Utilizing public record databases to find criminal, civil, or traffic violations in South Florida became a little easier on Friday with the release of an updated and semi-comprehensive list of online resources.
Locating and identifying criminal history, civil litigation or traffic infraction history is but a click away. Access to resources relating to inmates, those on probation, parole or community control, sex offenders or missing children, in addition to stolen property or vehicles, is readily available as well.
“Comprehensive background checks are a necessity in today’s society,” Rico Petrocelli of Petrocelli & Associates in Plantation told South Florida Reporter. “A background check is basically a report on an individual. It typically includes criminal history, financial history, education history, public records, or any combination of reports.”
While far from exhaustive – but a start – suggested below are some of the free or low-cost options available when conducting background research in South Florida.
Basic background checks
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement– For a modest fee of $23.00, you can obtain an individual’s criminal history record in Florida.
- Broward County court records –Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
- Miami-Dade County court records –Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
- Monroe County court records– Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
- Palm Beach County court records– Search civil, criminal and traffic courts through the Clerk’s office.
- Florida Offender Alert System– Sign up to receive an email alert when a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
- Florida Sex Offender Registry– Locate registered sex offenders by name, city, address or zip code.
- Sex offender screen names– Check a computer screen name or email address to determine whether it’s linked to a registered sex offender in Florida.
- National and other state sex offender registries– Search the national database, or select a state to view a particular registry.
Jail and state prison inmates
- Broward County Jail inmates– Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Broward County.
- Miami-Dade County Jail inmates– Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Miami-Dade County.
- Monroe County Jail inmates– Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Monroe County.
- Palm Beach County Jail inmates– Search for inmates currently incarcerated in Palm Beach County as well as those released within the last 12 months.
- Florida Department of Corrections– Search for inmates currently incarcerated or recently released, as well as those on probation, parole, community control or other form of non-custodial release.
Wanted and missing persons
- Florida Missing Children Search– Search for a missing or endangered person directly at the state Missing Children Information Clearinghouse.
- Missing Persons Search– Search for a missing person directly at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children– Search for several national resources for missing children.
- Wanted Persons Search– Search for felony or misdemeanor warrant information as reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
- Wireless Amber alerts– Sign up for free wireless Amber alerts directly to your cell phone.
- Florida Crime Information Center– Search for information on whether a vehicle, vehicle parts, boats, license plates, decals, guns and other items were reported lost or stolen in Florida.
- VINCheck– Search the National Insurance Crime Bureau database to see if a vehicle has been reported stolen.
“Pre-employment background checks are an important part of our hiring process,” Bob Simon of Pines Auto LLC in Davie, told South Florida Reporter. “We recently learned that one of our potential hires had several liens and a bankruptcy, along with an outstanding warrant for domestic violence. Obviously, we didn’t hire this individual.”