The Florida court system is comprised of a Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, Circuit Courts and County Courts. Each type of court supports a specific function of the justice system. Florida also has The Office of the State Courts Administrators (OSCA) which is the administrative section of the judicial system.
The Supreme Court of Florida is 150 years old and is the highest appeals court in the state. Florida has five Courts of Appeal, 20 Circuit Courts and 67 County Courts. Since 1989, Florida has also offered problem-solving courts to deal with things like alcoholism, mental illness, domestic violence, drug addiction, child abuse, neglect and homelessness. These specialized courts combine judges with prosecutors, defense attorneys, case managers, law enforcement officers, treatment professionals, corrections personnel, and guardians to provide a comprehensive solution to the problems and keep repeat offenders out of the system.
Florida has a total of 921 trial judges in the state. On average Florida receives more than 2,663,654 filings in County Courts and 762,685 in Circuit Courts each year. Roughly 755,238 of those are for criminal cases, and 2,266,716 are for civil matters. Another 278,317 are for family issues, and the remaining 126,068 are for probate cases.
Florida has an online public docket area on the judicial branch’s website where users can search for court records. The searches are for the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal only. They do not supply links to search trial records online. Patrons would need to visit the courthouse in person to obtain copies of publicly available records. Typically, sealed, expunged and juvenile records are not open to the general public. Federal law also prohibits personal details from being included in court documents accessed by the public. Things like social security numbers, corporate trade secrets, children’s names, bank accounts, and taxpayer IDs are some examples of information that will be redacted from the files.
Florida has a dedicated website called My Florida Court Access where plaintiffs, defendants, and attorneys can file documents electronically for their cases. Users must first request an account and login. The justice department website has explicit instructions on statewide standards for electronic filing. They encourage new users to read it in full before using the system.
Additionally, the Florida Judicial Branch website offers dozens of downloadable forms for users to file manually with the specific court. Most of these are for self-represented litigants. There is even a section for the Florida Statutes and Rules of Court. They offer an email address and phone number for support and help if needed.
Try the Infotracer search tool to lookup Florida court records within minutes! The Florida Public Records Act Fla. Stat. § 119.011(11) allows anyone to access thousands of court cases in Florida from the largest three counties of Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County or the entire state. The Infotracer search tool is a massive database including criminal court records, family court records like divorces and marriages, bankruptcies, civil disputes, business legal issues, and more!
Anyone may lookup Florida court records without permission or even a reason. The courts may seal some files like juvenile court records, but most Florida court records will be available online and searchable.
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In 2012, the Florida courts received 4,030,328 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 21.0% and counted 3,185,662 filings and had 3,144,301 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of Florida at year end of 2016 has increased by 0.6% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 232,222 but are lower than in 2015.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in Florida courts counts to 691,733, with 166,089 felony cases and 525,644 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
Florida is divided up into twenty judicial districts, and each Circuit Court serves one. Florida’s Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over matters that are not served by the County Courts. This court also hears appeals from the County Courts. Circuit courts resolve civil issues of $15,000 or more, estate issues, cases involving minors, mental health cases, juvenile crimes, felonies, tax disputes, title to real property, and civil suits.
Circuit Court judges are elected by the voters to a six-year term. They must reside within the county they are elected in and have practiced law for five years before taking a seat at the bench.
Florida has one County Court for each of its 67 counties. Each county has a different number of judges based on caseload and population. To qualify to be a County Court judge, someone must first be a member of the Florida Bar for five years and reside in the county where they are elected. Sometimes County Court judges are assigned to the Circuit Courts, and they serve six-year terms. County Courts are trial courts and have jurisdiction over civil matters of $15,000 or less. Most trials are non-jury trials heard by a judge. Florida refers to the County Courts as: "the people's courts," because these courts handle most traffic offenses, citizen disputes and minor criminal offenses plus small claims.