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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XLIII
DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 744
GUARDIANSHIP
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F.S. 744.3135
744.3135 Credit and criminal investigation.
(1) The court shall require all guardians who are seeking appointment by the court, other than a corporate guardian as described in s. 744.309(4), and all employees of a professional guardian, other than a corporate guardian as described in s. 744.309(4), who have a fiduciary responsibility to a ward, to submit, at their own expense, to a credit history investigation and to undergo level 2 background screening as required under s. 435.04. On petition by any interested person or on the court’s own motion, the court may waive the requirement of a credit history investigation or a level 2 background screening, or both. If appointed, a nonprofessional guardian may petition the court for reimbursement of the reasonable expenses of the credit history investigation and background screening. The court must consider the results of any investigation before appointing a guardian. At any time, the court may require a guardian or the guardian’s employees to submit to an investigation of the person’s credit history and complete a level 1 or level 2 background screening pursuant to s. 435.03. The court shall consider the results of any investigation in determining whether to reappoint a guardian. The clerk of the court shall maintain a file on each guardian appointed by the court and retain in the file documentation of the result of any investigation conducted under this section. A professional guardian shall pay the clerk of the court a fee of up to $7.50 for handling and processing professional guardian files.
(2) For nonprofessional guardians, the court shall accept the satisfactory completion of a criminal history record check as described in this subsection. A nonprofessional guardian satisfies the requirements of this section by undergoing a state and national criminal history record check using fingerprints. Any nonprofessional guardian who is so required shall have his or her fingerprints taken and forward them along with the necessary fee to the Department of Law Enforcement for processing. The results of the fingerprint criminal history record check shall be forwarded to the clerk of the court, who shall maintain the results in the nonprofessional guardian’s file and make the results available to the court.
(3) For professional guardians, the court and the Office of Public and Professional Guardians shall accept the satisfactory completion of a criminal history record check by any method described in this subsection. A professional guardian satisfies the requirements of this section by undergoing an electronic fingerprint criminal history record check. A professional guardian may use any electronic fingerprinting equipment used for criminal history record checks. By October 1, 2016, the Office of Public and Professional Guardians shall adopt a rule detailing the acceptable methods for completing an electronic fingerprint criminal history record check under this section. The professional guardian shall pay the actual costs incurred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Law Enforcement for the criminal history record check. The entity completing the record check must immediately send the results of the criminal history record check to the clerk of the court and the Office of Public and Professional Guardians. The clerk of the court shall maintain the results in the professional guardian’s file and shall make the results available to the court.
(4)(a) A professional guardian, and each employee of a professional guardian who has a fiduciary responsibility to a ward, must complete, at his or her own expense, a level 2 background screening as set forth in s. 435.04 before and at least once every 5 years after the date the guardian is registered. A professional guardian, and each employee of a professional guardian who has a fiduciary responsibility to a ward, must complete, at his or her own expense, a level 1 background screening as set forth in s. 435.03 at least once every 2 years after the date the guardian is registered. However, a professional guardian is not required to resubmit fingerprints for a criminal history record check if he or she has been screened using electronic fingerprinting equipment and the fingerprints are retained by the Department of Law Enforcement in order to notify the clerk of the court of any crime charged against the person in this state or elsewhere, as appropriate.
(b) All fingerprints electronically submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement under this section shall be retained by the Department of Law Enforcement in a manner provided by rule and entered in the statewide automated biometric identification system authorized by s. 943.05(2)(b). The fingerprints shall thereafter be available for all purposes and uses authorized for arrest fingerprints entered in the Criminal Justice Information Program under s. 943.051.
(c) The Department of Law Enforcement shall search all arrest fingerprints received under s. 943.051 against the fingerprints retained in the statewide automated biometric identification system under paragraph (b). Any arrest record that is identified with the fingerprints of a person described in this paragraph must be reported to the clerk of court. The clerk of court must forward any arrest record received for a professional guardian to the Office of Public and Professional Guardians within 5 days. Each professional guardian who elects to submit fingerprint information electronically shall participate in this search process by paying an annual fee to the Office of Public and Professional Guardians of the Department of Elderly Affairs and by informing the clerk of court and the Office of Public and Professional Guardians of any change in the status of his or her guardianship appointment. The amount of the annual fee to be imposed for performing these searches and the procedures for the retention of professional guardian fingerprints and the dissemination of search results shall be established by rule of the Department of Law Enforcement. At least once every 5 years, the Office of Public and Professional Guardians must request that the Department of Law Enforcement forward the fingerprints maintained under this section to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(5)(a) A professional guardian, and each employee of a professional guardian who has a fiduciary responsibility to a ward, must complete, at his or her own expense, an investigation of his or her credit history before and at least once every 2 years after the date of the guardian’s registration with the Office of Public and Professional Guardians.
(b) By October 1, 2016, the Office of Public and Professional Guardians shall adopt a rule detailing the acceptable methods for completing a credit investigation under this section. If appropriate, the Office of Public and Professional Guardians may administer credit investigations. If the office chooses to administer the credit investigation, the office may adopt a rule setting a fee, not to exceed $25, to reimburse the costs associated with the administration of a credit investigation.
(6) The Office of Public and Professional Guardians may inspect at any time the results of any credit or criminal history record check of a public or professional guardian conducted under this section. The office shall maintain copies of the credit or criminal history record check results in the guardian’s registration file. If the results of a credit or criminal investigation of a public or professional guardian have not been forwarded to the Office of Public and Professional Guardians by the investigating agency, the clerk of the court shall forward copies of the results of the investigations to the office upon receiving them.
(7) The requirements of this section do not apply to a professional guardian, or to the employees of a professional guardian, that is a trust company, a state banking corporation or state savings association authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in this state, or a national banking association or federal savings and loan association authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in this state.
History.s. 30, ch. 89-96; s. 1076, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 97-161; s. 10, ch. 99-277; s. 5, ch. 2002-195; s. 10, ch. 2003-57; s. 114, ch. 2003-402; s. 12, ch. 2004-260; s. 22, ch. 2004-267; s. 8, ch. 2006-178; s. 1, ch. 2007-127; s. 58, ch. 2013-116; s. 2, ch. 2014-124; s. 27, ch. 2016-40.