How to obtain and interpret the Criminal History Record Checks - VECHS

What do I need to do to start submitting electronically?

  1. All requests are to be submitted electronically.
  2. You must already be a registered VECHS entity. If you are not, please see Question 5: How can my organization become a qualified entity?
  3. Once the VECHS entity information is registered in our systems, you will receive an e-mail notification that you can start submitting electronically.
  4. You must arrange to be fingerprinted on a live scan device.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


What does the law mean when it says fingerprints must be submitted electronically?

S. 1002.421, F.S. requires all fingerprint submissions for employees and contracted personnel be made electronically. Fingerprints submitted "electronically" are fingerprints taken on a "live scan" device and submitted electronically to FDLE. It can also include fingerprints taken with ink on a hard copy fingerprint card that are subsequently scanned and submitted electronically to FDLE by a livescan provider.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


Where can I get fingerprinted on a live scan device to submit electronically and how do I start submitting electronically?

VECHS entities have the following options in submitting fingerprints electronically:

  1. Purchase your own live scan device. While this may be expensive it may be cost-effective depending on the number of submissions necessary for your entity.
  2. Use service providers to submit fingerprints electronically on your behalf.
  3. Use local law enforcement agency if services are offered to the public.

 

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


What will I receive when I submit requests (and appropriate payment) for criminal history record checks?

If FDLE qualifies your entity to participate in the VECHS program, and your entity submits authorized requests and payment for criminal history record information to FDLE, FDLE and the FBI will provide either of the following to your entity, for each criminal history record request:

  1. A notification that the individual as described on the electronic submission does not have a criminal history record; or
  2. A copy of the individual's criminal history record.
  3. FDLE will advise the entity if the individual is subject to a Florida warrant for arrest or a Florida domestic violence injunction and what agency has the warrant or injunction.

 

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


How long will it take for me to get the results?

The state and national criminal record search results are reported together for each applicant and are usually made available to the VECHS entity within three business days.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


Is there a fee for state and national criminal history checks?

Yes. There are both state and national fees associated with conducting criminal history record checks through VECHS. The following chart outlines the associated fees by applicant type for electronic fingerprint submissions:

VECHS Qualified Entities
State Fee
(Defined in 943, F.S.)
Federal Fee
State Fee
plus
Federal Fee
Current or Prospective Employees
$24.00
$12.00
$36.00
Current or Prospective Volunteers
$18.00
$10.75
$28.75
 

Most service providers add a fee for rolling the fingerprints. Since live scan submissions are charged to the service providers, VECHS entities must make payment arrangements with the device owner.

FDLE collects both state and national payments and forwards the appropriate federal fees to the FBI.

If your organization owns your live scan device and is a governmental agency, you may request to be invoiced monthly for the services.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


Can I contact a local law enforcement agency to do these checks and not pay the established fees?

Law enforcement agencies are not authorized to conduct searches for VECHS entities through the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC). Local agencies may only provide data from local systems. The only authorized way for the VECHS entity to obtain state or national criminal history information is through the electronic submission of fingerprints taken by a live scan device and payment of established fees.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


How do I receive and view the criminal history results after submitting electronically?

Criminal history results for electronic submissions are posted to FDLE's secure mail application called "Secure Mail". Once the criminal history results are ready, the entity will receive an e-mail notification, containing the link to the application. The viewing of criminal history results will occur within this secure application.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


How should my organization use the results of our requests for criminal history record checks?

It is the responsibility for the entity to make the determination of eligibility for working with vulnerable persons. FDLE makes no determination of eligibility for employment, scholarships, licensure, etc. You will need to review the information to determine if there is any reason that the employee or volunteer should not be allowed to work with children, the elderly, or the disabled.

If no criminal history record is found, you should not necessarily assume that there are no risks to employing or using the volunteer services of the individual. Simply stated, "no record" means that he or she does not have an arrest or conviction reported to FDLE or the FBI. Other recommended practices would include checking former places of employment, conducting neighborhood interviews, obtaining information from local law enforcement agencies, and asking for more information from the individual.

If the employee or volunteer has a criminal record, you should evaluate whether the individual should be permitted contact with children, the elderly, or the disabled. Neither the National Child Protection Act nor Florida law governing the VECHS program defines specific criteria to use during this evaluation of an entity's employee or volunteer. Therefore, FDLE does not set specific screening criteria either.

Criminal history record check screening by your organization may already be covered under other statutory provisions. Your organization will need to comply with all required screening criteria under these laws. If these laws apply to you, and if your organization should decide to disqualify an individual during the screening process, the employee or volunteer may have a right to contest or request an exemption from the disqualification. Please consult with your legal representative for more advice on these provisions and how they apply to your organization.

The U.S. Department of Justice has published a document that might be helpful to your organization as you screen your current and prospective employees and volunteers: Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working With Children, the Elderly, and the Disabled in Need of Support (April 1998). These guidelines may be obtained from:

Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849–6000

Phone: 800–638–8736 (see voice menu options for details)
Fax: 410–792–4358 (to order publications by title or NC J number)
Fax: 301–519–5600 (for other assistance)

E-mail: puborder@ncjrs.org (to order publications by title or NC J number)
E-mail: askncjrs@ncjrs.org (for other assistance)
E-mail: tellncjrs@ncjrs.org (to provide comments and feedback)

Internet: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ (to access OJJDP's online resources)

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


How long is the criminal history record check valid?

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not list an expiration date on criminal history record checks.

The criminal history repository is a dynamic file with new arrests added daily and changes frequently. Keeping current on information is critical because the qualified entities will want to know about all arrests, no matter how recent.

On the practical side, the qualified entities will not be able to request the criminal history information daily. Each qualified entity will have to determine how frequently its employees or volunteers need to be checked. The qualified entity will also need to determine whether criminal history information available from another qualified entity is too old to use for its screening purposes.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


Is juvenile criminal history released as part of a criminal history check?

Juvenile criminal history information is disseminated only when the subject was taken into custody for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


What if there is no court disposition in the criminal history record?

When the court disposition of a Florida arrest is sent to FDLE, it is added to the criminal history record. If there is an arrest in the Florida criminal history record of the employee or volunteer that does not reflect a court disposition, FDLE will not have any further information on that specific arrest.

The qualified entity may determine if the nature of the arrest is something to be concerned about if the employee or volunteer were convicted. If the court disposition is important, the qualified entity may call the Clerk of Court in the county where the arrest took place. The Clerk will retrieve and provide the court disposition if one is available. There may be a charge for this service depending on which county you contact.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


Does FDLE maintain records of all arrests, including Notices to Appear and Direct Files?

FDLE's criminal record repository contains information on all arrested persons in Florida where the arresting agency submitted a fingerprint at the time of the arrest. For the most part, this means that all felony and serious misdemeanor arrests are available.

However, if there was not an arrest but, rather, a Notice to Appear was issued or the State Attorney issued a Direct File, this information would not be fingerprint based and therefore not be contained in the criminal history repository. It is possible that a fingerprint-based record would be created without an arrest. An example of this would be when a state prison sends the fingerprints of an incarcerated person and FDLE creates a criminal record based on the incarceration fingerprints. FDLE creates the criminal record on this individual even though “arrest” fingerprints were not sent to FDLE.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


Does FDLE maintain a record of all criminal history records in the nation or just for the state of Florida?

The FDLE repository contains Florida arrest information only. Arrests by the federal government or another state are not included in the Florida repository. VECHS customers are eligible for the out-of-state criminal record information and will be provided it either directly from the FBI or FDLE.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


If I deny a person the opportunity to volunteer with or be employed by the qualified entity, may I give a copy of the FDLE and FBI criminal history record check to the applicant? What if the applicant indicates the record is incorrect?

If a person challenges his or her opportunity to volunteer or be employed, and the reason for the decision was based on criminal history results, the person can be shown the criminal history record after ensuring the identity of the requestor. If the challenges results in civil litigation, a copy of the record can be provided for the purpose of a hearing, but cannot be made part of any record or file available to the public.

If the person believes his or her criminal record is in error, he or she may contact FDLE Records Maintenance Section for assistance in correcting the record.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


How often will VECHS audits be performed?

There is not a scheduled time for VECHS audits. They will be scheduled periodically and a sample of agencies will be audited. Some audits may be conducted via a telephone interview, a letter asking specific questions or an on-site audit. When questions arise regarding the confidentiality or the security of information from a specific qualified entity, FDLE may conduct an audit of the entity to ensure that all provisions in the User Agreement are being enforced.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs

 


Can I share results I receive on individuals with other VECHS entities?

If you wish to share results with another VECHS entity, please contact FDLE to verify that the two entities have the appropriate permissions to do so. Once verified with FDLE, a dissemination log will be used for a qualified VECHS entity to share criminal history information with another qualified VECHS entity.

 

Private schools may NOT share criminal history information with any VECHS entities except other private schools registered with VECHS. Private schools are the only VECHS entities authorized to receive sealed information and expunge notifications.

 

Return to VECHS FAQs