Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quick Access To Florida Free Public Criminal Records

By Ben Kingsley

For those who are looking to conduct criminal background checks in Florida, they might want to check out the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Criminal History Information, which houses thousands of Florida arrest records updated every day. The online site is a self-service application and researchers are required to pay for every search that they make through the online portal.

Although the government's records are considered public property, and therefore open for the public scrutiny, there are some cases, which are restricted meaning that they are not open for the public's eyes. These cases might be sensitive by nature, have already been sealed, expunged and in some instances, juveniles are involved in the cases. These cases are only open to law enforcement agencies.

To ensure faster and efficient services, those who are looking for records can check the site's self-service application. The self-service application costs $24 per search and per report. Should the service return with more than one search, the results are displayed for the researcher to choose which one they want. Each additional report would cost $24.

Credit card information is required before one can access the search query as the FDLE only allows credit card payments. A no-match result will not mean a refund of the $24 that the site charges for each search service. A receipt will be emailed to the researcher once the charge is deducted from the credit card bill. Please note that the site does not keep a record of the searcher's credit card information thus one needs to input manually their credit card bill when doing a research. Once the researcher finds the record that they need, they have the option to print the records or have them delivered to their email address. The FDLE does not send results through regular mail. For request of certification of criminal history, the researcher should not use the self-service application but rather send a request to the FDLE and indicate that the results need to be certified.

For those who cannot access the online application, they can still obtain a copy of the criminal report by printing the criminal history information sheet and send it to the FDLE. Fees and charges may apply and processing can range from two to five days. Please note that although the FDLE houses thousands of records, the office cannot verify the record unless they have in their possession a fingerprint card and that the person in the records has undergone an actual fingerprinting to verify the person's identity.

Do take note that there are some public criminal records that are restricted from the public and can only be obtained by authorized law enforcement agencies. These cases are normally filed under sealed or expunged cases and cases where juveniles are involved. There is another option that is available for individuals who are looking for information and the internet is host to several free online search websites where one can carry out background checks.

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