A felony is a serious crime, such as murder, robbery, sexual assault or grand theft. A felony conviction could result in a state prison sentence, loss of certain civil rights and possible exclusion from certain jobs.
Criminal cases can be filed in both the Circuit and County Criminal divisions. The Circuit Criminal division maintains case records for all felony cases. The County Criminal division maintains case records for all Misdemeanor, Traffic Criminal, Municipal Ordinance, and County Ordinance cases.
If your court date has already been set on a felony case, the Clerk's Office cannot change it. If there is a problem with your date, you or your attorney should contact the office of the Judge assigned to your case.
Failure to appear has serious consequences. A Judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. You may forfeit any bond that you have posted, thus losing money or collateral. If you are re-arrested you may be held in jail without bond.
Submitting a change of address is very important, as failure to appear for your court date could result in being re-arrested.
If you have bonded out of jail or have been released by a Judge, you will be notified by mail of upcoming court dates. The Clerk of Courts Case Maintenance System is a party based system. All notices will be sent to the latest updated address on record. If your address changes, it is your responsibility to notify this office, in person or in writing, of your new address to: Clerk of Courts Felony Division, 201 S.E. 6th Street, Room 160, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301.
If you are on probation or community control, check with your Probation or Community Control Officer for payment instructions.
If you are not on Probation or community control, you must have a Judge’s order stating that the Clerk’s office is to collect the money. The order must have the victim’s name and address and the total amount due.
If the case is a felony, cash, money orders, personal or cashier’s checks may be sent or brought to the Felony Division, Room 160, of the main courthouse. Credit Cards will not be accepted.
If neither of the above applies to you, check with the agency specified in your Restitution Order.
There are very strict criteria for sealing or expunging court records. If you have been charged, but not convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, because adjudication was withheld or the state declined to prosecute, and you have not had any other court record sealed or expunged in the state, you may be eligible. By Florida law, there are specific charges that cannot be sealed or expunged, regardless of whether or not adjudication was withheld.
Pronounced differences exist between a sealed record and a record that has been expunged. A sealed record could be opened for inspection by you, your attorney, a criminal justice agency and, in specific situations, a prospective employer. An expunged record would no longer exist, since the file and any references to it are destroyed.
The Clerk's office has a packet, available at a charge of $0.60 that provides you with detailed instructions on the regulations governing the sealing and expungement of court files. This packet is also downloadable from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website www.fdle.state.fl.us.
There are fees, which will be charged, for processing requests for sealing or expungement. The initial fee charged by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is $75.00. There are additional fees charged by the local law enforcement agency, and Clerk of the Courts Office, as well.
After completing the requirements contained in the packet, you will need to prepare paperwork that must be submitted to have the record sealed or expunged. This paperwork is not supplied in the Clerk's packet and must be prepared by you, in accordance with state statute. If you prefer, you may contact an attorney to provide this service.
If the judge approves the motion, your record will be sealed or expunged. The Clerk's office will then provide certified copies of the order to those agencies that have a record of your arrest, so they may seal or expunge their records, as well. However, you are responsible for payment of the cost of the copies and certification, in addition to a $42.00 statutory processing fee.
By Telephone: Dial (954) 831-6565
By Internet: As of 2014 Criminal Felony moved to electronic filing. All filings filed from January of 2014 have images of the pleadings on the cases. Although all cases from 2014 moving forward are electronic, several of our cases prior to 2014 have been converted to have all images placed on the cases as well.
In person: To review the felony cases in person you may visit the Broward County Central Courthouse, East Wing, Felony Division Room 160, 201 S.E. 6th Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
To review felony files for years 2013 to current year you must first order the files by telephone. The number to call is: (954) 831-5796. The Clerk's Felony Division will instruct you as to when and where to review the cases.
To obtain information on felony cases 1999 and older you may call the Clerk's Archives Division at (954) 831-7856. The Clerk's Archives Division will instruct you as to when and where to review the case.
Visit Records Request for more options on how to obtain court documents.
It is the defendant's responsibility to keep this office informed of his or her correct current address. If your mailing address changes, you must submit your new address in person or by mail to: Clerk of Courts Felony Division, 201 S.E. 6th Street, Room 160, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301. Doing so will assure that you receive notice of your court dates. A “Change of Address” form is available from the Forms Quick Link on this page.
All sessions of court are open to the public, unless a particular Judge orders his/her courtroom closed. Lists of all court proceedings are posted daily in the lobby of the Central Courthouse. Spectators are expected to dress and deport themselves properly while in attendance at any court session. Cell phones must be turned off while in court.
The Clerk's Office cannot pardon, defer, or alter fines imposed by the Court. If you are having a problem and are on probation or community control, contact your Probation or Community Control Officer. If you are not on probation or community control, you must contact the office of the Judge that sentenced you. You may also come to the Felony Division to set up a payment plan provided your costs have not been sent to a Collection Agency and the costs are not a condition of your probation or community control. There is a $25 fee per case for establishing a payment plan agreement.
An arraignment is a hearing where a defendant is advised of the formal charges filed by the State and allowed to enter a plea as to the charges. If you have an attorney, he/she may enter a written plea on your behalf and waive your appearance at the arraignment. If not, you must appear. Be sure to check with your attorney as to whether you must appear. At the arraignment, a trial date and possibly a status conference date will be set.
The Clerk of Court does not have the authority to change names on original court records. The Broward County State Attorney's Office should be notified if you suspect someone is using your identity. For information, contact the State Attorney at (954) 831-6955.
The following terms are referenced from Black's Law Dictionary and are being provided to assist with general understanding of court Terminology. Terms that have **by them are an in-house definition but are not a legal definition. Some terms may indicate a Florida Statute reference or another reference that can be researched Online on those sites.
|Abatement||1. The act of eliminating or nullifying.; 2. The suspension or defeat of a pending action for a reason unrelated to the merits of the claim.|
|Administrator Ad Litem||A special administrator appointed by the court to represent the estate’s interest in an action usu. either because there is no administrator of the estate or because the current administrator has an interest in the action adverse to that of the estate.|
|Administrative Order||A directive necessary to administer properly the court’s affairs but not inconsistent with the constitution or with court rules and administrative orders entered by the supreme court. **Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, Rule 2.120 **|
|Affiant||One who makes an affidavit.|
|Affidavit||A voluntary declaration of facts written down and sworn to by the declarant before an officer authorized to administer oaths, such as a notary public.|
|Affirmative Defenses||A defendant’s assertion of facts and arguments that, if true, will defeat the plaintiff’s or prosecution’s claim, even if all the allegations in the complaint are true.|
|Affirmance||The formal approval by an appellate court of a lower court’s judgment, order or decree.|
|A/K/A||Also known as**|
|Alias||An assumed or additional, name that a person has used or is known by.|
|Amend||To make right; to correct or rectify. To change the wording of; specify, to formally alter by striking out, inserting, or substituting words.|
|Answer||A defendant’s first pleading that addresses the merits of the case, usu, by denying the plaintiff’s allegations.|
|Appeal||A proceeding undertaken to have a decision reconsidered by a higher authority; esp, the submission of a lower court’s or agency’s decision to a higher court for review and possible reversal.|
|Appellant||A party who appeals a lower court’s decision, usu. seeking reversal of that decision.|
|Appellee||The party against whom an appeal is taken and whose role is to respond to that appeal, seeking affirmance of the lower court’s decision.|
|A/S/O/||As subrogee of**|
|Bond Estreature||Court order to forfeit bond to the county. **USLegal.com**|
|BSO||Broward Sheriff's Office**|
|Caption||The introductory part of a court paper stating the names of the parties, the name of the court, the docket or file number, and a description of the paper.|
|Certified Copy||A duplicate of an original document, certified as an exact reproduction by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.|
|Clerk's Fee||The fee which the clerk's office charges whenever money is deposited into the court registry account.**|
|Clerk's Satisfaction||The form prepared when a judgment debtor pays the judgment to the court.**|
|Clerk's Minutes||The compilation by the Court Clerk of the events occurring in a trial.**|
|Consolidation||The act or process of uniting; the state of being united.|
|D/B/A/||Doing business as**|
|Defendant||A person sued in a civil proceeding or accused in a criminal proceeding.|
|Deposition||Witness’s out-of-court testimony that is reduced to writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes.|
|Docket||A formal record in which a judge or court clerk briefly notes all the proceedings and filings in a court case.|
|Et Al||And all others**|
|Exemplified Copy||A duplicate of an original document, certified as an exact reproduction by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.|
|Ex Parte||Done or made at the instance and for the benefit of one party only, and without notice to, or argument by, any person adversely interested; or of relating to court action taken by one party without notice to the other, for temporary or emergency relief.|
|Extradition||The official surrender of an alleged criminal by one state or nation to another having jurisdiction over the crime charged; the return of a fugitive from justice, regardless of consent, by the authorities where the fugitive is found.|
|F/D/B/A||Formerly doing business as**|
|Fictitious Name||The name under which a business operates or by which it is commonly known.|
|F/K/A||Formerly known as**|
|Forfeiture||The divestiture of property without compensation.|
|Forthwith||Immediately; without delay.|
|F/U/B/O/||For the use and benefit of**|
|General Magistrate||A judicial officer with strictly limited jurisdiction and authority, often on the local level and often restricted to criminal cases.|
|Habeas Corpus||A writ employed to bring a person before a court, most frequently to ensure that the party’s imprisonment or detention is not illegal.|
|Index||An alphabetized listing of the topics or other items included in a single book or document, or in a series of volumes, usu. found at the end of the book, document, or series.|
|Indecency||The state or condition of a person who lacks the means of subsistence; extreme hardship or neediness; poverty.|
|Interlocutory Order||An order that relates to some intermediate matter in the case; any order other than a final order.|
|Jurisdiction||A government’s general power to exercise authority over all persons and things within its territory.|
|Mandamus||A writ issued by a superior court to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly.|
|Mandate||An order from an appellate court directing a lower court to take a specified action.|
|Memorandum at Law||A party’s written statement of its legal arguments presented to the court, usu. in the form of a brief.|
|Microfilm||Rolls of film on which old court records are stored.**|
|N/K/A/||Now Known as**|
|Order to Show Cause||An order directing a party to appear in court and explain why the party took some action or why the court should or should not grant some relief.|
|Perpetuation of Testimony||The means or procedure for preserving for future use witness testimony that might otherwise be unavailable at trial.|
|Petition||A formal written request presented to a court or other official body.|
|Pleading||A formal document, in which a party to a legal proceeding sets forth or responds to allegations, claims, denials, or defenses.|
|Pluries||A third or subsequent writ issued when the previous writs have been ineffective; a writ issued after an alias writ.|
|Pro Se||For oneself; on one’s own behalf; without a lawyer.|
|Quash||To annul or make void; to terminate.|
|Record on Appeal||The record of a trial-court proceeding as presented to the appellate court for review.|
|Recusal||Removal of oneself as judge or policy-maker in a particular manner, esp. because of a conflict of interest.|
|Remanded||To recommit (an accused person) to custody after a preliminary examination.|
|Rule to Show Case||See Order to Show Cause|
|SED||Support Enforcement Division**|
|Style||A case name or designation.|
|Subpoena||To call before a court or other tribunal by subpoena.|
|Subpoena Duces Tecum||A subpoena ordering the witness to appear and to bring specified documents, records, or things.|
|Summons||To command (a person) by service of a summons to appear in court.|
|Surety Bond||A bond given by a surety to ensure the timely performance of a contract.|
|True Copy||A copy that, while not necessarily exact, is sufficiently close to the original that anyone can understand it.|
|Venue||The county or other territory over which a trial court has jurisdiction.|
|Verified Certified Copy||A duplicate of an original (usu. official) document, certified as an exact reproduction usu. by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.|
|Writ||A court’s written order, in the name of a state or other competent legal authority, commanding the addressee to do or refrain from doing some specified act.|
|Body Attachment, Writ||The arrest of a person who either is in contempt of court or is to be held as security for the payment of a judgment.|
|Execution, Writ of||A court order directing a sheriff or other officer to enforce a judgment, usu. by seizing and selling the judgment debtor’s property.|
|Replevin, Writ of||A writ obtained from court authorizing the retaking of personal property wrongfully taken or detained.|