Finding a mugshot in Polk
Mugshots and other parts of arrest records are considered public documents in Polk County under Florida law. Hence, the Polk County Sheriff's Office makes these mugshots available on its website. A click of the "Jail Inquiry" button on the homepage links to a database of mugshots and arrest records dating back to 1988. The user can search the database simply by the last name of the subject or the booking date. The search engine also offers the options to query the database by the nickname of the subject and to make a search for only inmates currently in custody. A quick unrefined search on the site provides 1,000 latest entries matching the search criteria with each subject information including a booking number, name, date of birth, location, entry date, and release date. Mugshots for each subject are available upon a click on the booking number and this also shows the full arrest history of the subject. This database is updated daily. Where further information is required about a mugshot a request can be made to the Automated Information System (AIS) at any time by dialing (863) 457-3738, or a call center representative at (863) 534-6300.
Mugshots of arrests made in Polk County are also made available by the local daily newspaper, The Ledger on its website. The newspaper has a dedicated page for aggregating recent mugshots from arrests reported in the County. The page offers a quick view of mugshots from bookings made at the Sheriff's Office in the last 11 days and keeps a mugshot in its database for a maximum of 90 days. The search tool on the site helps access mugshots that are older than 11 days. Name or charge can be used as a search criterion in querying the mugshot database on the site. A click on a mugshot in the search result provides the full booking details and charges of the subject. The database is updated daily and the mugshots are presented chronologically by booking dates. This page is linked to a Facebook page of the same name.
Where more details are required about a mugshot, inquiry can be made at any of the Polk County Clerk of the Court offices or by a call to (863) 534-4000. The offices are open from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday except on holidays. The Clerk's office also provides online access for such requests via its Polk Records Online (PRO) portal. A user can search for arrest details of a subject on the portal applying filters including case number, citation number, name, and case filing date. Users are allowed to print uncertified copies from the search result for free.
Polk County Mugshots and Arrest
Polk County has a population of over 680,000 residents and records over 30,000 arrests yearly. The county records a violent crime rate of over 300 in every 100,000 residents yearly and property crime rate in the county of over 1,800 in every 100,000 residents for the same period. The criminal justice process in Polk County is quite similar to what obtains in most jurisdictions in the state. It begins with an arrest or a warrant of arrest. Consequently, the arrestee is taken to Polk County's main correctional facility located at:
Central County Jail
2390 Bob Phillips Road,
Bartow, FL 33830-7706
At the jail, the arresting law enforcement officer initiates the booking process which includes taking a mugshot as photographic evidence and other biographical data. After the creation of the arrest records, the defendant can be released on bail (if the offense is bailable) until the case is charged to court otherwise, the defendant remains in incarceration. By Florida law, every incarcerated defendant must make the first appearance before a judge within the first 24-hours of an arrest. At this appearance, the judge tries to determine the bond for bail and if there is a probable cause for the charges. The judge also informs the defendants of their certain rights, the nature of their charges, and set an arraignment date.
Obtaining Certified Arrest Records
Family and friends can use the Automated Information System (AIS) provided by the Polk County Sheriff's Office to access information on current inmates. To reach the AIS dial (863) 457-3738. Alternatively, contact the call center representative at (863) 534-6300 for any required information.
The Polk County Sheriff Office allows the public to request arrest records and other public reports online for a fee. The office's Records Management Bureau provides the necessary forms to make this request. Hence, to obtain these forms, contact the Record Custodian by visiting any of the Sheriff's Office substations or the headquarters at:
1891 Jim Keene Blvd
Winter Haven, FL 33880
The Record Custodian can also be reached on phone at (863) 298-6300 or via email at email@example.com. A requestor is expected to mail back the completed forms to the Records Custodian at the email above. Only requests costing over $30 will need payment before being filled.
Polk County arrest records can also be requested from the county's Clerk of the Court. These records offer a defendant's arrest report along with dispositions for the case. Visit the Polk County Clerk of the Court website to use the Public Access portal to make a quick search for a subject's arrest records. A click of the portal links to a search tool that allows queries to be made by case type, citation number, name of the subject and case filing date. The search result provides a complete arrest history of the subject. There is an option to print an uncertified copy of these records from the search results.
Certified copies are provided by the Clerk's office at $2 per document. The Clerk charges $1 per print of a regular page and $7 for exemplification. The office accepts a request in writing with the applicable fees. Contact the Records Departments of the Clerk's office at (863) 534-4401 or firstname.lastname@example.org to initiate a request.
Sealing and Expunging Mugshots and Arrest Records
Eligible individuals in Polk County are allowed by Florida's law to appeal for the sealing or expungement of their arrest records. A sealed arrest record is no longer accessible to the public through certain government entities will still be able to view the details of such records. While expunged records are not accessible to any entities afterward. The whole process begins with completing an application to FDLE for verification of eligibility. Due to the complexity of the process, applicants are advised to contact a local attorney or visit the Polk County Law Library to obtain the necessary paperwork if the applicants so choose to pursue it on their own.
While the office of the county's Clerk of the Courts does not assist in completing this process, it hosts sealing and expungement of arrest records clinics in collaboration with the 10th Circuit State Attorney's Office once in a while. These free clinics serve as a one-stop-shop to help people get finger-printed, fill out the application for a Certificate of Eligibility for Court-Ordered Sealing or Expungement, and obtain the proper signatures if they're eligible. There is also funding to help those who cannot afford the cost of the application fee.
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