Florida Arrest Records
Records of arrest in Florida are files compiled by either state or local authorities. These records detail the circumstances surrounding an individual's apprehension for an alleged criminal act. It usually includes the alleged crime, arrest, booking details, and accusation information.
However, unlike criminal records, these documents do not provide conclusive evidence of illegal activity. Instead, the papers show the detention and investigation of the suspect in the alleged crime.
In the Florida Arrest Records, you will most likely find the following information:
- The suspect's personal information (name, birthdate, nationality, and sex)
- Location of the detention center
- Time and place of the arrest
- The current state of the case
- The arresting agency
- Details about crimes
- Arresting officer's name
Arrest records in Florida are generally open to the public under the state's Sunshine Law. As a result, the public can access and make copies of these records from the appropriate custodian.
Additionally, Florida state law permits employers to inquire about and consider arrest records when making hiring decisions. In certain circumstances, however, a statute or court order may prevent the disclosure of all or part of an arrest record.
What Laws Govern Arrests in Florida?
In Florida, the sheriff in the county where the crime happened issues arrest warrants. Other police officers can't arrest without a warrant unless they are directly chasing criminals or other exceptional circumstances exist.
Under Florida Statutes section 901.15, a police officer can arrest someone without a warrant if one of the following is true:
- The police officer witnessed a crime
- A police officer has justification for an arrest.
- A person has an outstanding arrest warrant but is in another officer's custody.
- An officer suspects domestic or child abuse.
Approximately every few years, the Florida Legislature modifies section 901.15 of the Florida Statutes by adding new crimes to the list of exceptions to the warrantless arrest rule.
As explained in section 316.191(5) of the state's statute, one of the most recent exceptions in the warrantless arrest rule is racing on roadways, road takeover, or stunt driving.
In addition, section 948.06 of the Florida Statutes permits law enforcement officers to arrest without a warrant if they have a reasonable basis to believe that the subject has substantially violated probation or community control.
Without following these laws, the officer's warrantless arrest will be invalid. Consequently, you may file a "motion to suppress the evidence” obtained during an illegal detention or arrest. The prosecutor may drop the charges for lack of evidence if the court grants this motion.
What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Florida?
Arrests in Florida happen in a variety of ways. However, in this state, the arresting officer will read the arrested individual's Miranda rights before handcuffing them. The officer will then put them in a patrol car and drive them to the nearest jail, where the booking process will occur.
In Florida, the booking procedure is a formal entry into the criminal investigation system. In this process, the following will happen:
- The booking officer will collect vital suspect's information (name, birthdate, address, contact number).
- The officer will photograph the suspect and get their fingerprints.
- The booking officer will thoroughly search and confiscate the suspect's belongings.
- The officer will provide the suspect with jail attire and a cell.
A jury will see an arrested individual within 24 hours for a preliminary hearing. On the other hand, if a suspect cannot post bail, they may have to remain in jail until their trial.
What Are Florida Mugshot Records?
An integral part of the Florida Arrest Records is mugshots. These records are arrest booking photos taken by law enforcement agencies of accused or criminals from the front, back, and profile view (from the shoulders up).
Most mugshots in Florida are taken when an officer brings a suspect into the police station. Since they must go through the entire judicial process before being found guilty, this record does not prove anything.
The Florida Sunshine Law makes mugshots public documents. As a result, members of the general public can access these records as they are easily accessible online.
Departments of criminal justice in this state offer online databases for accessing these records. For example, you can locate mugshots on the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) Offender Search website and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Sex Offender Registry.
If the mugshot you need is unavailable online, you can also get it by visiting any Florida police station or the state police department.
How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Florida?
In Florida, individuals arrested can file a petition with the court to either have their arrest records expunged or sealed. However, there is a procedure they must complete to be eligible.
But even if the law automatically sealed the arrest record or sealed it at the request of the record holder, it will remain on file indefinitely. The only distinction is that the public cannot view or copy the record.
Moreover, unless the inquirer requests a thorough criminal report from the FDLE, these arrest details will not appear in regular background checks.
How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Florida?
Those arrested in this state have options for having their Florida Arrest Records removed from public view.
Those who meet specific requirements can have their arrest records in Florida sealed or expunged. Under Florida law, sealing and expunging procedures guarantee that certain arrest records are no longer considered public. Thus, government agencies cannot disclose such records.
The information below will help you understand the difference between expunging a record in Florida and sealing it:
Florida Expungement of Arrest Records
A Florida expungement, also known as an expunction, orders any criminal justice agency in the custody of the record to destroy it, making them inaccessible to anyone. Nonetheless, the FDLE will still keep a copy of the document.
Most arrest records in Florida are eligible for expungement. But before the court removes a record, the petitioner must satisfy the following conditions:
- Expungement is new to the applicant
- The applicant has a dismissed or withdrawn case and was found not guilty
- The applicant has never been found guilty in Florida
After figuring out if they are eligible, the applicant may do the following to expunge their records:
- Make a Certificate of Eligibility application.
- Collect fingerprints from the authorities.
- Get an official copy of how the case turned out from the court clerk that handled the case.
- Submit the finalized Certificate of Eligibility request and certified case disposition to the local state attorney. The office will complete Section B of the application form that requires state confirmation of dismissal or withdrawal of a case.
- Send the notarized or signed application form, Section B, fingerprints, certified case disposition, and payment to the FDLE for processing.
The time it takes to process an application ranges from about three to nine months. Once the court has approved the request, it will issue an order directing the criminal justice agencies and court clerks to expunge the arrest record.
Florida Sealing of Arrest Records
Another option to cover up your arrest record in Florida is through sealing.
The record is only eligible for sealing in Florida if the record holder pleaded "guilty" or "no contest" and the court withheld judgment.
In this state, sealing a record prevents the general public from seeing it. A sealed record will stay in the criminal justice agency's files and will only be accessible to the subject and attorney.
If you were arrested but not convicted of a crime in Florida, you could ask the court to seal the records.
To accomplish this, you must submit a petition to the court and demonstrate that sealing the records is in your best interest. After that, there will be a hearing where each side can present their case to the judge.
To automatically seal the record, the court clerk will submit via electronic means a qualifying certified disposition to the FDLE.
It is worth noting that convictions for certain offenses in Florida, such as sexual charges and domestic abuse, do not qualify for record sealing.
How To Search Florida Arrest Records?
Generally speaking, law enforcement agencies in Florida are responsible for maintaining Florida Arrest Records.
As a result, if you want these records, you must contact the arresting agency, typically the local police department or the county Sheriff's Office. Still, you must understand the many restrictions that may apply when you request these records.
In Florida, most arresting agencies support electronic methods for obtaining arrest records, such as phone calls and email. However, it is advisable to submit the records request in person.
To obtain these records, visit the location of the arresting agency. Usually, the person in charge of the documents will charge a small fee to cover the cost of making a copy of the arrest record. But you can get these records for free if you fill out a fee waiver request.
To locate the appropriate agency's address, consult this directory.
In addition to in-person requests, you can search Florida Arrest Records online for a fee through the FDLE's Criminal History Record Check. FDLE gathered these documents from law enforcement agencies and kept them as part of a person's criminal history.
There are also cases where multiple agencies work together across jurisdictions to arrest in this state. When this occurs, the organization currently responsible for the detainee will be the one to fulfill requests for access to public arrest records.
Counties in Florida
- De Soto
- Indian River
- Miami Dade
- Palm Beach
- Saint Johns
- Saint Lucie
- Santa Rosa
Jails and Prisons in Florida
List of Content
- What Laws Govern Arrests in Florida?
- What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Florida?
- What Are Florida Mugshot Records?
- How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Florida?
- How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Florida?
- How To Search Florida Arrest Records?