Table of Contents
Florida Public Records Laws
Florida’s Public Records Act grants individuals the statutory right to access and inspect many of the state’s public records. The information included within this ruling consists of records produced by the state, municipal or county level government units. Also, any information regarding private or third-party institutions acting on behalf of these government units are considered to be under the scope of public record. These records are available for personal inspection or copying by any individual upon request.
Types of documents able to be accessed include maps, tapes, documents, sound recordings, video recordings and photographs. In addition, all materials made or received by an agency that pertain to their official business are accessible by the public.
Although the categorization of accessible information is broad in Florida, there are literally hundreds of specific exemptions that agencies can levy in order to deny requests for public records, all of which can be found in chapter 119 of Florida’s state statute.
For more information regarding Florida’s public records law, examine chapter 119 of the Florida State Statutes in its entirety.
Florida Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains multiple criminal history information databases, and they process requests made by the public to access these histories. A fee has been implemented for accessing criminal history record checks, and it must be paid each time a record check is requested whether it is approved or denied.
The information held within the databases has been made available by Florida’s central repository for criminal history information. Requests for criminal history records and arrest records can be made through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website. The ability status for an inmate to be bailed is also present, as well as their account balances if any apply.
State issued background checks are also the responsibility of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Florida Jail and Inmate Records
Florida jail and inmate records are made available through the Florida Department of State. These records are available by county search as well as inmate name. The first and last name of the inmate is accessible, as well as the type of violation they have been charged with and where they were arrested. In most cases, the name of the arresting officer is also available.
More information regarding Florida’s jail and inmate records can be found within Florida’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.
Florida Court Records
Florida State Court Records are made available upon request through the court or county in which a case took place. Requests for copies of court records can be made in person, by mail or through email. Fees are often associated with such requests and a waiting period of at least 5 days should be allowed for delivery.
The Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator can be contacted for further clarification about requesting and accessing Florida Court Records.
Florida Vital Records
The Florida Department of Health maintains and distributes the Florida Vital Records upon request. Vital statistics consist of birth, death, fetal death, marriage and divorce records. These vital records may be needed for gaining passports, school entrance or employment.
For birth records, Florida has computer access to instances dating from 1917 to present. Although earlier instances of divorce and marriage may be attainable, the law providing for the centralization of these records was put in place in 1927, so attempting to procure records dated prior might prove sporadically successful.
Information regarding Florida vital records and certificates can be requested through the Florida Department of Health website. Tabs indicating birth, death, divorce or marriage records are present on the left hand side of the webpage.