Background Check in Florida
There are many instances that may necessitate carrying out a Florida background check. The most common one is related to employment issues. Suppose you want to hire a new worker, will you not want to examine his past? No one wants a worker who has a criminal record for stealing. Another example, your daughter is seeing a new guy. For her own safety (and for your peace of mind), you will want to make sure he is not a former sex offender.
This article was written for the sole purpose of instructing you how to do an online background check. Practically speaking, we will show you how to trace Florida arrest records, warrants and court records. You might be surprised to learn how easy it can be done taking into account that the Internet contains plenty of sources of information.
Finding out whether a person has ever been incarcerated
On a state level, the best place to do a Florida arrest records search is the Computerized Criminal History database. Operated by the FDLE, this official online inquiry tool displays a person’s prior arrests. For your information, each record will demand a $24 dollar fee – which is definitely not cheap.
On a county level, the sheriff websites of the major counties contain an electronic search tool in order to assist users in tracing inmates. For instance, you can initiate a Sarasota County arrest records search here. You will be asked to fill in one of the following criteria: date of incarceration, the detainees’ name or case number. Bear in mind that some the electronic data banks behind these search tools are updated on a daily basis, so you have to constantly keep track of the changes.
When it comes to locating a specific name in the state’s correctional system, we would also recommend conducting a full Florida inmate search by using one of the following online data banks maintained by FDoC:
- The inmate population information search is built to provide you with information on people who are currently held in one of Florida’s prisons and jails.
- The Offender Information Search, on the contrary, shows former inmates. It is highly effective for finding out whether a person has ever served time in prison.
Performing a Florida warrant search
To know whether a person is wanted for a crime, use the Florida Crime Information Center (http://pas.fdle.state.fl.us/pas/restricted/PAS/person/WantedPersons.jsf). It stores warrant information from all of the state’s sheriff offices. The inquiry process is rather simple – you do not need more than a name (though you may use additional criteria, such as a nickname, race, gender and date of birth). The search is free of charge and it will display the following data: the suspect’s name, sex, race, date of birth, physical description and type of offence. It also shows the law enforcement agency that apprehended him or her and the date of the arrest order.
For a more specific inquiry, we suggest using the resources of the county’s sheriff offices. Some of them have online databases available to the public. For example, it is possible to do a Hillsborough County warrant search using this online tool.
Tracing former sex offenders
There is nothing more important than being able to identify sexual predators to make sure your loved ones do not get near them. The FDLA manages an efficient electronic database with which you can search for Florida sex offenders. You have more than one option available: you can conduct a general inquiry; you can concentrate on your immediate surroundings (your neighborhood or your kids’ school) or on academic institutes. Moreover, there is a service which enables you to locate email addresses known to be owned by people convicted of sex offenses.
How can you find Florida court records?
To garner information on a person’s history of convictions, it is necessary to obtain court dockets. That can be done by turning to each county’s clerk of courts and ask for the files. The Sunshine Law from 1967 obligate the government to give access to most types of legal documents, but you will have to file a formal FOIA request. You will have to contact the clerks in the counties for specific instructions.
Alternatively, some clerks offer an access to online searchable databases from which you can extract official files issued by the court. For instance, it is possible to electronically locate Palm Beach County court records at www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/cctrecordsearch.aspx.
Conducting a federal background check
Finally, you can extend your search to the national level by obtaining a copy of your own (and only your own) criminal record (known as an identity history summary check) from the FBI by filing a direct request to the Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS). You will have to do the following:
- Download and fill in a special form.
- Deliver a set of your fingerprints.
- Pay a fee.
- Send the items to the following address: FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request. 1000 Custer Hollow Rd. Clarksburg, WV 26306.