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Sarasota County Court Records

Rule 2.420(b)(1)(A) of the Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration describes a "court record" as the contents of a court file. While all adjudicative records generated in Florida are indeed Florida court records, the state does not maintain a unified repository. Instead, each court keeps records of proceedings heard within its jurisdiction through its Clerk's office. The Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, for instance, preserves case records for Sarasota County's judicial system.

Sarasota court records are created for several reasons, chief among them being to promote public participation and oversight in legal matters and to maintain transparency in the judicial process. Moreover, the permanent filing of legal proceedings, such as testimonies and rulings, enables the establishment of legal precedent. Judges and legal professionals can refer to past judgments to guide future rulings, facilitating a consistent application of the law.

Court records also help judges, sued parties, clerks, attorneys, prosecutors, and other legal actors stay informed about a case's status and progression. Finally, the records serve as evidence in the event of an appeal or retrial.

A Sarasota County court file includes pleadings, complaints, responses, progress dockets, calendars, motions, documentary exhibits, orders, verdicts, and transcripts.

Are Court Records Public in Sarasota County?

Yes, court records are openly disclosed in Sarasota County. Per the Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.420, the public has access to all records of the Sarasota judicial branch, excluding records prohibited explicitly by law, court order, court rule, or other legal authority. Accordingly, the following court records are considered confidential in Sarasota:

  • Complaints alleging misconduct against a judge until probable cause has been established
  • Copies of unexecuted arrest and search warrants and supporting affidavits retained by clerks, judges, or other court personnel
  • Trial and appellate court memoranda, drafts, notes, and other written materials prepared by court personnel as part of a court's decision-making process
  • Records whose disclosure may reveal trade secrets, violate personal privacy rights, impede the administration of justice, or cause substantial injury to an innocent third party
  • Social Security, charge, bank account, debit, and credit card numbers
  • Juvenile delinquency records
  • Grand jury records
  • Adoption records
  • Addresses of domestic violence victims
  • Information identifying sexual offense victims
  • Estate inventories and accountings

Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.420 (c) and (d) provide a detailed list of exempt Sarasota court records and their conditions for public release, if applicable.

Sarasota County Court Records Search

A Sarasota County court records search is a formal inquiry made to the local court system to examine and potentially duplicate records of criminal or civil suits heard in the county. This search can be carried out as follows:

  • At the county courthouse in Venice or Sarasota
  • Via written request to the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's office
  • Via a third-party public records database

Sarasota County Court Records Search by Name

To locate court records by name in Sarasota County, a person must have at least the last name of a party involved in a court case or a business name if the sued/suing party is a company or organization.

Subsequently, the researcher can access ClerkNet, a secure online service provided by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller to enable convenient access to public court records. The website can be accessed anonymously or with a user account. Registered users have greater access to case records, including obtaining Viewable On Request (VOR) case documents and subscribing to receive email notifications about a case.

Many court records can be inspected or viewed on ClerkNet by inputting a defendant or plaintiff's name into the fitting search boxes. Access to ClerkNet is free.

However, if one seeks an older record or requires certified copies, they should visit the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's Public Access Department during regular office hours. The department can also be contacted at (941) 861-7400 to schedule a record for review. An interested party can also send a written request by mail or request by fax. The Clerk's office indicates applicable fees in its fee schedule.

Note that while a name search for court records is indeed possible in Sarasota County, other case details, such as the case status, type, or filing year, can help filter the search.

Sarasota County Courts

Sarasota County is part of the Florida Twelfth Judicial Circuit, together with Desoto and Manatee. The county's judicial system comprises the circuit and county courts that manage the local caseload as per the law. These courts conduct proceedings at the following locations:

Judge Lynn N. Silvertooth Judicial Center
(Main Courthouse)
2002 Ringling Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34237
Phone: (941) 861-8000

South County Courthouse
4004 South Tamiami Trail
Venice, FL 34293
Phone: (941) 861-7400

Sarasota County Justice Center
2071 Ringling Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34237
Phone: (941) 861-7800

Sarasota County Historic Courthouse
2000 Main Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
Phone: (941) 861-7400

(The Sarasota County Historic Courthouse is used mostly by the Clerk's office and other local authorities. Court sessions are not regularly held there.)

Sarasota County Superior Court Case Search

Sarasota County does not have a "superior court" within its justice system. The county's court system consists only of circuit and county courts. Admittedly, the circuit court's jurisdiction is similar to that of a "superior court" in the relevant US regions. The court has general trial jurisdiction over actions not statutorily assigned to the county court system and also holds appellate jurisdiction over cases from the county court. Causes of actions heard by the circuit court pertain to family law, civil (over $50,000 in damages), probate, guardianship, juvenile, and felony criminal matters.

To search records produced in the Sarasota County's Circuit Court, one can:

  • Access the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's ClerkNet portal. Users can look up basic case information with a case number, party name, or citation number. Other details like a case status, case type, or filing date range can be used to filter the search results.

Inquirers can also view publicly available imaged case documents on ClerkNet for free. A subscriber option is provided for persons who want extended access. Users should follow the prompts to register.

  • Fill out and submit a Records Search Request to the Clerk's Public Access Department at:
    2000 Main Street
    P.O. Box 3079
    Sarasota, FL 34230-3079

The mail-in option is available to individuals who cannot visit the Clerk's business offices to request a case search or utilize the ClerkNet portal. However, each requester is liable for the associated records and search fees (listed on the form), such as $1 per page for copies, $1 per document for certification, and $2 per name per year to locate records.

  • Call the Clerk's office at (941) 861-7400 or send a fax request to (941) 861-7738. Each request should include the relevant party name(es), case number, years to search, document type, and any other detail that can help the Clerk's office fulfill the request. The requester should also indicate if they need a plain or certified copy of a case record.

Phone and fax requests generally attract the same research and copy fees charged to mail-in requesters. However, the Clerk's office only processes credit card payments, and requesters are liable for a 3.5% processing fee charged by the third-party payment vendor.

Sarasota County District Court Records

In Sarasota County, the county court serves as a trial court of limited jurisdiction. By statute, this court only adjudicates specific case types, such as misdemeanors, small claims (civil actions of $8,000 or less), civil claims beneath $50,000, most landlord/tenant actions, and criminal traffic matters. Sarasota has no designated "district court," albeit such courts customarily possess limited jurisdiction comparable to the county court.

To find county court records generated in Sarasota, a person should inquire at the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's office. As stated, the office provides in-person, mail-in, phone, fax, and online channels for submitting record requests.

However, fees are assessed for record reproduction and case research (if the requester has insufficient information or a search requires extensive staff time).

Sarasota County Criminal Records

Under Florida's Sunshine Law, criminal records maintained by law enforcement agencies are classified as Sarasota County public records. Therefore, anyone seeking a criminal record within Sarasota County can submit a request to the county sheriff's office. The service is free.

One way to obtain Sarasota County criminal records is to stop by the Sheriff's Records Section during business hours. The unit is located on the first floor of the Criminal Justice Center at 2071 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota.

A second option is to send a written request by mail to the following address:

Sarasota County Sheriff's Office
Attention: Records
P.O. Box 4115
Sarasota, FL 34230-4115

Generally, inquirers should include the name, sex, date of birth, and race of the search subject, as well as their contact details. Providing sufficient details allows staff to locate responsive records promptly. For further information about the Sarasota criminal records search process, one may call the Records Section at (941) 861-4025.

Note, however, that the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office only provides local criminal history information for arrest events occurring within the county. For arrests in other counties, the interested individual should contact the regional sheriff's office. One may also obtain Sarasota arrest records by requesting a statewide criminal record check from the Florida Department of Law for $24.

Sarasota County Criminal Court Case Lookup

Criminal court case records stem from legal suits initiated by the government to prosecute a person alleged to have committed a punishable offense (a felony or misdemeanor). In Sarasota County, the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller maintains criminal case records and proffers various means to obtain them, including:

  • Accessing ClerkNet with a name or case number. Records from 2003 to present are available.
  • Completing, printing, and mailing a Records Search Request to the Clerk's Public Access Department (research and copy fees apply)
  • Visiting any clerk's office location that offers court records search and retrieval services

Get Sarasota County Civil Court Records

The Sarasota County Circuit and County Civil Courts preside over noncriminal (civil) conflicts between individuals, businesses, or groups, such as breach of contract, property damage, product liability, replevin, personal injury, discrimination, malpractice, wrongful death, and foreclosure.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller is the official keeper of all civil court records generated in Sarasota County. For convenient public access, the Clerk provides ClerkNet, an internet portal where interested members of the public can view and download many nonconfidential civil case records from 2001 to the present.

For unavailable records or where a certified copy is sought, the requesting party may send a request to the Clerk's Public Access Department by mail, fax, or phone. Copy requests bear a nominal charge ($1 per page and $2 to certify a document).

Sarasota County Family Court Records

Family court records encompass a diverse array of materials produced during legal proceedings to address a family law matter. In Sarasota County, family law proceedings are under the jurisdiction of the circuit court's Family Division. Cases adjudicated by the division include child custody, dissolution of marriage, name change, paternity, annulment, legal separation, child support, alimony, adoption, and civil contempt/enforcement.

Family court records are deemed public per Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.420. As a result, anyone can request copies or seek record inspections at the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's office. They can also access ClerkNet, the Clerk's secure online system that facilitates access to electronic court records.

However, many family court records are protected documents, as the cases often involve sensitive domestic matters. Thus, a requester may need to be legally authorized to obtain a family court record (be a case party) or have a court order permitting access.

Sarasota Dissolution of Marriage Records

Sarasota dissolution of marriage records refer to information and documents generated during proceedings begun to end a marital union, usually by divorce or annulment. These records are preserved by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller and may be obtained from the office in person, by mail, fax, via phone, or online through ClerkNet. However, aside from basic case details, dissolution of marriage records are typically not viewable online.

There are some fees associated with dissolution of marriage record requests in Sarasota. Additionally, access restrictions may apply when a record is confidential by law or has been sealed by the court.

Sarasota County Marriage and Divorce Records

The duty of preserving Sarasota County divorce and marriage records is centralized in one office: the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's office. As mentioned in the previous section, the Clerk implements several retrieval methods to ease public access to divorce documents, including the judgment of a divorce finalized in Sarasota. However, the process for obtaining Sarasota County marriage records is different.

Anyone interested in a Sarasota marriage record can access the circuit clerk's Official Records Index. Searchers can use any of the following parameters:

  • Applicant's last or first name
  • License number
  • Application date range
  • Marriage date range

Search results include the spouses' names, application date, marriage date, license number, and book/page. Inquirers can also view and download uncertified copies of a Sarasota County marriage certificate, license, and application for free.

The Official Records Index only contains marriage records from 1982 to the Present. Those seeking older records or copies should visit the Clerk's Public Access Department in the Sarasota or Venice courthouses or complete a Records Search Request to be submitted by mail, fax, or phone to the department.

Individuals can also order Sarasota County marriage records (June 6, 1927, to present) from the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Sarasota County Birth and Death Records

The Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) maintains and issues records of vital events within county limits, specifically deaths and births. These Sarasota County vital records have multiple legal uses.

Birth records confirm a person's identity, citizenship, and age and are crucial documents for school enrollment, driver's license issuance, and employment. Meanwhile, death records are useful for claiming insurance benefits, settling estates, and claiming pensions. These records also reveal population health trends and defects and can be used to determine ancestral lineage.

Per Florida law, only eligible persons can obtain a Sarasota County birth certificate less than 125 years old from the DOH. Such parties can complete, print, and submit a Birth Certificate Application to the mailing address on the form. An order for Sarasota County birth records can also be made at any of the following locations during working hours:

Office of Vital Records, Sarasota
William L. Little Health and Human Services Center
2200 Ringling Boulevard
Room 131
Sarasota, FL 34237
Phone: (941) 861-2810

Office of Vital Records, Venice
Robert L Anderson County Administration Center
4000 Tamiami Trail South
Venice., FL 34293
Phone: (941) 861-3528

The first birth certificate costs $15, and each extra copy ordered simultaneously for the same person costs $5. A legal photo ID is required regardless of the means used to submit the request.

Sarasota birth certificates can also be purchased at the Venice and Downtown Sarasota Tax Collector's offices. However, a $6.25 service fee applies.

On the other hand, anyone can obtain a Sarasota death certificate without cause of death from the DOH-Sarasota by submitting a Death Certificate Application by mail or stopping by the above-listfed addresses. Each death certificate costs $10, and the inquirer must include a legal photo ID (photocopy if sending by mail). However, the DOH-Sarasota only issues death certificates from 2009 to the present. Anyone seeking prior records should inquire at the State Vital Statistics Office in Jacksonville.

Sarasota County Probate Court Records

Probate court records bear the official accounts of probate proceedings in a court of law. The Sarasota County Circuit Court handles all probate matters originating in the county, including guardianships, wills, involuntary hospitalizations, and the determination of competency.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller maintains probate court records within the county. Requesters can access the office's ClerkNet portal to find and view images of probate cases at no cost. They can also contact, visit, or write to the Clerk's Public Access Department.

Sarasota County Property Records

Sarasota County property records carry essential information about the county's real estate (lands and buildings), including ownership, characteristics, assessments, and taxation. Members of the public frequently source these records to allow for informed decision-making when transacting with real estate. A request for Sarasota County property records can be made to the following government agencies:

The Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's office

Per Florida Statutes 28.001, et seq., the circuit clerk is the official recorder of all real estate instruments in Sarasota.

Interested persons can access the Clerk's Official Records Index to search land records (deeds, mortgages, liens, and judgments) filed since 1990 into the Sarasota County public records. The index can be searched with a name, instrument number, filing date range, book/page, or document type.

The circuit clerk's office also offers a Plat Search system to find plat records for condominiums and subdivisions online.

Users of either platform can view and print imaged property documents. Those seeking earlier records or certified copies should contact the Clerk's Public Access Department instead.

The Sarasota County Property Appraiser's office

The appraiser's office provides a Property Search database that the public can utilize to find consolidated Sarasota property records. The system can be accessed with different criteria, including an owner's name, property address, parcel ID, instrument number, and sales date range. Search results include the owner's name, parcel description, property values and exemptions, and extra features.

Sarasota County Court Records Online

The public can access Sarasota County court records through several channels. In addition to online resources offered by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the Comptroller's office, third-party websites like Floridacourtrecords.us also provide access to these records.

Independent (non-government-affiliated) companies operate third-party websites. These businesses collect public records from various sources to create a comprehensive database for public records searches. As a result, a user can find other records besides court records, such as Sarasota County arrest records and property data.

However, unlike government-run sites, users are often charged per search or on a monthly subscription to retrieve records from a third-party vendor. Persons who obtain court records from a third-party site are advised to verify the accuracy and completeness of their results, as such information is not deemed the official court record.

  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!