

The court charges a $15 fee and $25 for certified copies. An additional $0.50 is charged for every extra page. Acceptable forms of payment for in-person requests include cash, check and

credit card, while mail requests must be made with cash only.

How to Obtain San Francisco Criminal Court Records

To obtain San Francisco criminal court records, interested persons must submit a completed records request form in person at the Hall of Justice. Requests can also be made by mail. Requestors must provide their full name and contact information. A $15 fee is charged for searches and $25 for certified copies. Mail requests should be sent to the San Francisco Superior Court at:

850 Bryant Street
Room 101
ATTN: Records Clerk
San Francisco, CA 94103

Conducting a search is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.

What are San Francisco Vital Records?

San Francisco vital records consist of recorded information on life events maintained by the government, such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees. Most records can be obtained by submitting an application to the local custodian agency or department.

Where and How to Obtain San Francisco Divorce Records

The Superior Court of California for San Francisco County maintains records for divorces that occurred within the county. Requests may be made for San Francisco divorce records in person, by mail or online. To obtain San Francisco divorce records, residents will need to submit a completed records request form to the public viewing room located at the Civic Center Courthouse.

Mail-in requests should be sent to the:
San Francisco Superior Court
Attn: Forms Clerk
400 McAllister St., Dept. 103
San Francisco, CA 94102-451

In addition to the completed form, requests should include a stamped self-addressed envelope and a check made payable to the "San Francisco Superior Court." The court also manages an online service platform for accessing case information. It includes family law cases (among others) filed from 1987 to the present. However, using this portal will require a case number for the related divorce case.

Where and How to Get Confidential Marriage Records in San Francisco

The Office of the County Clerk processes requests for certified copies of San Francisco marriage certificates. Members of the public can make requests in person, by mail, or by phone. All applications must be accompanied by a completed marriage certificate application. To facilitate the search for a San Francisco marriage record, requesters will be required to provide the names of the parties involved during the marriage as well as a sworn statement of eligibility. Requesters will also be expected to provide a valid government-issued I.D. Applications are processed at the:

SF County Clerk,
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl.,
San Francisco, CA 94102

Where and How to Get Public San Francisco Marriage Records

The Office of the Assessor-Recorder maintains all public records of marriage licenses issued in the city and County of San Francisco. It also processes requests for public San Francisco marriage records. Requesters can obtain copies of a record by submitting a completed application to the

Office of The Assessor-Recorder,
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall, Room 190,
San Francisco, CA 94102-4698,
Phone: (415) 554-5596,
Fax: (415) 554-7915

Requests must include a self-addressed envelope and a cashier’s check or money order made out to the San Francisco Assessor-Recorded. The office charges $15 for each requested copy.

Where and How to Find San Francisco Birth Records

The SF County Clerk issues copies of San Francisco birth certificates for individuals born more than 3 years prior to the request and back to 1906. Records of individuals recently born within the last three years are held by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In addition, records of births that occurred outside of San Francisco city can be obtained by contacting the county recorder in the county where it occurred.

Obtaining Copies of San Francisco Birth Certificates

The SF County Clerk provides two types of birth certificates: authorized and information. Both options are certified. Authorized copies of a San Francisco birth record are only released to a small group of authorized persons, namely:

  • The registrant (person named on the certificate)
  • Parents or legal guardian
  • Grandparents, child, grandchild, sibling, domestic partner or spouse of the registrant
  • Attorney representing registrant
  • Member of a law enforcement agency conducting official business

In addition, individuals who wish to obtain an authorized birth certificate must sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that they are legally entitled to the document. A non-refundable search fee is charged for obtaining San Francisco birth certificates. If the record is found, the County Clerk will issue a certified copy. A Certificate of “No Record” is issued in instances where no record exists.

To apply for an authorized copy in person, download and complete an application form for birth certificates. Requestors must also provide a valid photo ID that includes their name and date of birth. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license, military identification, and passport. Applications for San Francisco birth records can also be sent by mail. Requests for authorized certificates must be accompanied by a sworn notarized statement, signed and sent in a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the:

S.F. County Clerk
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 168
San Francisco, CA 94102-4678

Processing times for mail-in requests range from seven to ten days from the day of receipt. If a San Francisco birth record is not immediately found on file, processing times may be longer. In such events, the County Clerk forwards the request to the State of California Vital Health Department for a wider search.

The office charges $25 for searching a birth record for individuals and $19 for government agencies. This includes a certified copy if the San Francisco birth certificate is found. It also charges $25 for each additional copy. Payments made be made in cash or credit card when requests are made in person. Mail-in requests must be accompanied by a personal check, money order or cashier’s check made payable to the "SF County Clerk."

Where and How to Find San Francisco Death Records

The San Francisco County clerk issues death certificates for events that occurred 3 years prior and older. Death records for more recent events are issued by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In compliance with the California health code, authorized copies of a San Francisco death record can only be issued to individuals with direct relations to the decedent, namely:

  • A parent or legal guardian of the registrant (the individual named on the certificate)
  • A child or grandchild of the registrant
  • A spouse or domestic partner of the registrant
  • A sibling or surviving next-of-kin of the registrant
  • Individuals with appointed rights as a legal representative or executor of the will
  • Attorney(s) or empowered persons representing the registrant’s estate

To apply for an authorized copy in person, requesters must download and complete an application form for death certificates. The county clerk charges $21 for a death record and $21 for each additional copy. Payments made be made in cash or credit card when requests are made in person. Mail-in requests for a San Francisco death record must be accompanied by a personal check, money order or cashier’s check made payable to the "SF County Clerk."