Is My Arrest Record Public?

February 28, 2022 Criminal Defense

Arrest records usually contain incredibly private and oftentimes embarrassing information about the offender. Many arrested individuals agonize over the possibility of someone happening upon their arrest record on the internet or learning about it through the grapevine and looking it up, reading every gory detail. In this blog post, we will explore the visibility of Florida arrest records.

What is an Arrest Record?

According to Florida’s state records government website:

Florida arrest records are officially recorded documents that feature information regarding a person or persons following their alleged involvement in criminal activity. These records often include details of the suspected crimes as well as the relevant information regarding the data and may include any applicable indictment information. As per Florida’s Miranda Rights, law enforcement agencies are obligated to inform an arrestee 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. However, arrests and arrest records are not considered sufficient proof of criminal activity but only indicate that the subject was detained and questioned regarding a crime.

What is Usually Included in an Arrest Record?

Arrest records can contain incredibly personal or revealing information, including:

  • The personal information of the person arrested, including their full name, gender, birthday, ethnicity, height, etc.
  • Information regarding the arresting officer, agency, and any detention or holding facility
  • The time and place of the arrest
  • The current status of the case
  • The details of the criminal offense

Are they Public or Private?

Unfortunately, arrest records are generally public in the State of Florida. However, unlike criminal records which can be searched on third-party websites, arrest records generally must be obtained by visiting the arresting agency like the police department or Sherriff’s office.  Sometimes, if the arrest crosses jurisdictions and implicates several agencies, the requesting individual must go to the agency that possesses custody of the arrested person.

Can Someone Get My Arrest Record Online?

Yes, most arresting agencies allow requesters to obtain arrest records on the internet through email or even through phone calls. But arresting agencies advise that the requester visit in person to obtain arrest records. Usually, there is a fee associated with obtaining someone’s arrest record. This can be waived by the requester’s submission of a fee waiver request.

How to Keep My Criminal Records Private

In select situations (select used very literally since Florida is an incredibly harsh state to privatize criminal records) offenders can get their criminal records sealed or expunged.

Sealing a Record:

When a record is sealed, it is not available to the public. Information will be removed from the Criminal Information Justice System. The records will not be found through a background check. But government entities might still have access to it, like law enforcement.

Expunging a Record

Expungement results in more privacy than sealing does. In essence, the records are destroyed everywhere. The only place that will have a copy will be the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. No one else will have access to the information absent a court order.

Unfortunately, only a select few individuals are eligible for sealing or expunction in Florida. To find out more, visit our blog post here.

Public Policy Concerns Around Public Arrest Records

Many states elect to keep arrest records private. Some reasons for this include:

  • Unfair prejudice to the person arrested
  • Incorrect information on the arrest record
  • Danger of violence or threat to the arrested individual
  • Discrimination against the arrested individual

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney

Arrests can result in life-changing consequences. But an arrest record is still far better than a criminal record bearing a conviction. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a crime in Florida, contact a qualified Tallahassee criminal defense attorney. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm will fight your charges aggressively and ensure every defense applicable is explored in your favor. Contact us today at (850) 681 – 7777 or send an online message to speak with an attorney in our legal team during an open and free consultation.

Written by Gabi D’Esposito

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