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Permanent public records exist that outline the details of your Pinellas County criminal case. These records are maintained by the police agency who initiated the investigation, the State Attorney’s Office, the Clerk of Court, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Corrections, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. NCIC and FCIC “Rap-sheets” are also available that make the information about your arrest easily accessible. You may be eligible to seal criminal records.
|Watch our video to learn how a sealing or expungement can erase your criminal record.|
Employers, co-workers, neighbors, credit agencies, colleges, landlords, licensing authorities, (i.e. real estate, securities broker, mortgage/banking, health care) and any other person who wants to run a background check on you, has easy access to this public information.
Free online information regarding your criminal case is instantly available from the Pinellas County Clerk of Court. Click Here To Access Online Pinellas County Criminal Court Records.
Certified copies of all documents associated with your criminal court case are available to anyone who visits or writes to the Pinellas County Clerk of Court. Click Here for More Information on Obtaining Certified Copies of Documents Related to Your Criminal Court Case.
Criminal history arrest records are available to inquiring members of the public through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The (FDLE), Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), is the central repository for criminal history information for the state of Florida. In addition to maintaining criminal history information, it is the responsibility of FDLE under Florida law to provide public access to this data. Inquiring members of the public have easy access to the FDLE “criminal records check” website ordering page. There is a nominal $23.00 administrative fee that is paid by inputting your credit card information. Within moments, the FDLE site then displays the sought after criminal history record background check. Those persons who lack a major credit card can still gain access to the criminal arrest history by mailing a check or money order along with a completed “Criminal History Request Information Form” to:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
User Services Bureau
Criminal History Services
P.O. Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302
When the Pinellas County Circuit Court grants a petition to seal criminal records, a certified copy of that court order is sent to the following governmental agencies directing them to immediately remove from public view or physically destroy their records:
With limited exception, you may thereafter truthfully state that you were never arrested, charged, or accused of a crime. In the eyes of the law, the entire incident never occurred. In most respects, a sealing or expungement restores you to the status you occupied before being arrested or charged. It makes all of the official federal, state and local government information about your case non-existent to inquiring members of the public, licensing authorities, landlords, and employers running background checks.
Although the Florida Legislature values the public’s right to open information about criminal cases, it also recognizes the importance of providing individuals (who were not adjudicated guilty) with the opportunity to move on with their life. The sealing or expungement of their criminal records frees them from the stigma of their arrest and can be instrumental in facilitating rehabilitation and a law abiding life. As one court wrote: “The policy of public access to old records must be weighed against the long-standing public policy of providing a second chance to criminal defendants who have not been adjudicated guilty.” State v. D.H.W., 686 So.2d 1331, 1334 (Fla.1996).
The cost of a sealing or expungement may be less than you think. In most cases, this remedy can be secured without the need for you to make further court appearances.