Remember back in college all those years ago, the one time you were arrested? The charges were dropped, but you did not think to save your paperwork. Now you are trying to get your Concealed Weapon and Firearm License (“CWFL”) and you are being denied because of that arrest more than 20 years ago. You are not alone. Florida is a “shall issue” state, which means that anyone who qualifies for the CWFL must have it issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture, which has no discretion to deny a license to a qualified individual. Why, then, do so many Floridians get denied when applying for a license, and what can you do if you feel that you have been wrongly denied?
One problem is with the way the current program is being administered by the Department of Agriculture.
Although Florida law states that the Department of Agriculture shall issue the license within 90 days of a completed application being submitted, it also allows the suspension of that time limitation in the event that the department receives criminal history information with no final disposition on a crime which may disqualify the applicant, until receipt of the final disposition or proof of restoration of civil and firearm rights.
Instead of reaching directly out to the clerk of the court in the jurisdiction the criminal history information originates, the Department of Agriculture generally requires the applicant to provide documentation showing the final disposition of the case.
The second problem is that, in many instances, especially when the case is very old, it may be near impossible to get this information in a timely manner, if at all. In many places, court records are destroyed after ten years, so no record will exist.
Finally, it can be a very frustrating process to obtain old case records. Unfortunately, the process to obtain these records is often not an easy or quick process for an individual, even when it is their own case records.
Although some clerk’s offices offer records online and will provide certified copies with the click of a button and an online payment, other offices do not have websites. Some will not accept requests over the phone or the internet, but will only do so in person, which, of course, is a problem if the case occurred in a distant state. Other court clerk’s offices require a notarized letter to prove the requestor is the person whose records are being requested. As there is no uniformity of regulations to get old records, the only way to know what is required is to go online or call and ask.
Unfortunately, we have even run into some clerk’s offices that do not answer questions on the phone, and insist that all questions regarding the process be submitted in writing via email. If the records are available, the applicant will need to get certified copies of the disposition from the clerk of the court and provide those to the Department of Agriculture.
If the records no longer exist or never did exist, a letter from the clerk of court stating that after a diligent search no such records could be found will often suffice. Whether you are wrongfully denied a CWFL or your application processing is suspended until the Department of Agriculture receives more information, it is very important you carefully read the letter that you receive.
The letter plainly lays out your rights and the next steps you must take. It also informs you of any deadlines you may have to comply with to ensure your rights.
If you are having problems obtaining your CWFL in Florida, or have questions about the letter you have received from the Department of Agriculture, give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney. We look forward to speaking with you.
Well the exact same thing happened to me 23 years ago I got into a small fight and I was charged with misdemeanor battery got 30 days house arrest and then the case was dropped, when I applied for my Florida CWFL I was denied and then the round and round hamster wheel began after multiple times of trying to get information that had been destroyed letters sent to the Department of agriculture stating there were no records still and I must have made 30 to 50 phone calls and finally after six months from the day I put in my application I finally got a letter and was cleared I also during that time called US Law Shield And spoke to an attorney and was giving that advice keep calling keep sending letters so I did and I prevailed so to you out there having this problem get as much information as you can make copies of all those records send them in and keep calling and eventually it will work.
Also worth noting. You have to have three years of good behavior AFTER successful completion of any probation with an adjudication without judgement. I ran into this when trying to pass an FDLE background check for firearm purchase a couple years after my probation ended.
I did an online check of my ccw and received this; We have completed our initial review of your application. The background check results we received from law enforcement authorities were inconclusive, and we are attempting to verify your criminal history. It has almost been five months and they never answer the phone when I call. What other options for obtaining info are there?
I’m literally in the same exact boat.
I have been waiting since NOV /2020. No response or further information
“We have completed our initial review of your application. The background check results we received from law enforcement authorities were inconclusive, and we are attempting to verify your criminal history.” this is basically my issue as well, i did online chat with them, I submitted a request for hearing, they sent a 2nd letter, which i did not realize was amended, the online chat said my request for hearing was being processed. the finally had a supervisor contact me he said no hearing, because i didnt request one after amended letter was sent, i said they are for the same case number, he claims they have reached out to state NJ, info needed from, i has been 6 or months, i had sent him all paperwork i could answering most questions. he will not give me his direct reports info, wont tell me who to speak with about hearing, wont tell what department the contacted in NJ. just keeps saying they are working on it, and waiting for NJ to respond and no time limit on wait. the original charge has been expunged, i sent that paperwork, there was a failure to appear for that charge that there is now record or paperwork for, i think it was dismissed when i appeared and a new date was set.
So frustrating. I am a retired military reservist and a retired firefighter from up North, and decided to retire to the warm sunny state of Florida. I had a disorderly conduct case back in 2008, argument with the estranged soon-to-be ex. Wanted to fight it but my attorney suggested I just go to court and plead down. Fast forward to when I moved here in May 2021, and filed paperwork for a concealed handgun license. Turned down due to the ’08 case. Same story, unclear disposition etc. Mind you I kept getting renewed for a license in Ohio..the state the case originated, but it made no difference to the Florida Dept. of Agriculture(why in the hell are they in charge of issuing handgun licences??). Not only that, but I cant even pick up a rifle that has been in layaway since Jan. 2022. I have had the record sealed in Ohio, and now that that is done, when I call or email, or fax them, I hear nothing but the proverbial crickets. I would hate to have to move out of this state, just to be able to practice my 2A rights.
I did a license check and it told me I was denied or recommended for denial. I had a case where I received adjudication withheld in 2006. I haven’t received a letter so I don’t really know my next move yet. Do I need it sealed or what. Need advice if you have been through this.
This is a great question. If you’re a member, please call our non-emergency line to get an answer from an independent program attorney at 877-448-6839.
Can someone answer me this. I have a job position that requires updated background check every 3 years. I have to resubmit my fingerprints and an NCIC is completed through the FDLE. the printout from the FDLE reflects my arrests, date, presiding court and final dispostion of those arrests. Why would we have to obtain documents, from the court, when disposition is reflected on the FDLE print out? I have 2 arrests reflected from 18 years and 25 years ago. 1 case was dismissed and 1 was adjudication withheld. These dispositions are reflected on the History printout.