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Bay County Arrest Records

According to Florida Statutes, Chapter 901, law enforcement officers may arrest someone for committing a felony, misdemeanor, or violating a county ordinance based on reasonable grounds or evidence (that is, probable cause). Many arrests in Bay County occur at the scene of a crime, in fresh pursuit if an offender refuses to surrender voluntarily or after issuing an arrest warrant.

Once an arrest is made, the arresting officer will transport the person to the Bay County Jail Facility at 5700 Star Lane, Panama City, for booking. This process includes:

  • Thoroughly searching the offender and documenting personal property
  • Collecting fingerprints and DNA
  • Photographing the offender
  • Medical screening
  • Assigning temporary housing

The officer may also look for outstanding warrants in other jurisdictions. If bail cannot be determined from a pre-set bond schedule due to the severity of the charge, then the person will be scheduled for a first appearance hearing within 24 hours of booking.

Following arrests, an arrest record is created. This record is vital in court proceedings since it provides insight into a person's criminal history. Anyone can request arrest records from the agency that performed an arrest. Individuals can also search Bay County Court Records, as arrest information constitutes part of the records generated from criminal proceedings.

Are Arrest Records Public in Bay County?

Yes, arrest records are considered public records in Bay County. Florida's Sunshine Law mandates government-owned establishments, including law enforcement agencies, to grant public access to non-confidential records. In this regard, members of the public may inspect and make copies of public records without stating the reason for use.

Nevertheless, Section 119.071 outlines specific arrest information and records that are exempt from public disclosure:

  • Information that may endanger a person's life
  • Sensitive personal information, like social security, bank account, and credit card numbers
  • Arrest record of children under the age of 18
  • An arrested person's confession that may be pivotal to an ongoing investigation
  • Investigative information
  • Criminal intelligence information
  • The identity of the victims of child abuse and sexual offenses
  • Medical history records
  • Arrest records sealed or expunged by a court order

However, criminal justice agencies may retain access to confidential records for official and investigative reasons.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

Bay County public arrest records provide information about a person's apprehension, detention, and arrest outcome. They include:

  • Arrestee’s Personal Identifying Information: Full name, alias(es), date of birth, sex, race
  • Physical Descriptors: Height, weight, hair color, and eye color
  • Arrest Details: Date, time, location of the arrest; arresting agency; and arresting officer
  • Offense: Type of offense, description, statute, and bond amount
  • Booking Information: Date, time, booking number, mugshot, and detention facility
  • Outstanding Warrants
  • Status of Release
  • Case Number

Bay County Crime Rate

The latest Florida County Crime Report published by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement puts the total number of index crimes in Bay County at 4,596 in 2021. This data shows a significant 15.6% decrease in the county's total reported crimes compared to the previous year.

Of the reported crimes, larceny, burglary, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, and rape ranked as the five topmost offenses. Larceny constituted 2,836 incidents, followed by burglary at 591, aggravated assault at 656, motor vehicle theft at 306, and rape at 139 occurrences.

Bay County's 2021 crime rate was 2,577.9 per 100,000 people, a 17.4% decrease from last year.

Bay County Arrest Statistics

The FDLE's 2021 County And Municipal Arrest Report revealed 15,079 arrests in Bay County. Of this number, 14,126 were adult arrests, and 953 were juvenile arrests.

Bay County recorded an 8,457.9 arrest rate per 100,000 population in 2021. The top five crimes constituting the bulk of arrests were drug violations (2,608 arrests), followed by larceny (1,506), simple assault (1,420), burglary (734), DUI (647), and aggravated assault (537).

Find Bay County Arrest Records

The Bay County Sheriff's Office and the municipal police departments are the first points of call for arrest records in Bay County. Inquirers can request and obtain these records in person, by mail, fax, or email, depending on the request method(s) an agency recommends.

County Sheriff's Office:

Bay County Sheriff's Office has a dedicated Custodian of Public Records where people can obtain non-confidential arrest and public records under the Florida Sunshine Law. A requester may be asked to submit personal identifying information about the record's subject.

Inquirers can submit public record requests by phone, fax, or mail to:

Bay County Sheriff's Office
3421 North Highway 77
Panama City, FL 32405
Phone: (850) 747-4700
Fax: (850) 914-2093

The custodian may charge fees for public record requests. Fees can be paid by cash, check, credit card, money order, or public records portal (GovTransfer).

Municipal Police Departments

Interested persons can also obtain arrest records from police agencies within their jurisdiction, such as the Panama City Beach Police Department or Lynn Haven Police Department, by observing their respective instructions.

Admittedly, police departments can only disclose arrest records in their custody. Many Bay County police departments (like Callaway) also contract with the Bay County Sheriff's Office to uphold law and order. In this regard, the Bay County Sheriff's Office serves as the records custodian and should be contacted for files.

The State Department of Corrections

Interested individuals can explore the Offender Search system maintained by the Florida Department of Corrections to obtain conviction information of offenders who may have been arrested in Bay County but were sent to state prison. The system can be searched using a subject's name or DOC number.

The search results will reveal the inmate's personal information, including name, mugshot, birth date, sex, race, sentencing county, current custody, holding facility, offense, confinement status, sentence date, and case number.

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

To find a person in federal custody, individuals can explore the BOP's Federal Inmate Locator. However, the tool does not provide arrest information; it only provides the facility where a person is being held. One may obtain such information by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the BOP.

Similarly, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides an Online Detainee Locator System for finding persons in ICE custody.

Free Arrest Record Search in Bay County

Per Florida's Sunshine Law, members of the public can obtain public arrest records at no cost in Bay County. Local police agencies may also provide online search portals where anyone can perform free arrest records searches without waiting in a queue at a physical location.

For example, the Bay County Sheriff's Office maintains an Inmate Locator Portal, where people can quickly look up arrestees booked into the county jail. Visitors can perform a search using the subject's last and first name.

Individuals can also perform arrest record searches on third-party aggregator websites for free. These websites are a convenient alternative for anyone seeking a statewide search. However, although most third-party sites provide free searches, users may need to pay a one-time fee or subscribe to view an arrest record.

Get Bay County Criminal Records

Criminal records bear information about someone's contacts with criminal justice agencies, from arrest to conviction and beyond.

Interested persons may query different criminal justice agencies for a Bay County criminal record, such as the county courts, the state attorney's office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Nevertheless, the FDLE's Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) provides the most comprehensive access to criminal history information, given that it serves as the statewide repository for criminal history records.

Inquirers have three ways to obtain criminal records from the FDLE:

Instant Search

The instant search service allows the user to obtain Computerized Criminal History (CCH) files immediately after initiating a search.

However, people cannot obtain printed copies of criminal records via the system.

Certified/Non-Certified Search

To obtain certified/non-certified criminal records, interested individuals can explore the FDLE's SHIELD Search portal. Certified copies of criminal records can be submitted for licensing, employment, housing, or as part of a loan requirement.

Inquiries are expected to submit personal identifying information about the record's subject, such as their name, birth date, and address. This ensures the accurate processing of criminal records. Within seven days, the agency will notarize and return identifiable records by regular mail.

Originating Agency Identifier Search

An ORI Search is typically for anyone requesting criminal records directly from a law enforcement agency. A valid ORI number is required for this search.

Generally, criminal record searches cost $24, including a $1 card processing fee. However, ORI searches vary based on statute, agency, or authorized entity. Fees are payable by credit or debit card at the time of the request.

Another option that individuals have, especially with several out-of-state arrests, is to query the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for criminal records. Unlike the FDLE-issued criminal records, only record holders can request an FBI rap sheet. Interested people can hire an FBI handler or submit an online request. Each record search costs $18.

Bay County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

An arrest record reveals information about a person's initial encounter with law enforcement officers. However, the record does not reveal what happened to the suspect afterward. Conversely, a criminal record is a compilation of an individual's criminal history, including previous arrests, legal proceedings, and convictions.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

Indefinitely. Arrests may stay on a person's record forever, until death. However, Florida statutes allow people to request an expungement or sealing of eligible arrest records.

Expunge Bay County Arrest Records

People who wish to erase the existence of their arrest records can apply for a court-ordered expungement or sealing. Anyone whose arrest records are expunged or sealed in Bay County is lawfully authorized to state that the records do not exist except on certain applications.

According to Florida Statutes 943.059 and 943.0585, only eligible persons can apply for an expungement or sealing of arrest records. However, certain arrest records are ineligible for expungement under § 943.0584. These include severe felonies or misdemeanors like child neglect, sexual misconduct, manslaughter, aggravated stalking, arson, and aggravated child abuse.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • The petitioner was arrested, but the court dismissed all charges or filed none. Perhaps the arrest was made by mistake or contrary to state statute or county ordinance.
  • The petitioner has fulfilled all court disposition requirements, and they are not subject to court supervision.
  • The petitioner has not received a sealing or expungement before, except that an expungement is sought for a record previously sealed for 10 years under paragraph (h), and it [the record] is otherwise eligible for expungement.

The first step individuals must take in the expungement process is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility with the FDLE (see FAQs). The procedure costs $75. If the FDLE approves the application, the petitioner can proceed to file for relief with the Bay County Court Clerk's Office. The clerk can provide expungement forms, including the petition, needed for the process.


  • Applications to the FDLE typically take 90 business days to process.
  • Once the court approves an expungement or sealing, the order will be sent to the respective agencies maintaining the arrest records.
  • An expungement order cannot wholly erase online traces of one's arrest records, especially on third-party aggregator websites.

Bay County Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant is an official paper issued and signed by a judge or magistrate that authorizes law enforcement officers to apprehend and take named individuals into custody.

Before a judge issues a warrant in Bay County, they must find probable cause in the complaint submitted by law enforcement. Probable cause may be established by evidence from an ongoing criminal investigation, reliable witness testimony, or surveillance footage that proves the named person committed an alleged offense.

Besides a crime, a court may issue an arrest warrant for anyone who fails to meet the court's demands. For example, when a person fails to adhere to a court summons, pay court fines, or violates their probation/parole terms.

Generally, an arrest warrant issued in Bay County identifies the suspect. It also lists the alleged offense, the bail amount, the warrant issuance date, and the name/signature of the issuing judge or magistrate.

Each Bay County arrest warrant directs the executing officer to bring the suspect before the court to defend the charges against them.

Bay County Arrest Warrant Search

Individuals seeking a Bay County arrest warrant search can contact the Warrant Division of the Bay County Sheriff's Office. This division is responsible for executing and handling arrest warrants within the county.

The sheriff's office does not provide online information regarding outstanding warrants. Thus, anyone who believes they have an arrest warrant can visit the office or have an attorney or bail bondsperson inquire on their behalf to prevent immediate arrest and detention.

Also, the Bay County Clerk of Court and Comptroller's Office can provide information about existing warrants. Interested persons can visit the office during working hours or access the online case portal to view case records. Most case records will state whether the court approved an arrest warrant for a defendant or not.

Finally, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) provides an online database where anyone can find statewide warrants.

Do Bay County Arrest Warrants Expire?

No. Arrest warrants do not expire once issued in Bay County. These writs are only considered served when law enforcement authorities arrest the suspected offenders. However, the court may recall or revoke a warrant if the warrant has no legal grounds.

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