May 16, 2024


THE FLORIDA COURT SYSTEM IS COMPRISED OF two levels of trial courts – County and Circuit, District Courts of Appeal, and the State Supreme Court.

County Court

  • Handles violations of county and city ordinances
  • Misdemeanors, or minor offenses that could lead to a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail
  • Civil cases involving amounts of $15,000 or less, such as landlord-tenant or small claims disputes
  • All traffic violations

Circuit Court

  • Hears family cases, such as dissolution of marriage, guardianship and juvenile delinquency
  • Felony offenses
  • Probate matters: Examples of which are processing of wills and settling estates
  • Civil cases involving a dispute of more than $15,000
  • Appeals from County Court

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Probate?

Probate in Florida

What is a misdemeanor?

A minor offense tried in county court that could lead to a fine of up to $1000 and/or one year in county jail. DUI fines could be higher. 

What is a felony?

A major offense tried in Circuit court that could lead to a fine or imprisonment in a state institution.

What is a speedy trial?

Limits the time between arrest and trial; for misdemeanor, it is 90 days or less; for felony, it is six months or less.

What is bail?

A security given to assure a prisoner will appear and answer in court that is required for release until trial. This can be obtained from a bail bondsman, currently at a ten percent fee.

What is your mailing address?

P.O. Box 472, Milton, Fl 32572 (attention: Felony, Misdemeanor, Traffic, Civil, Family Law Dept.)

Does my cash bond take care of my criminal case; do I have to come to court?

You must appear in court, and enter a plea.

Can I get my bond money back today?
No, the bond stays with the case until it is disposed. It takes approximately a week to process the refund transfer after a case is disposed. Cash bonds will be posted to any outstanding fines and court fees owed by the defendant. 

When is my next court date?
You can find your next court date on the website; however, you should check with your attorney or the clerk’s office for any changes that have not been posted.

Can I get a criminal history on someone? What is the charge?
Requests for criminal history and/or dispositions should be done in writing and directed to the appropriate department within the clerk’s office. The charge is $1.00 for each name searched and $1 for each page copied.

Do you take checks, credit cards?
We accept cash, checks written on local banks, MasterCard, Discover & Visa credit cards.

What are your hours?
Our main Courthouse and South End Annex office are open 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday.

Can I get a continuance?
If you have an attorney, you should direct all questions concerning your case to your attorney. If you are representing yourself, you should submit a written request for continuance to the clerk of courts. The clerk will forward your request along with your file to the appropriate judge.

What will happen if I don’t appear in court?
The Judge may order the clerk of courts to issue a warrant for your arrest. You can avoid being arrested by contacting the Clerk for a continuance prior to your court date.

Is there an outstanding warrant for my arrest?
Cases with outstanding warrants do not appear on the website; however, you may call the appropriate clerk’s department to determine if there is a warrant.

Can I do community service work to pay for my fine and costs?
This issue must be approved by the appropriate judge. In many instances, the judge will allow.

Can I have an attorney appointed to assist me in my case?
The public defender will be present at your arraignment. If you meet certain financial guidelines, the court will be willing to appoint.

Do I have to have all the money for the fine on the day I am sentenced?
No, the court will allow reasonable time to pay. Partial payments are accepted w/a fee; $5 per payment or one-time $25 fee. 

Can my relative attend court with me?
Yes, you may bring a relative to court with you; however, seating space is limited and defendants are given priority. Your relative may have to stand or wait outside the courtroom until your case is called.

Can I pay my costs in my home county or state?
Not at this time. You can, however, call the Clerk of Courts, and make a credit card payment over the phone. In the near future, you will be able to make payments online.

What am I charged with?
You can inquire into the Clerk’s website to view your record, call or e-mail the appropriate clerk’s department.

Can I tell the judge my story or file documents on my behalf?
If you are represented by an attorney, you should not file or discuss your case with anyone in the court system other than your attorney. He will advise you appropriately. If you are representing yourself, you may file documents, and the judge will afford you an opportunity to address the court.

How much fine & costs can I expect to pay?
Court costs are set by the Florida statutes at $190 in misdemeanor cases + 5% of the fine surtax. The maximum fine is $1,000 for a first-degree misdemeanor, and $500 for a second-degree misdemeanor. If you fail to pay – your case will be referred to a collection agency and your license will be suspended. 

Can the Clerk of Courts assist me with my legal questions?
Clerks are not attorneys, and not allowed to give legal advice.

Questions about probation:
Can I do my probation in my home county or state?
County probation is non-transferrable; however, the court will work with you in allowing reporting by mail if appropriate.

Are probation fees paid to the clerk of courts?
No, probation fees are paid directly to the probation dept. Fines & court costs are paid to the clerk.

Where can I do my community service work?
You will be directed by the community service director to an approved site for community service.