Florida Court Records

 Why Florida Court Records Are Available to the Public

In 1995, the Florida State Legislature passed the Florida Public Records Law. This legislationwas created to ensure thefull disclosure of court records and other public records be made available to the public.

What Court Records Access Means To You

The Florida Public Records Law is designed to guarantee public access to Florida’s public records. The law states that “it is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records shall at all times be open for a personal inspection by any person.”

Accountable to the Public

When the legislature enacted The Public Records Law, it definitively declared that the public receive full access to publicly documented and recorded information concerning the conduct of the people within its jurisdiction.Disclosure of these records is deemed a fundamental and necessary right for every person in this state:http://www.myflsunshine.com/sun.nsf/sunmanual.

The Florida Sunshine Lawstates that the government of the State of Florida declares itself an open government, fully accountable and accessible to the people it proudly represents. Any person can request public recordswithout having to specify a reason for the intendedaccess.

How the Florida Court Process Functions

Most cases in Florida courts begin in one of the 67 superior or trial courts located in each of the state’s 67 counties.

The next level of judicial authority resides with the Courts of Appeals. Most cases before the Courts of Appeals involves the review of a superior court decision being contested. The legislature divided the state geographically into six appellate districts.

The Supreme Court serves as the highest court in the state and has discretion to review decisions of the Courts of Appeals in order to settle disputes regarding how the state law should be interpreted and to resolve conflicts that occur atthat level.

Some differences Between Civil Court and Small Claims Court

 

Small Claims

Civil

Appeal

Only the party who was sued can file an appeal; the person who filed the claim cannot appeal

Either party can appeal

Attorney Representation

You cannot have a lawyer file your claim or go to court with you, except for an appeal

You can have a lawyer file your papers and go to court for you

Filling fee for either defendant or plaintiff’s claim

$30 -$100 per claim

$180 to $320 per claim

Pre-trial discovery allowed

No

Yes

How long to complete your case

30-70 days after the complaint is filed

120 days after you file the complaint

 

You do not have to be a U.S. citizento file or defend a case in Small Claims Court. If speaking English is an issue for you, it is advisable to bring someone who speaks English with you to court and ask the judge if that person can serve as an interpreter. The court cannot provide an interpreter.

Interpreterscan be found by using the Florida Courts Interpreter Search page. Also see the webpage with interpreter information on this website:http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/court-interpreters.stml.

 How Florida Court Records Are Structured

Florida court records are divided into civil cases and small claims matters.

Limited civil records contain cases where the petitioner is seeking over $15,000, http://www.flcourts.org/florida-courts/. Civil cases also include other types of disputes that do not involve money, like cases to resolve (or “quiet”) title to real property, cases asking for civil restraining orders and cases requesting a person’s nameor their child’s name be changed.

Small Claims Court filings include cases where the petitioner is seeking $5,000 or less and is not represented by counsel. Close to 100,000 small claims cases are filed statewide every year.

Some examples of common Small Claims Court cases include the following:

  • Your former landlord refuses to return the security deposit you paid.
  • Someone dents your fender and refuses to pay for the repairs.
  • Your new TV does not work, and the store will not fix it.
  • Your tenant caused damage to the apartment, and the repairs cost more than their security deposit (Note: You cannot use small claims court to evict someone.).
  • You lent money to a friend, and he/she refuses to pay you back.
  • Small Claims Court can also order a defendant to do something, as long as the claim is also asking for money. For example, the court can cancel a contract or the court can order your neighbor to pay you for your lawn mower or order them to return it to you right away.
Florida State Archives

Florida State Archives

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Case Number
  • Case Summary
  • Docket
  • Police Report
  • Court Documents
  • Legal Records
  • Case File
  • Statements
  • Transcripts
  • Legal Forms
  • Case Notes
  • Disposition
  • Trial Records
  • Arbitration
  • Case Evidence
  • Witnesses
  • Interviews
  • Descriptions
  • Mugshots
  • Charges
  • Legal Motions
  • Attorney Records
  • Prosecution Records
Florida Hernando County Courthouse 1915

Florida Hernando County Courthouse 1915

  • State Archives hold over 30,000 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: trial and appellate.
  • There are 5 District Courts in the state of Florida.
  • There are 20 Circuit Courts through the state of Florida.
  • There are 67 County Courts in each county.
  • The highest Court in Florida is Florida Supreme Court.
  • Each layer of the Florida judicial system has a distinct role in providing justice to all Floridians.
  • Conservancy of Southwest Florida
  • Fort Lauderdale children
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Women Of Tomorrow
  • MWC