COURT DIVISIONS


Appeals

Appeals prepares and monitors the records on appeal for county court to circuit court appeals, and for county and circuit court appeals to the First District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court. Appeals also tracks the mandates (opinions) from the courts acting in their appellate capacity, to coordinate case handling with all other court divisions.

Circuit Civil

Circuit Civil handles cases which involve monetary judgments in excess of $15,000, injunctions, declaratory judgments, mortgage foreclosures, negligence, professional malpractice, and other matters where a claimant may be made whole by receiving a money judgment.

Court Ordered Payments Program

As part of their judgments and sentences in criminal cases, defendants are ordered to pay court costs and fines. Defendants are required to pay these in full at the time of sentencing or enroll in a payment program.

Court Ordered Payments Court was established in 1997 via administrative order to assist customers paying their criminal court costs and fines by allowing them to make payments over time. Unless other arrangements are made, first payments are due 30 days from the date of sentencing, and payments will continue every 30 days until the balance is paid in full.

Payments are automatically set at a rate of $50 per month for Misdemeanor and Traffic cases and $75 per month for Felony. A $25 partial payment fee is added to those cases that are set on the payment plan. Payments should be made unless other arrangements have been made with the clerk or the sentencing judge.

Special Processes

This division administers collections court; handles jury administration for county and circuit courts, criminal and civil cases; handles appearance bonds in criminal cases under Section 903.105, Florida Statutes; oversees Central Cashiering; and administers the remote traffic payment site at Heritage Plaza.

Domestic Violence Injunctions

Family Law / Juvenile Dependency

Family Law handles cases which involve dissolution of marriage, name change, domestic violence and repeat violence injunctions, adoptions, paternity issues, and support issues (child or spousal). Dependency handles cases involving children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected. Juvenile records are maintained as confidential under Florida Law.

Felony

Felony handles all types of criminal cases, primarily felony but also misdemeanor and traffic charges. A felony is any criminal offense that is punishable under Florida laws, or that would be punishable if committed in Florida, by death or imprisonment in a state penitentiary. Felony charges include Murder, Manslaughter, Burglary, Grand Theft, Kidnapping, Forgery and Uttering, Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Child Abuse, Sexual Battery and Worthless Checks. Felonies are classified for purposes of sentencing into the following categories: a) Capital felony; b) Life felony; c) Felony of the first degree; d) Felony of the second degree; and e) Felony of the third degree.

Guardianship

Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile handles delinquency cases involving children under the age of 18, and works closely with the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Judiciary, State Attorneys, Public Defenders, and law enforcement agencies. The division dockets all cases, attends court hearings, and maintains all of the required court records. Juvenile records are maintained as confidential under Florida law.

Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors are violations of the law that are less serious than felony offenses. They are punishable by a fine, probation, and/or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, as opposed to a state prison sentence on a felony charge. Misdemeanor offenses include petit theft, worthless checks, prostitution-related charges, possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia, resisting arrest without violence, battery (domestic violence), and assault. Ordinance violation cases are punishable by a fine or civil penalty.

Probate

Probate maintains the court records of the estates of deceased persons, the guardianships of certain minors and incapacitated persons and all persons committed to mental institutions or mental health facilities involving mental disorders (known as Baker Act cases), drugs, and alcohol abuse (known as Marchman Act cases).

County Civil / Small Claims

Small Claims handles cases with claims up to $5,000.00. County Civil handles cases with claims from $5,000 to $15,000; replevin cases; landlord tenant cases; and other non-monetary civil matters such as declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, non-monetary equity matters, control of animals.

Traffic

Traffic is responsible for processing all traffic citations issued by the Tallahassee Police Department, Leon County Sheriff's Department, the Florida Highway Patrol (when issued in Leon County), and other state law enforcement agencies. There are four primary types of cases filed in Traffic: Criminal traffic violations; traffic infractions (cases involving a civil penalty/fine and not punishable by a term in the county jail); misdemeanors that occur in conjunction with a traffic violation (resisting arrest, etc.); and ordinance violations.

As of October 2007, roughly 50% of all infractions received from The Tallahassee Police Department are submitted electronically, about 1500 citations per month. The Florida Highway Patrol submits just over 1000 infractions electronically per month, which is just over 50% of their total submissions. Electronic citations improve productivity for both the issuing agency and the Clerk's Office, and reduce errors as the Clerk's Office does not have to manually enter the data.

Payments must be made at the payment facility at 1276 Metropolitan Blvd., or at the main courthouse, which has five full-service windows, where customers can elect an option, pay a fine, or show proof of compliance to satisfy a traffic citation. Technology plays a key role in allowing the Clerk's Office to process a case quickly. The Clerk of Court is authorized by Florida Statutes to reinstate the driver license and privilege to drive when a person complies with all obligations and penalties imposed. Through direct access to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Clerk is able to enter the reinstatement on the record while the person is being served.