County Criminal FAQ's


General Information | Criminal FAQ | Criminal Glossary

To obtain information on a Criminal case, search our online records.

Frequently Asked Questions:


WHAT IS A MISDEMEANOR?
According to Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, "Offenses lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine or imprisonment otherwise than in penitentiary"...

HOW CAN I CHANGE MY COURT DATE?
If your court date has already been set, the Clerk's Office cannot change it. If there is a problem with your date, you or your attorney should file the appropriate "Motion".

HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT A CASE?
You may obtain information on misdemeanor cases by accessing the clerk's computer system via public terminals located in all courthouses.

Due to the confidential nature of juvenile cases, you will not find these cases on the system. Direct your inquiries to the Juvenile Department service counter also located in all courthouses.

Personal assistance may be obtained on misdemeanor cases at the service counter of each division.
Key West Courthouse
500 Whitehead Street
Key West, FL  33040
Marathon Branch Courthouse
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
Upper Keys Gov't Center
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Key, FL  33070
Clerk of the Court
50 High Point Road
Plantation Key, FL  33070

HOW CAN I PRESS CHARGES AGAINST SOMEONE?
The Clerk of Court does not have the authority to file criminal charges. This must be done through a law enforcement agency.

To find out more information please visit the Monroe County Sheriff's website.

HOW DO I PAY RESTITUTION?
If you are on probation or community control, check with your Probation or Community Control Officer for payment instructions.

Telephone numbers are:
State Probation

Salvation Army/Lower Keys:
305-294-5611
Salvation Army/Middle Keys:
305-743-2695
Pride/Upper Keys:
305-852-4010

COUNTY PROBATION   
Read your copy of the "Restitution Order". This document will list the provisions regarding restitution payments.

If you are not on probation or community control and you were ordered to make restitution payments to the Clerk of Courts, they should be made to the sentencing location. Be sure to indicate that the payment is for "restitution", include your name and complete case number so payment is posted to the proper case. Money orders, personal check (no two party checks), or bank draft only. DO NOT SEND CASH THROUGH THE MAIL.
Locations are as follows:
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
KeyWest, FL  33040
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Key, FL  33070
Clerk of the Court
50 High Point Road
Plantation Key, FL  33070

WHAT IF I CAN’T PAY MY FINE?
If you are having a problem paying your fine and you are on probation or community control, contact your Probation or Community Control Officer at:

County Probation
Salvation Army-Lower Keys:
305-294-5611
Salvation Army-Middle Keys:
305-743-2695
Pride-Upper Keys:
305-852-4010

The Clerk’s Office cannot pardon, defer, or alter fines imposed by the Court.

WHAT IF MY PAYMENT IS LATE?
If your payment is going to be late, notify the appropriate office. Failure to do so could result in a "Bench Warrant" being issued for your arrest.

If you are on probation or community control, call:

COUNTY PROBATION
Salvation Army-Lower Keys:
305-294-5611
Salvation Army-Middle Keys:
305-743-2695
Pride/Upper Keys:
305-852-4010

**The Clerk’s Office cannot pardon, defer, or alter fines imposed by the Court.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN TO COME TO COURT?
If you have bonded out of jail or been released by a Judge, you were notified at the time of your release of your upcoming court date.

You will be notified of any change in this date by mail. All notices will be sent to the address that you gave when you were arrested.

If you change your mailing address, it is your responsibility to notify the Clerk’s Office in writing
or in person at:

Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
Key West, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Key, FL  33070
305-852-7145
Clerk of the Court
50 High Point Road
Plantation Key, FL  33070

Notification of change of address is very important. Your failure to appear for your court date could result in you being re-arrested or taken into custody.

I HAVE MOVED. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
It is the defendant’s responsibility to keep the Clerk’s Office informed of his or her correct address.

If your mailing address changes, you must submit your new address in person or by mail to the appropriate department:
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
Key West, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Key, FL  33070
305-852-7145
Clerk of the Court
50 High Point Road
Plantation Key, FL  33070

Failure on your part to notify this office of your address change could result in you failing to appear for a court date. This, in-turn, could result in your re-arrest.

CRIMINAL RECORD SEALED/EXPUNGED

There are very strict criteria for sealing or expunging court records. Some of the requirements are:

  1. You have been charged but not convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense because adjudication was withheld;
  2. The State Attorney declined to prosecute;
  3. You have not had any other court record sealed or expunged in the State of Florida;

You may be eligible to have court records pertaining to your case sealed or expunged. By Florida law, there are specific charges that cannot be sealed or expunged regardless of whether or not adjudication was withheld.

There are significant differences between a sealed record and a record that has been expunged.

A sealed record could be opened for inspection by a judge, 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 free packet that provides you with detailed instructions on the regulations governing sealed and expunged court files.

There are fees, which will be charged for processing requests. The initial fee charged by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is $75.00. There are additional fees charged by local law enforcement agencies.

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 that they may seal or expunge their records as well. The Clerk’s Office will charge you $25.00 for this service.

For additional information contact:
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
Key West, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Key, FL  33070
305-852-7145
Clerk of the Court
50 High Point Road
Plantation Key, FL  33070

MAY I ATTEND A CRIMINAL TRIAL?
All sessions of court are open to the public unless a judge has ordered a court proceeding to be closed.

Spectators are expected to dress and deport themselves properly while in attendance of any court session.

WHAT IS AN ARRAIGNMENT?
A procedure whereby the accused is brought before the court to plead to a charge in a charging document, ("Information", "Indictment", "Citation", etc.). The charge and rights are read to the defendant. After hearing the sentence being recommended by the State Attorney's Office, the defendant is then asked if he or she wants to plead "guilty", "not guilty", or "nolo contendere" (no contest).

In some instances, the case might be disposed of at the arraignment. In most instances, however, the case is "continued" to another court event at a later date.

If the case is continued, you will be served a "Notice to Appear" while you are attending the arraignment court event. This "notice" will list the date, time, and place you are to appear for the next court event regarding your case.

Occasionally, for various reasons, the Court might change the date, time, and/or place of your next court event. You will be notified of this change by U.S. Mail. It is very important that you ensure that the address listed in the court case file is correct. If you change your mailing address, you must promptly report the change to the Clerk’s Office in person or in writing. Your failure to appear for a court event could result in you being arrested and subject to additional penalties.

If you have an attorney, he may enter a written plea in 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.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I FAIL TO APPEAR?
Failure to appear can have serious consequences. The Court may issue a "Bench Warrant" for your arrest and enter an "Order of Bond Estreature", consequently causing you to forfeit the money and/or collateral you posted for the bond. Additional penalties could be imposed by the Court.

The Clerk’s Office cannot set-aside, recall, or reinstate a "Bench Warrant". Only the Courts have this authority.

WHERE CAN I PAY?
Payments can be made in person or by mail to the following locations:
Monroe County Clerks Office
500 Whitehead Street
Key West, FL  33040
Monroe County Clerks Office
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
Monroe County Clerks Office
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Key, FL  33070
Monroe County Clerks Office
50 High Point Road
Plantation Key, FL  33070

Payments should be in the form of a personal check, cashier's check or money order. Two party checks are not acceptable. Checks should be made payable to THE CLERK OF COURT. Be sure to include the citation number, case number and telephone number. If you would like a receipt please include a stamped self addressed envelope. DO NOT SEND CASH THRU THE MAIL.

HOW CAN I GET A "CRIMINAL RECORDS" SEARCH & LETTER?
For various reasons including applying for certain job positions, you must furnish a copy of the results of a "criminal record" search. You may obtain a letter reflecting the results of this search by contacting:
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
KeyWest, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Keys, FL  33070
305-852-7145
Clerk of the Court
50 High Point Road
Plantation Key, FL  33070

The search will only include Monroe County information.
Payment for the record search must be received before the search is conducted.
Fee charges are:
$1.00 per year per person
$1.00 per page for copies
$1.00 per document for certification

When your request is made please include as much information as possible. Each request is handled as quickly as possible in the order received. This request can be made by mail or in person at any office location.

Payment must be made before the record search can be conducted.

I NEED A HARDSHIP DRIVER'S LICENSE. WHAT CAN I DO?
Conviction of various charges can result in the Court suspending your driving privilege for a significant period of time. You might be eligible for a "Hardship Driver’s License". Your attorney can advise you as to the process and requirements involved.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV), through a hearing officer, determines the eligibility of applicants for Hardship Driver’s Licenses.

For additional information, contact:
The Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV)
Lower Keys
3439 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, FL  33040
305-293-6338
Middle Keys
3380 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-2306
Upper Keys
101463 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL  33037
305-853-3563

BOATING, FISHING, COUNTY & MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE VIOLATIONS (BEACH, NOISE, LITTER, ETC...) CIVIL INFRACTIONS?
These "Civil Infractions" are "payable" fines. That means that anytime before your scheduled court date, you may pay the fine and not have to appear in court.

If you do not pay the fine before your scheduled court date, or you intend to contest the charge, you must appear in court at the designated time and place.

DRIVER’S LICENSE REINSTATEMENT
If your driving privilege has been suspended as a result of non-compliance for a violation or charge in Monroe County, the Clerk’s Office can reinstate your license as long as the Monroe County suspension is the only open suspension on your driver’s license record. The cost for this reinstatement is $25.00.

The Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) can also reinstate your license for a fee of $25.00. You must have proof that all outstanding suspensions in every county in the State of Florida have been satisfied.

For additional information, contact:
The Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV)
Lower Keys
3439 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, FL  33040
305-293-6338
Middle Keys
3380 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-2306
Upper Keys
101463 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL  33037
305-853-3563

I WOULD LIKE AN ATTORNEY BUT CAN'T AFFORD ONE. WHAT CAN I DO?
Florida Statute 27.51(1) states, "(1) The public defender shall represent, without additional compensation, any person who is determined by the court to be indigent as provided in s.27.52... ... ... ..."

By law, the Clerks Office cannot provide you with legal advice or recommend a particular attorney. This includes the filling out of documents and forms.

You may qualify for the services of the "Public Defender". For additional information contact:
Pretrial Services
5503 College Rd., Suite 2039
Key West, Florida  33040
305-294-7288
FAX: 305-295-3905

I AM A WITNESS IN A CRIMINAL CASE. HOW CAN I OBTAIN INFORMATION?
All questions regarding court appearances should be directed to the office that has subpoenaed you as a witness.
State Attorney's Office
530 Whitehead Street
Key West, FL  33040
305-294-7707
State Attorney's Office
4695 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-2595
State Attorney's Office
Fred Pearce 88820 Overseas Highway
Tavernier, FL  33070
305-852-7349

TOBACCO POSSESSION UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS
Florida Statute 569.11 Possession, misrepresenting age or military service to purchase, and purchase of tobacco products by persons under 18 years of age prohibited; penalties; jurisdiction; disposition of fines., states, "(1) It is unlawful for any person under 18 years of age to knowingly possess any tobacco product. Any person under 18 years of age who violates the provisions of this subsection a noncriminal violation as provided in s. 775.08(3), punishable by:

  1. For a first violation, 16 hours of community service or, instead of community service, a $25 fine. In addition, the person must attend a school-approved anti-tobacco program, if locally available;
  2. For a second violation within 12 weeks of the first violation, a $25 fine; or
  3. For a third or subsequent violation within 12 weeks of the first violation, the court must direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of or suspend or revoke the person’s driver’s license or driving privilege, as provided in s. 322.056"………..

On the first and second violations of this statute, a court appearance is not required if you meet the following conditions:

  1. 1st Violation – Before your scheduled court appearance, come in person to the service counter of the Criminal Division and pay a $25 fine or select to perform 16 hours community service.
  2. 2nd Violation – Before your scheduled court appearance, come in person to the service counter of the Criminal Division and pay a $25 fine.

If you do not complete steps one or two above, you must appear in court at the scheduled date, time and place as stated in the notice you will receive from the Court.

A third violation requires a court appearance. You'll be sent a notice advising you of the date, time and place.

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