Getting your criminal history from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE] helps in the expungement process by:
- Provides exactly what FDLE is selling.
- Shows any inaccuracies that needs to be fixed prior to sealing or expunging.
- Confirms whether you qualify based on Florida arrests.
What is a Criminal History
A criminal history (commonly called a “background check”) is a record maintained by the government that starts with the arrest (which includes “notices to appear”). It will include:
- The date of arrest.
- What agency arrested you.
- The charges you were arrested for.
- The official charges the State Attorney filed against you.
- The disposition of the charges.
- Any violations of probation.
Additionally, it will have dates, places, and the who, what, and where.
No matter what the outcome of your case, whether it was dismissed, dropped or never filed on, the criminal history will always show that you were arrested and what you were arrested for.
A criminal history is a public record and is freely available to the public. Private companies buy these public records and sell them.
Obtaining a Background Check
The background check (or more properly called a criminal history) that you want to obtain is the one from the government, in this case the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE].
F.D.L.E. Background Check; Florida Only
The FDLE provides an official criminal background check only for Florida. A criminal background check through FDLE can be obtained on their website. This only provides information for Florida.
There are two types of criminal histories you can receive from FDLE.
The Instant Search is $24 and the results are based on personal information you supply. This can be done over the internet and the results are immediate. The Personal Review requires you to fill out a downloadable form. You must send in the completed form to FDLE with a set of your fingerprints. This can take several weeks.
F.D.L.E. Background Check; Florida and National
FDLE also provides a national background check however, these are only for entitled entities that are required to do level 2 background checks on their employees.
If you need to find out what happened after your arrest in another state, you need to request the criminal history from that state’s agency. You can also request information from the FBI.
Criminal History Checks in States Other than Florida
You may have an arrest in another State. If you do not know the outcome of that criminal case you will need to obtain your criminal history from that State or a national criminal history from the FBI (above).
Many people believe that lawyers have unlimited access to thorough background checks. This is not true. Attorneys can log on to additional information provided by certain Clerks of Court but this is far from a background evaluation to determine your eligibility to expunge or seal your record.
Like everyone else, we must pay for a service and from there make any required inquiries from the courts that are necessary. This can be expensive. We want to be as thorough with our expungement qualification evaluation as possible while at the same time be convenient for you.
This is why we ask you to obtain a criminal history for yourself. If you do not run a criminal history, as suggested above, we make our determination based on the information you have provided and any information we can find through Clerk of Court free online services.
Contact Our Office for More Information
Go to the contact page to see all the methods to contact our office or fill out the form below.
More information about Florida Expungements and Sealings:
- What is a Florida Expungement (Sealing)
- Qualifying for a Record Expungement (Sealing)
- Getting Started Expunging (Sealing) Your Arrest Record
- What to do after Your Record is Expunged (Sealed)