Background checks are fast becoming a standard practice for both recruiting new employees and appraising existing ones. In the interest of security and safety, criminal history record checks have inevitably become the most sought after records as a gauge of human character. For certain sensitive positions, certain form of criminal background check is a pre-requisite to be considered no matter voluntary or employed.
The trend and scenario in Florida is no different from that of the rest of the country. Criminal History Record Check is generally employed to evaluate an individual's suitability for any particular job placement. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) is tasked with maintaining and providing criminal history information to the public.
Per the state laws, Florida arrest records are public records. Unless they are expunged or sealed by the courts, it's possible for anyone to request free arrest records from the responsible government agencies. Admin fees may be required but the records themselves won't be charged. Uniquely, all arrests are recorded regardless of outcome. As a result, even dropped charges, plea bargain and other form of compromise or let-off would still be captured on file, at least at the apprehension stage.
County agencies such as police departments, highway patrols, sheriff's offices and other enforcement agencies all over the state of Florida keep records of all the arrests they make. They also submit them every month to the state repository to be compiled and maintained at state level. In parallel, all Florida arrest records are also reported to higher federal agencies namely the FBI and Justice Department.
Arrest records are commonly used for screening new employees by companies and privately for investigating neighbors, friends, relatives or just about any people. Free arrest records may be obtained from the various county enforcement agencies or the state department. It must be noted that there are restrictions on their official use and treatment. People should check their own arrest records regularly to guard against errors and inaccuracies.
Figuring out the lawfulness in utilizing arrest records especially in official applications such as pre-employment screening is not easy. Lawyers or experts are usually needed. Another practical option is to simply source the arrest information from commercial record providers and let them handle the legality issues. These folks are experts on the subject in their own right. We can then do what we are good at.
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