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Okaloosa County Arrest Records

Under Florida Statutes Chapter 901, law enforcement officers are authorized to make an arrest when they witness a crime being committed or possess sufficient evidence to reasonably believe that the individual being arrested has committed a crime. This can include, but is not limited to, witness statements, victim statements, or physical evidence.

In Okaloosa County, arrests are made for various reasons, ranging from minor offenses and misdemeanors to more serious crimes like felonies. Felonies include burglary, arson, rape, robbery, and drug trafficking. Offenders charged with felonies may face a lengthy jail sentence. Okaloosa County Court Records document information about arrests.

Following an arrest, the suspect is often taken to a local law enforcement facility for booking. The suspect’s personal identifying information is collected with a full statement of the alleged act to create an official arrest record. The suspect may then be released on their recognizance with a court appearance planned, or they may be detained until their initial appearance before a judge. These arrest records are generally maintained by the Okaloosa County Clerk of Court, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and the arresting law enforcement agency.

Are Arrest Records Public in Okaloosa County?

Under the Public Records Act, government agencies in Okaloosa County must provide access to all non-exempt records, including those maintained electronically. As such, arrest records and other criminal records are public in Okaloosa County.

The transparency of government agencies in Okaloosa County allows for public oversight of law enforcement actions. However, there are certain limitations. These include certain arrest records under specified conditions outlined in the Florida Statutes. The public cannot access the following types of information:

  • Personal details that could identify victims of sex crimes or human trafficking.
  • Information that could put the safety of individuals at risk.
  • Private information, including Social Security numbers and medical records.
  • Details about ongoing investigations or court cases that could truncate the legal process.
  • Information regarding confidential informants or witnesses assisting law enforcement.
  • Information that may make it difficult for police enforcement to conduct their jobs successfully.
  • Juvenile arrest records are generally confidential.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

The law mandates significant transparency in the criminal justice system by making arrest information publicly accessible. It recognizes that public access to such information is crucial for accountability and maintaining public trust in law enforcement.

According to Florida Statute Section 119.07(1), publicly arrest records typically include:

  • Arrestee's name
  • Arresting agency
  • Date, time, and location of arrest
  • Charges filed
  • Case disposition

Okaloosa County Crime Rate

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) released the 2017 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for Okaloosa County. The report indicated that Okaloosa County experienced a total of 799 violent crimes and 4,915 property crimes in 2016. Larceny thefts were the most common offense, with 3,792 incidents, followed by burglaries (842 incidents) and motor vehicle thefts (281 incidents).

Okaloosa County Arrest Statistics

January 2024 Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) report revealed Okaloosa County had an average daily detention population of 22, which amounted to 0.04% of the state total. The county, with a population of 219,260, had an incarceration rate of 0.1, below the state average.

Find Okaloosa County Arrest Records

Law enforcement responsibilities are distributed among several agencies in Okaloosa County, Florida. However, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) oversees the security of lives and property in the county. Additionally, various state and federal law enforcement entities operate within the county, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)

To expedite the process, the following information is often required when making arrest record inquiries:

  • Date, time, and location of the incident.
  • Names of individuals involved
  • Case number
  • Type of record

Here are some state and federal resources individuals can use to look up arrest records and inmate information in Okaloosa County:

  • Okaloosa County Corrections Department maintains a publicly accessible online database that provides daily arrest reports and currently incarcerated individuals.
  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) maintains a database that covers all state prisons in Florida.
  • VINELink is a nationwide service that provides details on offenders or criminal cases in U.S. jails and prisons.

Free Arrest Record Search in Okaloosa County

To obtain arrest records in Okaloosa County, individuals may need to provide key details, such as the arresting agency, the approximate date and time, and the specific area where the arrest occurred.

For reference, the Okaloosa County Clerk of the Circuit Court maintains the county's official records. Individuals can contact the Public Records Department for assistance. However, some sensitive records may be restricted under Florida's Public Records Act.

Get Okaloosa County Criminal Records

A criminal record in Florida is an official documentation of an individual's interactions with the criminal justice system. Under Florida Statute Chapter 119, criminal history records, including arrests, charges, convictions, sentences, dismissals, and acquittals, are generally considered public records in Okaloosa County. These records are maintained and made available by designated government agencies per Florida's Public Records Act.

To get Okaloosa County criminal histories, individuals can contact the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office (OCSO). They can visit the records section in person. This is free.

Okaloosa County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

While often misunderstood, arrest and criminal records are distinct legal terms with different implications. An arrest record documents an individual's apprehension by law enforcement. It does not denote guilt or a conviction, as charges may never be filed or could be subsequently dismissed. A criminal record, however, is an official document detailing an individual's convictions, including the nature of the offenses, the sentences imposed, and any probationary conditions.

Arrest records, typically maintained by the arresting agency, are simpler documents and generally easier to access than comprehensive criminal records.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

Under Okaloosa County laws, criminal records stay on record forever. The only way they can be removed is if they get sealed or expunged. Florida statute section 943.059 provides the law as it relates to sealed records. Any record that is sealed is confidential and exempt from public record and is available only to:

  • The person who is the subject of the record,
  • The person’s attorney,
  • Criminal justice agencies or certain licensing agencies

A sealed record allows an individual to lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest covered by the sealed record. Florida statute section 943.0585 provides the law as it relates to expunging a record. The difference between a sealing and an expunction is that the individual’s criminal record is physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having custody of such record. In most respects, there is no difference.

Expunge Okaloosa County Arrest Records

In Okaloosa County, in line with Florida Statutes Section 943.0585, individuals can petition the court to seal or expunge their records. Sealing is exclusively for individuals who were arrested but exonerated and are not found guilty of a comparable criminal offense.

Sealing hides the record from most public view, while expungement completely erases it. Prerequisites for sealing are:

  • The individual has never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or a comparable ordinance violation nor adjudicated delinquent for committing a felony or a misdemeanor specified in section 943.051(3)(b) of the Florida Statutes.
  • The individual has never secured a prior records expunction or sealing under any law.

For expunction, the individual must ensure:

  • Their record of arrest for this date has been sealed for at least 10 years or
  • An indictment was not filed against them for the offense;
  • Or an indictment filed against them was dismissed by the prosecutor or the court.

To have their records sealed or expunged, individuals must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) prior to filing their request with the court. They are required to attach a certified copy of the disposition of each charge they are seeking to have expunged or sealed to their Application for Certificate of Eligibility.

Okaloosa County Arrest Warrants

Law enforcement agencies in Okaloosa are mandated to uphold the rule of law and ensure the proper procedures are followed regarding arrest warrants while protecting the rights of all residents. An arrest warrant is a court order issued by a judge directing law enforcement to bring an individual before the court. Failing to comply with the terms of a valid arrest warrant, when able to do so, could be considered defiance of a lawful court order and result in a charge of contempt of court.

A law enforcement officer must gather evidence to obtain an arrest warrant in Okaloosa County. This evidence is then presented to the prosecutor's office, where it is evaluated to determine if the legal standard for probable cause has been met. If the prosecutor believes the evidence is sufficient, they will petition the court to issue an arrest warrant.

The judge makes the final decision to issue an arrest warrant. The judge reviews the evidence presented and independently determines whether probable cause exists. Once a warrant is approved and issued by the court, it is entered into law enforcement databases, allowing officers to execute it and take the named individual into custody.

There are some grounds upon which a warrantless arrest may be permitted under Florida law. However, the issuance of a valid arrest warrant by a judge is the primary mechanism for law enforcement in Okaloosa County to compel an individual's appearance before the court. An arrest warrant typically has the following details:

  • The name of the court that issued the warrant
  • The name of the defendant
  • Their physical description, including height, weight, hair color, eye color, and any other distinguishing features that might help to identify them.
  • The specific criminal charge they're facing,
  • The date the warrant was issued
  • The signature of the judge who issued the warrant
  • The bail amount

Okaloosa County Arrest Warrant Search

There are many ways to determine if an individual in Okaloosa County has an outstanding warrant. The Sheriff’s Office maintains a publicly accessible list of individuals with active warrants considered high-priority. Individuals can visit their local police or sheriff's office and provide a photo ID. They can access secure databases to verify active warrants or check with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Finally, the FDLE offers a statewide database search of wanted individuals.

Do Okaloosa County Arrest Warrants Expire?

Arrest warrants in Okaloosa County generally do not expire. A warrant issued by a court stays active until it is executed, recalled, or quashed, the charges are withdrawn, or the person named in it dies.

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