OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

State Courts System

County Courts

What is the purpose of the courts?

The county courts are the lowest level of trial court in Florida and have limited jurisdiction. The majority of non-jury trials in Florida take place before one county court judge. Each of Florida's 67 counties has a county court.

What types of cases do the county courts hear?

County courts have jurisdiction in misdemeanor cases that cannot be heard by the circuit court, violations of local ordinances and traffic offenses, and civil actions in which the amount of controversy is not more than $15,000, if filed on or before December 31, 2019, not to exceed $30,000 if filed on or after January 1, 2020, and not to exceed $50,000 if filed on or after January 1, 2023.

How many cases do they hear?

In Fiscal Year 2017-18, there were 577,819 criminal filings and 587,090 criminal dispositions, and 2,085,835 civil filings and 2,012,695 civil dispositions in county courts. Additional information on county court filings and dispositions is available in Trial Court Statistical Reference Guide

How many judges are there?

There are 324 county judges. The number of county judges within each county ranged from 1 to 43, based on county population and caseload.

Who is eligible to be a judge?

To be eligible for the office of county judge, a person must be able to vote in the county, and must have been a member of The Florida Bar for five years; in counties with a population of 40,000 or less, a person must only be a member of the Florida Bar.

How are judges selected?

Judges are elected to a six-year term in nonpartisan, contested elections by voters in the county in which they are seeking to take office. County judges are subject to the same disciplinary standards, and to the jurisdiction of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, as all other judicial officers.

Can county judges work in other courts?

County judges are eligible for assignment to circuit court, and they are frequently assigned as such within the judicial circuit that includes their counties.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Salary Rate/ Position General Revenue Trust Funds
SALARY RATE
POSITIONS
SALARIES AND BENEFITS
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM STATE COURTS REVENUE TRUST FUND
OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
EXPENSES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
OPERATING CAPITAL OUTLAY
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR COUNTY JUDGES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
CONTRACTED SERVICES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
RISK MANAGEMENT INSURANCE
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
LEASE OR LEASE-PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
TRANSFER TO DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES - HUMAN RESOURCES SERVICES PURCHASED PER STATEWIDE CONTRACT
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
TOTAL
94,770,260
5,912,636

Updates

Increase to Civil Thresholds. Beginning in 2020, the limits for the amount in controversy for civil cases in county court will increase from $15,000 to $30,000. In 2023, that amount will increase again to $50,000. The last time the amounts were changed was in 1992, when the threshold was raised from $10,000 to $15,000. In 2018, the Supreme Court studied county court civil jurisdiction and its workgroup recommended raising the threshold to just over $27,000 and the court then endorsed its proposal to round that down to $25,000.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2018, Report 19-17, December 2019
County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2017, Report 18-06, November 2018
County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2016, Report 17-12, December 2017
County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2015, Report 16-10, December 2016
County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2014, Report 15-15, December 2015
A Review of Florida Circuit Courts, Report 15-13, December 2015
Review of Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission, Report 15-12, December 2015

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
Recommendations from the Judicial Management Council's Work Group on County Court Jurisdiction, January 2019.
Publications, Office of the State Court Administrator.
Statistics, Office of the State Court Administrator.
The Auditor General reports on the state courts system are available on itswebsite.
Websites of Interest
Florida Rules of Court Procedure
National Center for State Courts
Court Statistics Project
The Conference of County Judges of Florida
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Article V, Constitution of the State of Florida, and Ch. 34, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Office of the State Courts Administrator, Supreme Court of Florida, 850-922-5081
Website