Florida Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Florida

Florida (aka The Sunshine State) is well-known for its amusement parks, including the Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Aside from tourism, Florida’s major industries include transportation and agriculture. 

It’s the third most populated state, and it has a large population of non-natives. Hence, if you acquire public records of a Florida resident, it will only contain information from the time they have been in the state.

Counties in Florida 

BakerEscambiaIndian RiverMonroeSt. Johns
BayFlaglerJacksonNassauSt. Lucie
CharlotteGulfLeonPalm BeachVolusia
De SotoHighlandsMarionSanta Rosa

Where To Get Public Records In Florida 

Like most states, Florida doesn’t have a single data source. Records are handled by various government agencies. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) manages criminal history records. Criminal justice records, however, are handled by the Department of State. The Florida Courts, on the other hand, maintain information on a court record.

Property records, including land descriptions and deeds, are managed by the Florida County Clerk. For records relating to property taxes, the county property appraiser and the county tax collector are responsible for these.  

Vital records include life events documentation like birth, death, marriage, and divorce. The Department of Health generally maintains such records, but a local agency for health care or the county health care administration where the event occurred could also have copies.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Florida 

Unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature, the Florida Public Records Law states that any records made or received by any public agency are available for inspection. The state also has the Sunshine Law, which mandates access to traditional written documents and records.

Public records requests must be coordinated with the Public Records Coordinator via mail, email, or by phone. One can also visit the satellite office of the respective agency that handles the needed data to request public records in person. There’s a minimal fee, and if a request needs extensive resources, agencies are allowed to charge additional fees.

In some counties, some records are also accessible online like criminal history records and inmate or arrest records. While it’s recommended you visit the courthouse where the case was filed, certain court records can be found online.

In most cases, vital records are only released to people on file like an immediate family member. You may reach out to the Department of Health, or access their online site partner

Florida has also put in place an information locator where several public records can be accessed by anyone. With the power of technology, one can now also find information on someone through social networking sites or an online people search engine.

Florida Background Check Reports

Most background checks in Florida are conducted to provide safer and better services to children, elderly and disabled individuals, or those with mental health conditions. 

Regarding employment background checks, they can only be requested for pre-employment purposes. Public or private employers in Florida are legally allowed to inquire about a potential hire’s criminal conviction records, including felony, a first-degree misdemeanor, or domestic violence. Candidates, however, are not legally obligated to disclose sealed or expunged records. Nevertheless, employers can use criminal convictions to disqualify someone from employment opportunities.

Florida does not enforce additional restrictions on the background and criminal history checks beyond those imposed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Background checks may be requested online, via mail, in person, or through the phone. One may also utilize a third-party, non-FCRA regulated background screening unit online

Florida Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Background Checks

What Shows Up On A Background Check In Florida?

The information that appears depends on the background check being conducted and by whom. With Criminal Background Checks, a person’s entire criminal history including charges and convictions. If an employer is running a background check on you, they will be able to view information including your credit report and criminal history going back 7 years. 

How Many Years Can An Employer Go Back On A Background Check In Florida?

Abiding by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employers can only view an applicant’s criminal history for the past 7 years. 

How Much Does A Level 2 Background Check Cost In Florida?

To run any public background check in Florida, including a Level 2 Background Check, a fee of $24 must be paid. 

How Long Is A Level 2 Background Check Good For Florida?

A Level 2 Background check on an employee or individual in Florida must be conducted every 5 years. 

How Do You Get A Felony Off Of Your Record In Florida?

To get a felony conviction removed from your Florida criminal record, you must file a petition to expunge your record with the court the conviction occurred. If approved, the conviction will be completed removed from your record.