Criminal

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The Circuit Court has jurisdiction over all defendants accused of committing crimes that have been designated by the State Legislature as felonies. A felony is a criminal offense punishable by death or imprisonment in a state penitentiary. The Circuit Court also has jurisdiction over all cases in which a child is alleged to have committed a delinquent act or violation of law. A law enforcement officer files a delinquent complaint when a juvenile is alleged to have committed a felony, misdemeanor, contempt of court or violation of a local ordinance.

The County Court has jurisdiction over all defendants accused of committing crimes which have been designated as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense, which is punishable by imprisonment in a county correctional facility. The County Court also has jurisdiction over criminal traffic cases. Criminal Traffic Laws which are defined by the Florida Rules of Court as a violation that may subject a defendant upon conviction to incarceration.

Seal/Expunge

Florida Statutes 943.0585 and 943.059 require that a person wishing to have his or her criminal history record sealed or expunged must first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from Florida Department of Law enforcement. With this certificate, the person can then petition the court for an order to seal or expunge his or her record. Effective July 1, 2006, these sections of Florida Statutes are amended to establish a 12 month expiration date for certificates. If the date issued on the certificate is more than 12 months old when the subject files a petition with the court, the certificate is invalid and the applicant must re-apply to FDLE and qualify to obtain a new certificate. This will help to ensure that the subject is still eligible when the court receives the petition. A packet with forms that can be used in this process may be obtained from any of the criminal departments.

Please visit the FDLE website for more information regarding sealing and expunging criminal history records.