What defines a Criminal Record in Florida?
A criminal record is an official document that records a person’s criminal history. The information is assembled from local, county and state jurisdictions as well as trial courts, courts of appeals and county and state correctional facilities.
While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, a large percentage of Florida criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report. This report is accessed through a number of courts, police departments, and the official Florida State Records Online Database.
The amount of criminal records information presented on StateRecords.org varies from person to person. This is because different sources often have non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes for data collection. Criminal records in the state of Florida generally include the following subjects:
Florida Arrest Records
An arrest record is an official recording of an incident in which a suspected offender was taken into custody, fined, or questioned by a law enforcement agency. Crimes are sorted into three categories, namely felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. An arrest
is when a person is apprehended and deprived of their freedom by a law enforcement agency. In line with the Miranda Rights, Florida police officers are obligated to inform the target of an arrest that they are being arrested, share the reason for the arrest, notify the arrestee of their right to an attorney, and several other important pieces of information pertinent to the arrestee's rights.
Florida Arrest Warrants
An arrest warrant is an order from a judge or magistrate calling for the arrest or apprehension of a person of interest. A warrant may also be used to authorize a law enforcement agency to search a person of interest’s home, dwelling, place of work, or property. In Florida, the police can arrest a person for committing a crime without an arrest warrant
. This typically only happens in cases where a person commits a crime in the presence of a law enforcement officer.
A misdemeanor is a crime that is considered less severe than a felony, but is serious nonetheless. Like felonies, a misdemeanor charge is designed to match the severity of the alleged crime. While misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, they are still punishable by imprisonment and fines and are classified as a first or second degree.
First degree misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor in Florida and are typically punishable by up to one year in jail, and fines of up to $1,000. One example of a misdemeanor is property theft values at $100 but less than $300.
A felony offense in Florida
is a criminal conviction that is punishable by serving jail time of one year or more, as well as additional fines and penalties depending on the crime. Judges are given the discretion to serve sentences, which is typically meant to match the severity of the crime.
The most serious felonies in Florida include murder in the first degree, which is typically punishable by life in prison, or by the death penalty. A second-degree murder charge, in contrast, carries a penalty of a minimum of 10 years in prison (25 if a firearm is used) and a maximum of life in prison.
Felonies in Florida are classified in order of most severe to least as capital felonies, life felonies, felonies in the first degree, felonies in the second degree, and felonies in the third degree.
Florida Sex Offender Listing
The sex offender registry
is a list of people convicted of committing a crime motivated by sexual interests. This registry is public by law, though whether or not a person is obligated to register on this list is at the discretion of the presiding judge during their trial. A judge may require an offender to register on this list if the crime was sexually motivated, even if the crime itself was not a sex crime.
Florida Serious Traffic Violation
Serious traffic violations typically include instances of willful disregard for public safety, death, serious bodily injury, damage to property, or multiple minor traffic violations. In Florida, a traffic ticket fine may vary depending on which county the offending driver received a citation. In addition to the fine, and accumulating points on the offender’s driving record, other fines and penalties may apply depending on the severity of the crime. The amount of time served imprisoned also varies on the nature of the crime committed.
Florida Conviction Records
A conviction record is a document providing information on an offender who was found guilty, pleaded guilty, or pleaded no contest against criminal charges in a civil, criminal, or military court. Conviction records typically include the name of the person convicted, the sentence they received, the nature of their crime, and other pertinent information involved in the prosecution. A criminal conviction is usually rendered by a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include instances where the person convicted was pardoned or one who had their conviction reversed.
Florida Jail and Inmate Records
Jail and inmate records are official documents of information about a person’s current and sometimes past inmate status. A person who is in jail or considered an inmate is someone deprived of his/her civil liberties while on trial for a crime or serving a prison sentence after being convicted of a crime. Like most states, the Florida Department of Corrections
maintains an inmate database that is searchable online. These records often include the inmate’s name, incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense and sometimes photos.
Florida Parole Information
Parole information includes details on the provisional release of a prisoner who agrees to certain restrictions in exchange for freedom from prison or jail. Parole
is often offered to any prisoner, except in extreme cases such as treason, an impeachment that results in imprisonment, and severe criminal activity. The governor of Florida may issue an executive order to suspend collection of fines and forfeitures and grant reprieves of up to 60 days.
With the approval of two members of their cabinet, the governor may grant full or conditional pardons, restore civil rights, commute punishment, or remit fines and forfeitures for offenses. In cases of treason, the governor may grant reprieves that last from the adjournment of a regular session of the legislature until the next session. At this session, the legislature may grant the pardon or reprieve, or deny it.
Florida Probation Records
Probation records show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. It allows people convicted of a crime in Florida to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they follow the rules specified at the beginning of their probation by the presiding judge.
Probations are issued in proportion to the crime, meaning that the length and nature of the probation differ from case to case. Probation falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised, and intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation with conditions that emphasize punishment and control of the offender within the community.
Florida Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information regarding criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered to be convicted of a crime like an adult but instead are found to be “adjudicated delinquent.” These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
Florida History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Florida criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s, when early efforts were made to centralize and compile criminal data into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error. However, in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of record keeping improved exponentially due to the increased adoption of computers. As a result, the information provided on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.
Florida Megan’s Law
Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and keep up a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government passed an act, requiring that all states set up sex offender registries designed to provide the public with information about those registered.
- Sexual predators (a higher level of offense) convicted for committing or attempting to commit, any of the qualifying crimes specified in Florida Statute, on or after October 1, 1993
- Sexual offenders convicted for committing, or attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit, any of the qualifying crimes specified in Florida Statute and released on or after October 1, 1997.
- Persons required registering in another state or jurisdiction as an offender or predator
- Juveniles adjudicated delinquent on or after July 1, 2007, for committing, or attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit, any of the qualifying crimes specified in Florida Statute when the juvenile was 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense