What is a background check?
A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history.
Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.
For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.
How do I run a criminal background check in Florida?
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Criminal History Information on the Internet website allows individuals to run a criminal history search on any person with records in the Florida database.
Name search results will yield any criminal history information the agency has on a person that exists in their directory, including arrest records and conviction records.
Here is key information on the FDLE Criminal History Search Tool:
- Each name search costs $25, which includes a $1 credit card processing fee
- A search yields as many as 5 possible candidates, however, it may also return no matches
- Requesting the record of any additional candidate costs an additional charge of $25 per record
- Users can print the results or have them emailed, but they can not be sent through postal mail
- The results of the search are not certified.
- The search will only yield juvenile criminal history results when the offense committed would be a felony if committed as an adult
A certified Florida criminal history is required in order to challenge an arrest record in the state. For a certified criminal history, contact FDLE Criminal History services at [email protected].
What can I do if my Florida criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?
The FLDE allows individuals to challenge any inaccurate or incomplete information on an arrest record. To do this you will need:
- A certified copy of your criminal history (available by contacting the FDLE at [email protected])
- A copy of your fingerprints on an official fingerprint card taken by a local police department or sheriff’s office.
- A completed and signed Personal Review of Florida Criminal History Record Form
The completed form and fingerprint card should be mailed to the following address for review:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Criminal History Services
PO Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the challenge process, call the Criminal History Record Maintenance Section at (850) 410-7898 or email them at [email protected].
How do I search Florida court records?
The Florida Courts Online Public Docket is available online. Click here to visit the site. Six online public dockets are made available, including:
- Supreme Court
- First District Court of Appeal
- Second District Court of Appeal
- Third District Court of Appeal
- Fourth District Court of Appeal
- Fifth District Court of Appeal
Individuals may search for court records of the six online dockets by:
- Case number
- Party or Attorney
- Date Filed
- Cases Filed
However, the following court records can only be obtained by contacting a local trial court:
- Criminal court records
- Divorce orders
Visit this page to find the contact information of your local trial court.
Where can I find Florida driving records online?
There is no official means of obtaining a Florida driving record online, although there are a number of paid online services allowing you to order driving records that can be found through a Google search.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles instructs individuals to visit any driver’s license service center in the state in order to purchase a 3-year, 7-year, or complete driving record. Driving records can also be purchased from a private vender or participating court clerk office.
Alternatively, individuals can purchase a driving record through the mail by completing and signing the Driver License Record Request Form and mailing it, along with the necessary fee in a check or money order, to:
Bureau of Records
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS 52
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0575
How do I look up Florida vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?
Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request.
Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check.
The Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics enlists the services of the private company Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories.
Available vital records include:
- birth certificates
- death certificates
- marriage records
- divorce records
Click here to place an order with Vital Chek. For more information, contact the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics at (904) 359-6900.
Another option is ordering a copy of a Florida vital record through a local County Health Department. Click here for Florida County Health Department contact information.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Florida?
Those convicted of a sex-related crime and/or a specific crime against children in Florida must have their information included in the Florida Sex Offender Registry. The FDLE makes this information publicly available and searchable in the interest of public safety.
Users can use the FDLE Sexual Offenders and Predators Search in order to:
What are the Florida background check laws for buying a gun?
- Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers in all 50 states to perform a background check prior to the sale of a firearm.
- Florida is a point of contact state for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. Therefore, licensed firearms dealers in Florida must start a background check before the sale of a firearm by contacting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
- Firearms can only be sold by a licensed dealer in Florida after receiving a completed form from the potential buyer, performing a background check with the FDLE, and receiving an approval number from the FDLE.
- Concealed weapons license holders are exempt from Florida background check requirements.
- In Florida, private sellers are not required to perform a background check when transferring a firearm.
Source: Giffords Law Center
How do I perform a credit history background check in Florida?
Performing a credit check in Florida follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:
In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social security number