Table of Contents
- 1What Are Public Records in Duval County?
- 2What You May Not Find
- 3What is a Background Check?
- 4Why Run Background Checks?
- 5Can Employers Find Out Everything About Me?
- 6Criminal History Records in Duval County
- 7Duval County Court Records
- 8Arrest Records
- 9Property Records in Duval County
- 10Inmate / Correctional Records
- 11Driving Records
- 12Missing Persons Records
- 13Sex Offender Records
- 14Unclaimed Property Records
- 15Vital Records
Sometimes you need to find and use free public records in Duval County. If you do not know where to begin in your search, you have come to the right place. This guide will help you to locate and receive the free public records you need in Duval County or in Florida.
Public records in Duval County—or any other county in Florida—are maintained through public funding. That means that you have a legal right to access free public records. Taxpayer money funds the way public records are created, how they are stored and processed, and how they are given to you and used. Public records in Duval County are free but you may not be able to legally access all information about a person.
This guide to how to find free Duval County Public records will differentiate between records that are free and available to you and those that are not, due to privacy laws and other legal constraints. Also keep in mind you may need to pay a small fee for printing processing.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you can do all this by yourself for free. You can search for and receive public records in Duval County without forking over any extra money for a service. Third party companies that cater to small businesses may make it seem like you are saving time and trouble but in reality finding free public records is easy and you can do it yourself.
This guide will also explain to you what public records are in Duval County specifically, what you can do with them if you are an employer, and how to get them for free online.
This guide is also unique in that it focuses on Duval County, instead of giving you generic information. We will outline for you the types of public records used in employer/employee background checks. Many professional agencies and government bodies also do background checks that are fully dependent on public records.
Whether you are searching for your ancestry, a long lost relative, unclaimed property, or doing a background check on a prospective babysitter, you can benefit from the information contained in this guide to free public records in Duval County.
What Are Public Records in Duval County?
First, what does Duval County consider to be public records? As anywhere else in the United States, the term “public records” refers to freedom of information and open government. The idea is that information kept by the government about any citizen should be made available to the public, with exceptions to protect your privacy and public safety of course.
In fact, public records promote public safety. One of the reasons you may be using this guide to access free public records in Duval County is that you want to make sure your children or your business and your clients are kept safe. You run background checks to be sure the person you are considering to hire was not a convicted felon or sex offender.
In Duval County and elsewhere, public records include any document (such as a birth certificate) or data (such as photographs and digital files) that are public service or government agencies create and maintain. Some of these files are held in Duval County but the State of Florida government agencies often will have the public records you need.
Law enforcement agencies may be local or state-based, as are correctional institutions and courts. In rare cases, the public records you seek will be from a federal government agency.
What You May Not Find
There is some information that is not going to be revealed to any public inquiry, even if the document is technically considered a public record. For example, trade secrets or anything that is related to homeland security are not going to be things that the government will release to just anyone.
You cannot necessarily check someone’s school transcript or see how much they earned last year, but you will be able to find out necessary things like whether the person is a convicted sex offender. You would not want your employer to know about a juvenile arrest, which is why these types of records are also sealed in Duval County.
In this guide you will learn more about what you need specifically to access free public records in Duval County.
What Information is Contained in Free Public Records?
Free public records in Duval County will generally include items like court records, but not necessarily arrest records. The logic is simple: just because someone was arrested does not mean that incident should become public knowledge because it could be used to discriminate against the person.
In Duval County and in Florida, some information on driving records will be free public records, but not all. Similarly, the government maintains the information included in birth records and marriage certificates but you may not be able to access this information without the express consent of the individual.
Therefore, the information that is contained in free public records in Duval County will depend largely on whether you have the written consent of the person (or are the person in question).
When you search free public records in Duval County or any other county in Florida, you will likely find improved access to things that are stored at the county level such as property records. To a degree you may also learn about things related to will and probate in Duval County.
Information related to a person’s credit history will not always come up in free public records searches, because of laws that safeguard your privacy and that of other citizens of the state of Duval County.
However, local, state, and federal law protects your right as a taxpayer to access public records. You have this right by living in a democracy, which is based on free and open government by the people and for the people. Therefore, you are encouraged to search free public records that help you check up on your elected officials, such as to see how politicians vote or how they spend your taxpayer money. You also have the right to know what the public record says about you, but when you apply for a job you may give your employer the right to access the same information that could be used in hiring decisions.
This guide will also help employers understand how to perform background checks in Duval County in ways that are legal and that do not cause discrimination.
What is a Background Check?
A background check is a process whereby you access free public records in Duval County with the express purpose of learning about the history of person or a corporation. It will usually involve things like whether the person was ever convicted of a felony.
Background checks use free public records. If you are an employer or individual in Duval County and want to run a background check on another person, you may need that person’s authorization to access a lot of the information you seek. This guide shows you what you need to do to access the information you need for free, by searching public records online.
For example, you may be interested in a person’s criminal history in the state of Florida or in Duval County. You may in some cases be able to find out about arrests and convictions, as well as time served. You can learn about a person’s probation or parole status, too. Many people use background checks for their own purposes, to learn what is on the public records about them.
Why Run Background Checks?
In Duval County, Florida, background checks have become commonplace almost to the point of being standard practice. In some situations, background checks may be required by law, which is the case with childcare, eldercare, and certain types of government jobs.
Anyone seeking employment to work with vulnerable populations in Duval County will typically need to consent to a background check.
As an employer or an employee in Duval County, you will need to know who or what you are dealing with—another reason for free background checks. If you are an employee, why not perform a background check on the person or company you are applying to work for? Likewise, employers need to know if who they are hiring is being honest or can be trusted.
Accessing free public records in Duval County will not tell you everything about a person, of course. However, background checks will tell you what you need to know to make sensible hiring decisions. You can also look at your own records to see what employers may ask you about in an interview.
Keep in mind if you are hiring a nanny, babysitter, housekeeper, or home health aide in Duval County, accessing public records to run a background check should be something you automatically do
Here are a few examples of when people run background checks in Duval County:
- Home and apartment rentals. The rental market in Duval County is booming, so you may need to run a background check to make sure the landlord has a good track record when dealing with tenants. Some are fly-by-night property managers and others have a poor track record with performing regular maintenance on their properties.
- Similarly, homeowners will want to perform background checks on tenants to make sure that their place is safe and will not be used for any illegal functions. The background check may or may not yield information that is related to the tenant’s financial history to help you determine their solvency with regards to making monthly payments.
- Online dating. Many people in Duval County meet their soulmate online. Unfortunately, many others meet a violent or unstable person. These unfortunate situations can be avoided by running a free background check using free public records. To protect yourself and your family without sacrificing the fun of online dating, all you have to do is run a background check on the people you meet online. Online dating agencies might claim they run background checks, but did they access the free public records specifically in Duval County? Maybe not. It is much safer for you to a background check yourself using free Duval County public records.
- Contractors. When renovating your home or office, you will be hiring contractors. You can use free public records to run background checks on individuals or companies that do contracting and subcontracting. You might not be able to trust online reviews or marketing spiel, but you can trust free Duval County public records.
- Babysitters, Tutors, and Childcare Workers. Parents in Duval County use public records to check the background of anyone left alone with their children. Do not feel bad if you are doing the background check on someone you know personally. Even if you know a person personally, you might not know everything about their past. A background check reveals skeletons in the closet. Check free public records in Duval County for problematic issues that might impact your decision to leave them alone with your kids..
- Finding Loved Ones (Adoptees) or Genealogy. Some people access free public records in Duval County when doing genealogy research. Some people are adopted or had put a child up for adoption and want to see what information may be out there, available for free access. You can also use free Duval County public records to search for runaways or missing persons. Because you can find birth certificates and marriage certificates online, you may get farther in your research than you thought possible.
- Checking Your Own Records. It can be incredibly empowering to learn what is on your records—such as your driving record or your criminal history record. Knowing this helps you to see what other people can learn about you, which protects you from unexpected confrontations. You can also use this information to sue an employer or landlord who you believe used your background check information to discriminate against you. Alternatively, you might have forgotten about something that happened in the past that could come back to haunt you. You can also benefit from accessing free public records in Duval County in order to initiate the process of expunging your record, which is often possible and beneficial to you.
Can Employers Find Out Everything About Me?
In way, employers can find out more than you might like. However, you must provide express written consent for them to access many public records in Duval County and in Florida unless the employer is a government agency with authorized access to public records that would otherwise be sealed from access to the general public.
Employers can technically access public records but how they use that information is something different altogether. If you are an employer in Duval County, get legal consultation. You need to comply with state and federal law regarding fair use of the public records you locate during background checks. Most importantly, a person’s credit history cannot be used to discriminate, which led to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
One of the great benefits of doing your own free background checks in Duval County is that you are more certain of being FCRA-compliant in your hiring practices. When you subscribe to third party background check companies, they may not give you FCRA-compliant data gleaned from public records that you as an employer are not allowed to use when making hiring decisions. If you do not want to face costly and embarassing litigation, you are strongly advised to perform your own FCRA-compliant background check by accessing free public records in Duval County using this guide.
How Can I Find….
Criminal History Records in Duval County
Criminal records are complex. Some public records will be stored by the Duval County Clerk of Courts, Others will be maintained by other organizations depending on whether an arrest was made in another county or state, or whether charges ended up being linked to violations of municipal versus county or state bylaws.
In Duval County, a good place to start your search for free criminal history records would be the Duval County Clerk of Courts.
Duval County Court Records
Free Duval County Court Records related to both civil and criminal cases can be found on the Duval County Clerk of Courts portal.
For example if you want to know if your landlord was involved in civil litigation, you could check the Duval County Clerk of Courts for core court records
On this website for Duval County you can also complete your background check by searching for any Duval County traffic citations that may impact your decision.
The Duval County Clerk of Courts core search also lets you know if the person was fined for any violation of a county bylaw.
Called the Clerk Online Resource Portal (CORE), this resource will help you find free public records in Duval County.
You can also search for Felony Records in Duval County.
Arrest records in Duval County are not always public information, but the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office—part of the Duval County Department of Corrections—does have a Public Information Sheet that lists arrests that took place recently.
Duval County Juvenile records will not be made available to members of the general public.
Property Records in Duval County
Florida and other states do not maintain property records, but counties like Duval County do.
If you are interested in searching for things like deeds, mortgages, liens, and other formal legal documents filed in Duval County, then all you need to do to access these free public records is to visit the Duval County Clerk of Courts website to request that information.
Inmate / Correctional Records
Searching for inmates and others serving formal sentences in Duval County is easy.
To locate an inmate in a Duval County correctional institution, visit the Department of Corrections.
While some of the information included on a person’s driving record will be considered part of the free public record, not all of it is in order to protect the privacy of the person invovled.
The Duval County Clerk of Courts Traffic Department can help you find free public records related to things like minor traffic violations.
If this information is useful to you, then you can search the Duval County Clerk of Courts Traffic Department for more information.
In addition to traffic violations, the records kept by the Duval County Clerk of Courts Traffic Department can also include red light camera violations, driver license status, and compliance.
Missing Persons Records
To conduct a missing persons public records search in Duval County, you need to go straight to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Because runaways and abductees are frequently transported across county—and even state—lines, it is critical that you also search additional state databases that may help you locate information related to the person.
Sex Offender Records
As with missing persons records, free public records related to convicted sex offenders in Duval County are kept in state databases.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) maintains a database of all registered convicted sex offenders.
The benefits of searching the FDLE database of convicted sex offenders is clear: if you want to keep yourself and your family safe you need to know who or what lurks in your community.
Searching free public records related to sex offenders in Duval County is also helpful when you are moving to another location in the area, moving to Duval County, or considering sending hour children to a different school.
Unclaimed Property Records
Unclaimed property sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t/ Each year, countless numbers of Duval County and Florida residents forget about deposits they left with their utilities companies, bank accounts that lie dormant, and dividend checks.
Many people who pass away without a will or with a will that neglected to mention money from insurance policies or wages leave behind unclaimed property in Duval County.
Unclaimed property does not refer to real estate property. It refers to money, virtual cash such as assets in the form of stocks and bonds, or objects in a bank safety deposit box.
You should always check the Duval County free public records and the free public records of the State of Florida to see if you have any unclaimed property in your name, or to check to see if your immediate relatives do.
When there is any unclaimed property in Duval County, like a dormant bank account or a safety deposit box, the county forwards that information and the assets to the Florida Department of Financial Services.
The Florida Department of Financial Services has a convenient website you can use to find unclaimed property that belongs to you.
You do need to show proper identification in order to actually claim that property and if it legally belongs to you, then it will be yours.
The Department of Financial Services urges you to Join Florida’s Treasure Hunt by searching for unclaimed property.
Vital records refer to records pertaining to birth, death, marriage, and divorce.
Therefore, birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates are collectively referred to as vital records, which are considered free public records in Duval County.
All birth, death, marriage, and divorce records in Duval County are actually stored by the Florida Department of Health. These are state, not county, public records.
You can order copies of your own vital records—or those of an immediate relative only—by visiting the Florida Department of Health website and requesting copies.
Hopefully this guide has helped you to locate the free public records in Duval County that you need.
Whether you are applying for a professional license, a new job, or citizenship in another country, chances are that you eventually need to access free public records.
You could pay someone else to do the work for you, or you could save that money and do the public records search yourself.
If you cannot find what you are looking for in Duval County, then you may also need to refer to other counties or states for the information you need.