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How Does the Florida Miami-Dade County Court Work?

The Miami-Dade County Courts are under the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. These courts function within the county’s limits, resolving most civil and criminal cases that originate at this level. Some of the cases heard at the Miami-Dade County Courts comprise citizen disputes, traffic offenses, monetary disputes, and other minor criminal offenses (misdemeanors). Most jury trials at the Miami-Dade County Court take place before one judge.

The Miami-Dade County Courts are divided into seven, namely:

  • Civil Court
  • Criminal Court
  • Family Court
  • Juvenile Services
  • Probate and Mental Health Court
  • Small Claims Court
  • Traffic Court

Miami-Dade Civil Court

This court functions on two levels, namely the Circuit Civil and County Civil. The Circuit Civil has jurisdiction over civil matters where the cost of damages sought is above $30,000. On the other hand, County Civil Courts have jurisdiction over small claims, where damages sought cost between $.01 and $8,000. Landlord/tenant actions and cases where damages sought range between $8,000.01 and $30,000 also fall under County Civil courts.

The Civil Court also assists in:

  • Filing a Small Claims Suit
  • Collection of a Judgment 
  • Enforcing a Foreign Judgment

These cases may be filed at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse or the full-service District Courts.

Miami-Dade County Civil Court

Miami-Dade County Courthouse

73 West Flagler Street, Suite 133, Miami, Florida 33130

Telephone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County Coral Gables District Court

3100 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, Florida33134

Telephone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade Criminal Court

This court operates at two levels, namely Circuit Criminal and County Criminal. The County Criminal court manages the records of municipal or ordinance violations, certain civil infractions (boating and wildlife violations), and all misdemeanor arrests. This court is also part of the Traffic/Misdemeanor Division.

On the other hand, the Circuit Criminal Court accepts and processes all felony affidavits of probable cause, arrest warrants, and grand jury indictments. This section performs two felony bond hearings daily by a video transmission between the courtroom and pre-trial detention center. The court also organizes special felony drug-court bond hearings daily. Here, the defendant is permitted to enter a special drug rehabilitation program rather than going to trial.

The Criminal Court also handles Misdemeanor Jail Arraignments and Felony Bond Hearings. Bond refunds are processed by the Central Bond Unit of the Clerk’s Office. The sealing and expunging of criminal records can be done at this court.

Miami-Dade County Criminal Court

Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building

1351 NW 12th Street, Miami, FL 33125

Phone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade Family Court

The Family Court Division is responsible for probate cases and domestic relations. Domestic Relations cases include:

  • Child Support & Alimony
  • Simplified Divorce  
  • Notice - Noncriminal Justice Applicant’s Privacy Rights
  • Name Change

Probate cases comprise:

  • Mental Health 
  • Guardianship 
  • Estates 

Miami-Dade County Family Court

Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center

175 NW 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33128

Phone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade Juvenile Services

This court handles juvenile cases relating to delinquency, where a child is alleged to have committed a law violation. Juvenile Services also caters to dependency, where a child is alleged to have been abandoned, abused, or neglected. The court also processes Marchman-Act petitions where a parent believes their child is abusing drugs or other illicit substances. 

Miami-Dade County Juvenile Court

Juvenile Justice Center

155 NW 3 Street, Suite 3318, Miami, Florida 33128

Telephone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade Probate and Mental Health Court

Cases resolved here include:

  • Estates, including a small estates petition, wills on deposit, or caveat.
  • Guardianship 
  • Marchman Act (Substance Abuse)

For Probate Division Forms, visit the court website.   

The court can also assist in petitioning the Baker Act, allowing the offender to receive a psychiatric examination at a related facility. Fill out the Baker Act Intake Sheet before visiting the Clerk’s Mental Health Office.

Miami-Dade Small Claims Court

This court is responsible for resolving small claims actions up to $8,000, excluding costs, interest, and attorney fees. To file a case at the Small Claims Court, follow the procedure on the court’s website. 

Miami-Dade Traffic Court

All citations issued for traffic violations must be paid at the traffic court within 30 days from the citation issue date. Also, interested persons may verify their case’s status through the traffic system by using a driver’s license number or name, date of birth, and citation number. Payment must be made in person, online, by phone, or mail, as soon as the information appears in the traffic system. However, note that it could take as long as three weeks for a citation to appear in the system.

If the citation does not show in the system within two weeks, mail the payment with a copy of the citation to avoid late payment penalties. Alternatively, visit any of the Clerk’s Offices listed below:

Miami-Dade County Coral Gables District Court

3100 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, Florida 33134

Telephone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County Criminal Court

Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building

1351 NW 12th Street, Miami, FL 33125

Phone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County Family Court

Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center

175 NW 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33128

Phone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County Hialeah District Court

11 East 6th Street, Hialeah, FL 33010

Phone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County North Dade Justice Center

15555 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 100, Miami, Florida 33160

Telephone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County South Dade Government Center

10710 SW 211th Street, Suite 1200, Miami, Florida 33189

Telephone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County Sweetwater County Court

Sweetwater Sub-Office

500 SW 109th Avenue, Miami, FL 33174

Phone: 305–275–1155

Miami-Dade County Traffic Court

Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building

1351 NW 12th Street, Miami, FL 33125

Phone: 305–275–1111

Money orders or checks can also be mailed to:

Clerk of Courts

Traffic/Misdemeanor Division

PO BOX 19321

Miami, Florida 33101–9321

Interested persons may also call 305–275–1111 to speak to a Deputy Clerk. Call between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon on a weekday. Persons may also visit between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. 

Visit Civil Traffic Infraction for non-criminal traffic violations, and Criminal Traffic Citation for criminal traffic violations.

The Chief Judge also oversees the effective and ideal administration of the Miami-Dade County Courts. The duties of the Chief Judge include:

  • Assignment of judges, executive assistants, and other court officers 
  • Structuring a plan for the prompt disposition of cases
  • Control of dockets
  • Mandatory periodic review of the county jail inmates’ statuses 
  • Regulation and use of courtrooms, and consideration of statistical data

To qualify as a Miami-Dade County Court judge, an individual must be an elector of the county and a Florida Bar member of good standing for a minimum of five years. The judges serve six-year terms and are subject to the same disciplinary measures and Judicial Qualifications Commission’s jurisdiction as other judicial officers.

Miami-Dade County Court case records are maintained at the Clerk of Court’s Office in the Circuit Court, where the case was heard. Interested persons may query this office in writing or complete a request form provided by the court. Civil, probate, and family court records can be searched online by:

  • Party Name
  • Local Case Number
  • State Case Number
  • Hearing Date

Criminal Cases can be searched online by:

  • Case Number
  • State Case Number
  • Citation or Police Number
  • Defendant’s Name
  • Jail Number
  • Calendar
  • Judge’s Name and Calendar Date

The length of time a case takes in the Miami-Dade County court is not fixed, as each case is treated discreetly. It is determined by the facts of the case and the caseload of the court.

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