Pursuant to the Chapter 119 of the Florida Statute, all records of the government shall be made available to the public. This means that State Of Florida Public Records are available for the public. These public records include papers, documents, books, audio, films, photographs and other media formats received or created by any government official in connection with the performance of their duties towards the public. Some public records information is exempted from the public access and will be redacted by the custodian before releasing the records to the person requesting the records. Confidential information is released only to the people who are nominated by the government; nevertheless, an agency is not restricted to disclose the records.
Anybody can access Florida Public Records by making a request to Florida’s “custodian of public records” either in writing or verbally. To make the request faster, one can opt for a verbal request by calling the Public Records division; however, a written request is favourable if the request is complex and details of the request are required. The Public Record Division is not compelled to answer the request within a timeframe. Nevertheless, the law states that the Office must respond within a reasonable time.
To request for a copy, the Law states a fee schedule that agencies must follow. It allows government agencies to charge $.15/one sided copy and $.20 for two-sided copies of the record. Certified copies cost about $1/record. The agencies must not charge above the cost of the materials and supplies used in duplicating the copies. There are however, some instances when the law allows the agencies to charge more than the amount mentioned above. One instance is when record/case(s) include court records, crash/homicide, county maps and aerial photographs. Another is when the case would require an extensive research of the records of the Office. Last is when the person requesting the information wants the record copies to be released in a media format such as a disk or tape and the agency maintains the same in the said medium/format.
There would be times when the Agency might deny a person’s request. The office must state the reason for denial of the request. If the denial is rebuttable, one has three options to have the denial reviewed. One is to contact the Office of the General; second is to file a complaint with one’s local state attorney and third is to file a Writ of Mandamus.
For those who want to access the public records in Florida or any government public records, the internet makes it easier for one to seek the information they need. One can check out several commercial online search sites that offer public records searching free though some would require a nominal fee for complete reports. Many of these search sites have the records arranged so it is quite easy and convenient to look for the records that one may want to view. Public records include vital records such as birth, death, marriage and divorce as well as some criminal records with convictions, abandoned properties and social securities.
More coming soon!
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