Free Background Check Miami (Online): How to See Miami Records

author1
Jayson Baxter
October 7, 2022
A blue magnifying glass hovering over a detailed report of background check, Miami skyline full of palm trees and high rise buildings in the background with a man in a yellow shirt, blue jeans and has his hands on his hips on the right as he looks outwards towards the city scape.

When running a background check, Miami Dade County and the city of Miami has several free resources that allows anyone to view the records of 2.7 million people in Miami-Dade County. and 460,000 in the city of Miami. 1 2

Individuals wanting looking to run a Miami background check can learn which public records are available to them, sift through the free online government databases below, or by filling out the form above.

While professionals and employers alike are required to go through FCRA approved channels to search and obtain free government records.

No matter the case, the in depth guide below will reveal how find out how to see Miami records for yourself, and others.

Miami Background Checks & Criminal Records

A Miami background check can be accessed by anyone if they know how and where to look. Public records are those generated by government agencies and are accessible by anyone. A background check is an official method an employer, licensing board, or landlord uses to get a more comprehensive criminal history in addition to things such as employment history, education, and credit history.

The information that shows up on a background check,  in Miami varies depending on the nature of the check and who is requesting it. Do pending charges show up on a background check? They can and do show up on Miami-Dade background checks.

The main difference between a Miami personal background check with a criminal history and an official (business or professional) lies with the regulations surrounding each. There are Miami free background check options online, via mail, and in person, and there are paid search sites that can provide a criminal history report.

Third-party sites that offer background check services for government agencies, businesses, landlords, or other groups for professional reasons must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on how to use criminal records. The sites also advise those seeking personal background checks of the legal limitations for use when they run a personal screening.

There are multiple ways to check someone’s criminal history, and more detail on how to do this will be provided later on. Individuals do not have to wait for a business or agency to complete a background check, they can run a personal check on their own.

A good place to start would be in the Miami-Dade jurisdiction, and there are multiple ways and locations to conduct a criminal record search.

When looking for a background check, Miami resources suggest it’s best to start with the local level and work outward to larger government agencies. These agencies can provide a criminal record search Miami Dade-wide for individuals and agencies.

Local Law Enforcement (Background Check: Miami Official Method)

Start with the local law enforcement agency to see if there are any pending charges or outstanding warrants. Warrants and summons for pending charges are considered public records and a number of law enforcement agencies have online portals for checking warrants. More details about how to request a background check in Miami Dade Police Department’s criminal background check appears below.

Clerk of Court’s Office/Court Records

A screenshot showing the Clerk of Courts can be searched for public records in Miami-Dade county by requesting them via mail or email.

A background check can also be conducted via the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court’s office. The courthouse is a great place to start for a Miami-Dade records search. The clerk of the court’s office is one means of how to see Miami Records. To request a public records criminal background check from the clerk, do the following:

  1. Open the Clerk of Court’s website and click on “Records.”
  2. Select “Public Records Request.
  3. Download and complete the Public Record Request Form.
  4. Submit the form via mail to the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court’s Office, Records Manager, Post Office Box 14695, Miami, Florida 33101. The form can also be submitted via email to [email protected].3

Another method of searching for criminal backgrounds through the clerk of the court’s office is via the online portal provided. Complete the steps below to search court records via the clerk’s office files.

  1. Open the Clerk of Court’s website and click on “Records.”
  2. Select “Official Records.”
  3. Scroll to and select “Search Official Records.”
  4. Individuals can do a standard search by clicking the link. This search does not require registration with the website to view records.
  5. Enter the subject’s name, and date range and select the type of record. For criminal history, select “CCP, Criminal Court Paper” from the drop-down menu.
  6. Confirm that the searcher is not a robot.
  7. Press “Search.”
  8. Select the record to view and tap “Document Image” to see a copy of the court document. The information available from the document image includes case number, charges, plea or verdict, and sentencing information.4

For certified copies of criminal records, a request must be submitted via mail or email. The individual requesting the certified copy will also have to pay any fees associated with the documents. Fees are assessed based on the level of crime. For example, felony records are placed on a CD and have a flat fee of $42. Misdemeanor and traffic cases are $1 per page, with an additional $2 document certification. If the date is unknown, there is an additional $2 per year or per name search fee.

To request certified copies of criminal history, the following information must be provided to the clerk of court:

  1. Full name of the defendant (and any aliases if known),
  2. Criminal case number,
  3. Defendant’s DOB,
  4. Charges (type charge, whether felony or misdemeanor),
  5. Which document is requested? For example, sentencing information, plea agreement, arrest affidavit, or another form,
  6. Name and address of the person making the request,
  7. An envelope that has been addressed and has appropriate postage on it,
  8. A check or money order for the appropriate fees.

The clerk of the court’s office has records of pending charges and dropped charges. Do dropped charges show up on a background check? It’s possible; however, Florida law does allow for individuals to petition the court to expunge dropped charges. Until they are dropped, the clerk’s office can include these in a criminal record check.

Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation

If a person is sentenced to incarceration, they will be sent to the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department to complete their sentence. To search inmates and their mugshots, do the following:

  1. Open the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation website.
  2. Scroll and click on “Inmate Search” about halfway through the page.
  3. Enter the last name and first name of the inmate.
  4. Complete the confirmation that the person searching is not a robot.
  5. Tap “Search.”

Search results will show the offender’s full name, biological data, jail number, a mugshot, and information on why the person is in custody (charges) as well as the sentencing conditions.5

Miami-Dade County corrections and rehabilitation inmate search feature that allows a look up by first and last name but each requires at least 3 characters.

For a more comprehensive background check, it is best to go to the state repository for criminal records, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) offers three types of criminal record searches: Instant, Certified/Non-Certified, and ORI. ORI means Originating Agency Identification Number, and it is used to make sure fingerprint checks are returned to the correct department in the state of Florida.

Screenshot of the FDLE site that allows criminal history to be searched and offers information on crime statistics, wanted people and career offends too.

To request each type of search from FDLE, complete the steps listed below.

Step one for each will be to open FDLE’s website on your computer, select “Public Records,” and then select the “Obtaining Criminal History Information Page” link at the top of the page. Choose “Florida Criminal History Record Check” to get records from Miami-Dade County and the rest of the state.6

Instant Search

  1. Go to the FDLE website.
  2. Select the link for “Instant Florida Criminal History Search.”
  3. Click the link “Public Search.”
  4. Accept the terms and conditions and click “Start Search.”
  5. Enter the searcher’s name, email address, mailing address, and billing information (credit card). Click “Submit.”
  6. Enter the search criteria. Note: Each name searched carries a $25 fee ($24 for the search itself, and a $1 processing fee).
  7. Select if you want the information mailed or sent via email.

Certified/Non-Certified Search

  1. Go to the FDLE website.
  2. Select “Florida Criminal History Search.”
  3. Enter the searcher’s mailing address to mail the certified or non-certified record.
  4. Enter the name of the search subject. In this section, the person requesting the record can add up to 10 aliases for the subject of the record check.
  5. Confirm the record request.
  6. Enter the credit or debit card information of the person making the request. Retain the receipt as proof of payment. There is a $24 search fee per individual searched.
  7. For expedited records, a prepaid shipping label can be purchased and emailed to FLDE to speed up mailing the report.

FDLE steps to request criminal history which involves sending a letter by main and paying a fee.

ORI Search

  1. Go to the FDLE website.
  2. Select “ORI Based Florida Criminal History Search.”
  3. Enter the ORI number for the agency requesting the search.
  4. Complete the information as required for a certified/non-certified search; however, this search will also include fingerprinting.

FLDE follows the Florida statutes regarding Florida Level 1 and Level 2 checks.

Background checks can be either level 1 or level 2 per Florida laws and policies. For a level 2 background check, Miami citizens would submit the request to FDLE for the official background screening.6

These are a few of the ways to conduct a criminal record history search in Miami-Dade. Another method to see if someone has a criminal record is to check for outstanding warrants.

Miami Dade Warrant Searches

Miami-Dade Police Department maintains an online portal to check for outstanding, active arrest warrants in the county. This can help someone learn if they are wanted by the police before applying for a job or filling out a leasing application where a criminal record could have negative or adverse effects on eligibility.

A screenshot explaining the Miami-Dade Police Department has some warrant information available for public access although it shouldn't be used for legal repercussions and physical descriptors may not be 100% accurate.

It can also be used by potential employers or landlords if they conduct their own background checks and do not rely on third-party, commercial search sites. When conducted for employment or housing consideration, a warrant or charge by itself is not a criterion to deny employment or housing unless the alleged offense would interfere with the duties of the job or put the public at risk.

To search open warrants, complete the following steps:

  1. From the MDPD website, click “Police Records” under “Top Services.”
  2. Select “Search Open Warrants.”
  3. A pop-up window will appear advising the searcher is being redirected to another site. Click “Ok.”
  4. Read the disclaimer on the screen that appears and click “Warrants” to the right of the disclaimer.
  5. Fill in the form that appears and click “Search.” Note: not all fields need to be entered, but enough information must be provided to make a more accurate search. If too many records are returned, the searcher will be directed to add additional search criteria.7

Can you pass a background check with a warrant? Warrant searches can show what the individual is wanted for including, but not limited to, allegations of sexual assault. When someone is convicted of a sexual assault, they are often required to register as a convicted sex offender.

Check for Sex Offenders in Miami

There are two ways to conduct a sex offender search for individuals in Miami. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains the state’s sex offender registry. Individuals can also search the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry for registered offenders in Miami

The FDLE Sexual Offender and Predator Search site showing people can be searched by first name, last name, address, city, and zip code.

To search the FLDE registry, follow these steps:

  1. Open FDLE’s website and click “Search the Sex Offender Database.”
  2. Choose to search by offender name or neighborhood.
  3. Enter the information on the offender or the geographic area to be searched. For example, to see all the sex offenders registered in Miami, under “Neighborhood Search” enter Miami in the city box. Note: at least a street name must be entered as well to narrow the area down.
  4. Choose the radius for the search (from one to five miles).
  5. Click “Search” to view a map and a detailed list of all the registered sex offenders in the search area.8

Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry

Conducting a search of the National Sex Offender Registry can be performed by doing the following:

  1. Open the US Department of Justice Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry website.
  2. Under “Search by Location” enter an address, city, and state.
  3. Click “Search” to see the results. For example, a search of the Miami-Dade County Courthouse address shows 237 registered sex offenders within 3 miles of the courthouse. Results appear as a map followed by a detailed list of registered offenders along with mugshots.9

Searches can be conducted on a number of different levels. Miami-Dade Police Department is one of many departments that can assist with criminal history record checks. Of course, this is more of a public record check, rather than a background check, Miami or not, but it still has the potential to reveal if someone is a sexual predator.

How to Perform a Miami Dade Background Check Through the Miami Dade Police Department

To run a Miami-Dade criminal record search with the local law enforcement agency, follow the steps listed below.

  1. Open the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) website.
  2. Scroll to “Top Services” and select “Police Records.”
  3. Select “Background Checks and Clearance Letters” for additional information on background checks. A clearance letter is an official certification that an official background check has been completed and the person did not have any adverse information on record.
  4. Background checks and fingerprinting can be requested by making an appointment online, in person, or through the Public Record Center.
  5. For a clearance letter, the following information must be provided:
    1. Full name (including maiden name or aliases),
    2. Individual’s race,
    3. Person’s sex/gender,
    4. Subject’s DOB,
    5. The name, address, and phone number of the person requesting the clearance letter.
  6. Regarding fingerprinting, the individual needs to do the following:
    1. Two forms of official/valid identification (one must be a photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport or state-issued ID),
    2. Fingerprinting card to collect the prints. MDPD does not provide cards for fingerprints,
    3. Pay the $15 fee.10

MDPD does charge a nominal fee for records checks and clearance letters. The fees charged are:

  1. Fifteen cents per single-sided page or 20 cents per double-sided page.
  2. One dollar per page for certified copies.
  3. Five dollars for each clearance letter requested.
  4. If a request takes more than 20 minutes to complete the search, the person requesting the record will be charged an hourly fee (fee to be determined by the hourly rate of the person performing the search)

MDPD is not limited by how far it can go back when conducting a criminal record check. While Florida must abide by FCRA requirements for credit history, the state has passed no laws limiting how far back someone can check criminal history.

The Miami-Dade County website detailing that a police clearance letter is required to run a background check in addition to the persons' full name, ethnicity, gender, DOB, and the requesters full name.

Criminal history checks can include police reports, arrest records, and Florida Traffic Crash Reports along with a detailed criminal history for the subject of the search.10

Miami-Dade Police Department covers the unincorporated sections of the county. Unincorporated simply means an area that does not fall under a city government or municipality.

How to Get a Miami-Dade Police Background Check Through City Police Departments

Miami-Dade County is home to 34 separate incorporated towns, villages, or municipal areas. Each one has its own law enforcement agency that can provide police background checks for that particular location.11 These municipalities offer ways how to see Miami Records.

Incorporated areas with a link to its police department within Miami-Dade are listed below.

Each of these departments maintains a records section that handles requests for criminal background checks. An example of how these local record checks are conducted can be seen at Miami Gardens Police Department. Information about criminal history reports appears below.

  1. Records are only for incidences in the Miami-Dade area including arrests, charges, incident reports, and traffic reports.
  2. There is a $5 fee for the background check letter (clearance letter) for each person searched in Miami Gardens.
  3. Checks are done each weekday except for Fridays between the hours of 0830 and 1600.
  4. An appointment is not necessary. Records can be obtained on a walk-in basis at 18611 Northwest 27th Avenue, Miami Gardens, Florida 33056.
  5. Most background checks are completed within 15-30 minutes.
  6. Florida state law does not restrict how far back a criminal record history can go. It can be as short or as long as the person requesting the record needs.12

This is just one example of a Miami-Dade town or village department process for obtaining a criminal history. Each department has its own policies and procedures for requesting records. For example, Hialeah Police Department does not conduct criminal background checks for the general public at all.13

Another example regarding a fingerprint background check, Miami Beach and county information can be obtained through DocuNow which serves that area instead of the police department conducting the fingerprint background check.14

When a person knows how to see Miami Records regarding criminal history, finding the information needed is an easy process. There are various ways to get a free background check, Miami included, so use the resources offered by the local government, state repository or the search form above.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a BCI Background Check Miami?

A BCI background check Miami is a check that includes fingerprints; however, it only searches the state of Florida databases instead of a national fingerprint search which is conducted by the FBI. BCI stands for Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and in Miami this is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Can I Bring a Copy of My ID When Doing a Background Check in Miami-Dade?

When requesting a record check that requires official identification, it must be the actual ID not a photocopy. For checks that can be requested online but require uploading a copy of your government identification, the copy submitted through the online portal (usually taken with your phone or tablet camera) will be acceptable.

How Do I Order a Copy of Miami Dade County Criminal Background Checks?

Certified copies of a Miami Dade County criminal background check can be obtained via mail or email by contacting the Miami Dade Criminal Court Criminal Records Division at Miami-Dade County – Felony Records, Criminal Division, Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, 1351 Northwest 12th St, Ste 9000, Miami, Florida 33125 ( [email protected]) or Misdemeanor Records Criminal Division, Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, 1351 Northwest 12th St, Ste 8100, Miami, Florida 33125 ([email protected]).

What Places In Miami Florida Can I Get My Background Check Done?

Background checks in Miami Florida can be requested through the local law enforcement agency, the clerk of court’s office or local courthouse, or through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Searches can also be requested through a third-party search site.


References

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AT-A-GLANCE. (n.d.). Miami-Dade County. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from   <https://www.miamidade.gov/information/library/at-a-glance.pdf>

Sahin, H., & Jorgensen, J. (n.d.). Miami, FL. Data USA. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://datausa.io/profile/geo/miami-fl/>

Public Records Request. (n.d.). Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/clerk/public-records-requests.page>

Miami Dade County Clerk. (n.d.). Miami-Dade County Clerk – County Recorder’s Official Record Search. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://onlineservices.miami-dadeclerk.com/officialrecords/StandardSearch.aspx>

Inmate In-Custody Search. (n.d.). Miami-Dade County. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://www.miamidade.gov/global/service.page?Mduid_service=ser1491494549439906>

State of Florida Criminal History Record Check. (n.d.). Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Criminal-History-Records/Florida-Checks>

Crime Information Center. (n.d.). MDPD Crime Information Center. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <http://warrants.mdpd.com>

FDLE Sexual Offenders and Predators Search. (n.d.). FDLE – Sexual Offender and Predator System. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/offenderSearch.jsf>

Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry. (n.d.). United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://www.nsopw.gov/Home>

10 Police Records. (n.d.). Miami-Dade County. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://www.miamidade.gov/global/service.page?Mduid_service=ser1470774597039291>

11 Miami-Dade County Municipalities. (n.d.). Miami-Dade County. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://www.miamidade.gov/global/management/municipalities.page>

12 Background Checks | Miami Gardens, FL. (n.d.). Miami Gardens Police Department. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://www.miamigardenspolice.org/578/Background-Checks>

13 Background Checks. (n.d.). Hialeah, FL. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://www.hialeahfl.gov/329/Background-Checks>

14 Live Scan Fingerprinting. (n.d.). Docunow livescan fingerprinting. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from <https://docunow.org>

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