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Sarasota County Arrest Records

In Sarasota County, Florida, law enforcement officers are authorized to make an arrest when they witness a crime or possess sufficient evidence to believe that the suspect has committed a crime. This can include, but is not limited to, witness statements, victim statements, or physical evidence.

An officer may conduct a brief investigatory stop of an individual who matches a detailed description of a suspect. This could involve requesting identification and temporarily detaining the individual to investigate the potential crime. Florida Statutes Chapter 901 delineates the procedures and standards law enforcement officers and prosecutors must adhere to when taking an individual into custody.

The reasons for arrests range from minor offenses such as infractions and misdemeanors to more serious crimes such as drug offenses, robberies, home invasions, murders, and rape cases. These often result in lengthy prison sentences. These are all documented in Sarasota County Court Records.

Following an arrest, the arrestee is typically taken to a local law enforcement facility for booking. This entails collecting and recording personal identifying information, fingerprints, and a detailed account of the alleged offense, establishing an official arrest record. Subsequently, the arrestee may be released on their own recognizance with a scheduled court appearance or held in custody pending their first appearance before a judge. These arrest records are kept by the Sarasota County Clerk of Court, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and the arresting law enforcement agency.

Are Arrest Records Public in Sarasota County?

Yes. Pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, otherwise known as the Public Records Act, all non-exempt records in the custody of Sarasota County governmental entities are subject to public inspection and duplication. This statutory mandate extends to records maintained in electronic formats. It further states that access must not be impeded by technological barriers.

Notwithstanding, some categories of arrest records may be confidential or exempt from disclosure under specific circumstances as defined by law. The following categories of information are excluded from public disclosure:

  • Personal identifying information on victims of sexual assaults or human trafficking.
  • Personal information, including Social Security numbers, medical records, and other sensitive health data.
  • Information critical to ongoing investigations, the disclosure of which might jeopardize the administration of justice.
  • Sensitive information that, if released, could jeopardize the safety, security, or well-being of individuals or property.
  • Information on confidential informants or collaborating witnesses critical to law enforcement investigations.
  • Tactical or operational intelligence that may jeopardize the success of law enforcement plans or procedures.
  • Juvenile arrest records are subject to privacy laws specified in Chapter 985 of the Florida Statutes.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

According to Florida Statute Section 119.07(1), publicly accessible information typically includes

  • The name of the suspect
  • The arresting agency
  • The date, time, and location of the arrest
  • Identifying details of the arrestee, such as date of birth, physical description, and aliases
  • A factual narrative of the circumstances leading to the arrest
  • The charges filed against the individual
  • Information regarding case disposition, such as dismissal or conviction.

Sarasota County Crime Rate

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) releases yearly crime data for each county in the state. According to the 2017 statistics, Sarasota County had eight murders, an increase from 2013 figures. Other violent crimes, such as 82 rapes, 166 robberies, and 715 aggravated assaults, decreased in the county compared to 2013. Property crimes also trended lower, with 1,204 burglaries, 6,013 larcenies, and 325 motor vehicle thefts recorded in 2017, down from 2013.

The five-year crime trend in Sarasota County shows decreasing rates. Rape was reduced by 4.7%, robbery dropped by 36.4%, and violent assault reduced by 6.8%. Burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft reports decreased by 47.4%, 17.9%, and 13.6%, respectively.

Sarasota County Arrest Statistics

January 2024 Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) report revealed Sarasota County had an average daily detention population of 1,047, which amounted to 1.96% of the state's total. The county, with a population of 464,223, had an incarceration rate of 2.3, below the state average.

Find Sarasota County Arrest Records

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is primarily responsible for law enforcement. Various state and federal agencies, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), also operate within the county. The public can typically request public records or police reports from these agencies via in-person visits, mail, or electronic means.

Some of the information necessary for such investigations include:

  • The arrestee's first and last names
  • The arrestee's birth date, if known
  • Date of the incident and its location
  • Contact details for the requester.
  • Valid government-issued ID

There are various methods to get information on inmates in Sarasota County, Florida:

Free Arrest Record Search in Sarasota County

Individuals who can identify the arresting agency will find locating arrest records in Sarasota County easier. The more information they have regarding an arrest, such as the date, name, and place, the easier it will be to locate records.

In line with the Florida Public Records Act, Sarasota County grants public access to most government records, including those from law enforcement and courts. The official Custodian of Public Records for the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller is the public access department. In this capacity, the Department is responsible for ensuring residents access to a wide range of records maintained by the Clerk and Comptroller in compliance with Florida's Public Records Act.

Get Sarasota County Criminal Records

A criminal record is an official documentation of an individual’s contacts or interactions with criminal justice agencies. Pursuant to Florida Statute Chapter 119, criminal history records, including arrests, charges, convictions, sentences, dismissals, and acquittals, are classified as public records in Sarasota County. The maintenance, custody, and dissemination of these records are the responsibility of duly designated governmental agencies in compliance with Florida's Public Records Act.

For Sarasota County criminal histories, individuals can contact the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. They can visit the records section to request in person. This service is provided free of charge. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) is in charge of law enforcement across the county. They provide a search tool for arrests and prisoner searches.

In addition, criminal records may be accessed through the Sarasota Clerk of the Circuit Court. The Clerk's office provides online access to criminal records through ClarkNet. Should county records prove elusive, they can use third-party online record finders. For a more comprehensive statewide search, a criminal history report can be requested from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Sarasota County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

Although they might seem similar, "arrest record" and "criminal record" represent different phases and levels of information in the criminal justice process.

An arrest record is proof that a person was taken into custody by law authorities. It does not necessarily imply that the individual has been convicted of a crime. Arrests may occur even if no charges are eventually made, or the charges are subsequently dismissed.

In contrast, a criminal record reflects a history of criminal convictions. It signifies that a person has been convicted of a crime in a court of law. This record contains details about the offenses committed, the conviction dates, the sentences imposed, and any probation or parole conditions.

Unlike a thorough criminal record, an arrest record is a simpler document kept by the law enforcement agency that arrested an individual. Arrest records are often easier to get than complete criminal records.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

Arrest records generally remain permanently on file. However, they can be removed through legal processes like expungement or sealing. If an individual has a criminal record in Sarasota County, they may be able to have it sealed or expunged under the Florida Statutes Sections 943.0585 and 943.059. Sealing hides the record from most public view, while expungement completely erases it. Eligibility depends on the specific charges and case outcome. Generally, those who completed diversion programs or were not convicted may qualify for sealing.

Expunge Sarasota County Arrest Records

In Sarasota County, in line with Florida Statutes Section 943.0585, an individual can petition the court to have their criminal records sealed or expunged. Sealing is generally reserved for individuals who have completed a diversion program or were not convicted following an arrest.

Sealed records are not accessible to the public but can be obtained by law enforcement under certain circumstances. Expunged records are removed from an individual's public record but may still be accessible to law enforcement.

There are a number of situations where an individual may have the right to have their charges expunged. These include:

  • Ultimately, the charge was dropped.
  • Even though the individual was arrested, no charges were filed.
  • The case was dismissed in court.
  • The individual was found not guilty at trial.

Before individuals in Sarasota County can file their petition to seal or expunge their criminal history record with the court, they must apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a certificate of eligibility for sealing or expungement. The application for the certificate of eligibility must include:

  • A check for $75.00 made payable to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • A completed Application for Certification of Eligibility.

Sarasota County Arrest Warrants

In Sarasota County, Florida, an arrest warrant is a court order from a judge to bring an individual before the court or cause an individual to be brought before the court. Failing to do so, when able, could be considered contempt of court.

In Sarasota County, Florida, to get an arrest warrant, a law enforcement officer gathers supporting evidence that supports a probable cause. They present this evidence to a prosecutor, who evaluates its strength, determining whether to seek an arrest warrant. Ultimately, it is the judge who reviews the evidence and makes the final decision on whether to issue the warrant, ensuring that the legal standard of probable cause is met.

If the court approves, a warrant is issued. Once issued, the warrant is added to law enforcement databases. Officers may then carry out the warrant. In some situations, warrantless arrests are possible.

An arrest warrant normally includes the following information:

  • The name of the court that issued the warrant.
  • The name of the defendant.
  • Their physical description includes information such as height, weight, hair color, eye color, and other unique features that may help identify them.
  • The criminal offense charged against the individual.
  • The official issuing date of the warrant
  • The signature of the judge issuing the warrant.
  • The bail amount

Sarasota County Arrest Warrant Search

There are several ways to determine if someone in Sarasota County has an outstanding warrant. The Sarasota County 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 Sarasota County Arrest Warrants Expire?

Arrest warrants in Sarasota County do not expire. Once a warrant is issued by a court, it remains until it is executed, recalled, or quashed, the charges are withdrawn, or the person named in it is deceased.

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