Are Criminal Records Public in Florida?

If you were arrested for a crime in Florida, or if you were arrested and convicted of a crime, you may be wondering if your criminal record is public information. Trust me, you are not the first or the last person to wonder about this; clients ask me about this often. Usually, they want to know if their boss, a prospective employer, or their ex can find out about their arrest or conviction if they try hard enough.

The answer to your question is, yes, your criminal record information is public and if someone is willing to put in the time and effort to uncover it, they can unless your criminal record was sealed or expunged. So, whether this person works for a college you want to attend, or if they’re a future employer, or if it’s your ex or someone you met online and they want to check you out before meeting you, a little digging may turn up what they’re looking for. Sorry if that disappoints you.

Florida’s Law on Criminal Records

Under Section 943.053 of the Florida Statutes, adult criminal history records are public, unless the person’s criminal record has been sealed or expunged. A “criminal record” isn’t limited to convictions. It can include any history of arrests, convictions, charges, and case dispositions explain the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

  • If a criminal record is “sealed,” it means it’s under highly-restricted access, so only specific agencies can see it.
  • If a criminal record is “expunged,” it has been removed from various computerized systems, or the files have been physically destroyed.

Accessing Someone’s Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record here in Florida, a private citizen can go to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website to obtain your criminal history information. The FDLE’s Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), “...is the central repository for criminal history information,” explains the FDLE’s website. Currently, the fee for a public request is just $24.00. To learn more about how someone can obtain your criminal record, click here.

Surely, the idea of someone being able to access your criminal record history, even if it’s only for an arrest, can be unsettling. If you are interested in having your record sealed or expunged, please contact my Miami criminal defense firm. In free case evaluation, we can explore the options available to you.

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