The Circuit Court Appellate Division hears appeals from the county court and from various quasi-judicial boards and administrative agencies.
The Circuit Civil Division hears cases where damages are alleged to be in excess of $50,000 filed by an individual, business or government agency.
The Circuit Criminal Division hears major criminal (felony) cases where the resulting penalty can be imprisonment in a state penitentiary or death.
County Court Civil and Criminal
The County Civil Division hears Landlord Tenant, Small Claims (amounts up to $8,000), and other civil matters like Auto Negligence, Condominium and Personal Injury Protection (amounts of $8,001 up to $50,000) cases.
The County Court Criminal Division handles criminal misdemeanor cases, criminal traffic matters, municipal and county ordinance violations and civil traffic infractions. Criminal misdemeanor cases include violations of the law such as petit theft, simple battery and other crimes. Criminal traffic matters include motor vehicle violations such as driving while license suspended, driving under the influence and operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.
The Domestic Violence Division handles and coordinates all restraining orders for domestic and repeat violence, as well as misdemeanor and felony domestic violence criminal proceedings.
Felony Mental Health and Drug Court
Court services for felony mental health court include competency restoration, case management, linkage to mental health out- patient and residential treatment, assistance with housing, therapy and medication management. When requested, the court also commits defendants, where appropriate, to forensic hospital care.
Felony Drug Court works closely with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Program, Broward Addiction Recovery Center and other private providers. Participants are assessed for treatment needs and services and then offered appropriate services (such as drug treatment, mental health services, trauma-informed services, transportation and housing assistance and interview and job training).
Foreclosure is the enforcement of a mortgage lien by judicial sale of the property. A mortgage lien is created when there is a loan contract for money borrowed under a note. This loan is secured by the mortgage lien upon real property. When the debt is not paid according to the loan contract terms, or when other contract terms are violated, the lender can pursue its lien on the property.
General Magistrate and Hearing Officers
General Magistrates and Hearing Officers are judicial officers who assist the circuit judges by holding hearings and providing recommendations in the areas of family law, support enforcement, mental health, guardianship, substance abuse and juvenile dependency. The general magistrates are responsible for cases involving temporary relief (alimony, child support, and attorney’s fees and costs in family law cases), contempt of court, support enforcement, mental health (Baker Act), substance abuse (Marchman Act), tuberculosis, sexually transmissible diseases, incapacity, guardianship (including guardian applications, background investigations and annual reports filed with the court), modification of prior rulings, and dependency review hearings. As part of the guardianship law, General Magistrates assist the Probate Court with guardian applications and background checks as well as plenary and limited guardianships.
Juvenile Delinquency Court
Presides over cases involving minors under the age of 18 who have allegedly committed a criminal offense under the Florida Statutes. The Juvenile Delinquency Division works closely with state agencies and community partners with the goal of rehabilitation and/or treatment of the child and family rather than punishment.
Juvenile Dependency Court
Protects children and strives to achieve safe permanent homes for those who have suffered abuse, neglect and/or abandonment
Juvenile Drug Court
The Juvenile Drug Court program aims to reduce juvenile recidivism rates by providing participants with intense supervision and the necessary tools together with community support with a goal of eradicating the substance abuse issues.
Misdemeanor Drug Court
The 17th Judicial Circuit’s Misdemeanor Drug Court is a special court that is given the responsibility to handle cases involving substance-abusing offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services and immediate sanctions and incentives.
Misdemeanor Mental Health Court
Potential participants in the court are usually identified and referred to the court within 24 hours of arrest. Screening is conducted by a psychiatrist who works for the private firm that provides health services to the county jail or by doctoral students who are assigned to the Public Defender’s office. These jail screening and pre-court evaluations determine whether a defendant is eligible to participate in the mental health court, is legally competent, or needs to be admitted involuntarily to a hospital.
Probate and Guardianship
The Probate Division hears cases related to the processing of wills and the settling of estates, as well as guardianship and mental health cases.
Unified Family Court
The UFC Division hears cases where one judge presides over multiple open cases involving the same children and family members within the Domestic Violence, Family, and Juvenile Divisions. The Family Division also presides over divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, paternity, name change, and some domestic violence injunction cases.
Most civil traffic infraction hearings are heard before a Hearing Officer. Those who receive a traffic citation have the option within (30) days of paying the traffic fine as written on the citation, attending a driver improvement course or requesting a hearing to contest the citation.