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

Justice Administrative Commission

State Attorneys

What is the purpose of the state attorneys?

Under the Florida constitution, the state attorney serves as the prosecutor, representing the people in criminal courts throughout the circuit.  State attorneys review criminal investigations and complaints submitted by law enforcement agencies and others, file formal charges supported by the law and the evidence, and then present these cases in court.

How are criminal cases generated?

State attorneys are required to represent the State of Florida in the prosecution of all criminal cases arising out of their respective circuits. A criminal case may be generated by several different events.
  • Arrest of An Offender.  A state attorney must review every arrest for violations of state law that occurs in his respective circuit.  State attorneys rely on law enforcement to prepare arrest reports, victim affidavits, and witness statements; and to secure the evidence needed to prove each and every element of the offenses charged. Once the State Attorney has reviewed all supporting documents and sworn testimony, a decision is made to either file charges, decline to file any charges, file a change of charge, present the case to the Grand Jury or require additional investigation. 
  • Executive Assignments.  A state attorney receives assignments to investigate and prosecute cases outside the circuit when the governor's office orders an assignment. This occurs when another circuit has a conflict and requests the Governor to re-assign the prosecution. 
  • Grand Jury Investigations.  The function of the grand jury in criminal matters is to investigate and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify an indictment against an accused. The grand jury must ascertain whether there is probable cause that a crime has been committed by the person so accused.  If it determines that the evidence is sufficient to constitute probable cause, the grand jury issues an indictment on which the accused will be put on trial.
  • Non-Arrest Walk-in Complaints.  State attorneys receive complaints and reports of criminal activity from various sources, including law enforcement and the general public. Each one of these complaints must be investigated to determine whether a crime has occurred and who has committed the crime. These investigations take place prior to the arrest of the accused. The investigation may include substantial witness statements, search warrants, subpoenas, and more. When the state attorney's office has completed its investigation, a decision is made to either file charges or decline to file any charges.  If charges are filed, an arrest warrant or issue summons must be prepared to bring the accused into custody.
  • State Attorney-Initiated Investigations.  A state attorney may initiate an investigation if there is reason to believe a crime has occurred and an investigation is warranted. 

How many state attorneys are there?

There are 20 state attorneys who practice in 20 circuit courts and 67 county courts.

How long is a state attorney's term?

State attorneys are elected to four-year terms under Article V, Section 17, Constitution of the State of Florida.

What is the yearly workload of state attorneys?

In Fiscal Year 2018-19, state attorneys received referrals for 381,236 felony cases, 637,804 misdemeanor cases, and 84,797 juvenile cases.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions
STATE ATTORNEYS
01-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
18,316,920
230.00
02-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
10,691,814
114.00
03-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
6,025,681
70.00
04-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
30,417,175
364.00
05-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - FIFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
22,440,839
249.00
06-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
37,775,247
460.00
07-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - SEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
19,388,576
238.00
08-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - EIGHTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
10,998,490
135.00
09-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
30,812,189
375.00
10-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - TENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
21,089,349
234.00
11-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
91,366,228
1,268.00
12-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - TWELFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
15,816,490
192.00
13-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
28,734,698
332.00
14-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
10,394,521
122.00
15-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
27,893,236
333.00
16-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
5,330,982
62.00
17-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - SEVENTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
41,359,935
511.00
18-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
23,104,224
285.00
19-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - NINETEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
13,385,535
165.00
20-PROGRAM: STATE ATTORNEYS - TWENTIETH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
25,086,336
310.00
TOTAL
490,428,465
6,049.00

Updates

Donna's Law.  Chapter 2020-81, Laws of Floridaeliminates the time limitation for prosecuting sexual battery when the victim is younger than 18 years of age at the time of the offense and the offense was committed on or after July 1, 2020.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

Due Process Services, Report 19-18, December 2019
Direct File of Children to Adult Court Is Decreasing; Better Data Needed to Assess Sanctions, Report 17-06, March 2017

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
The Auditor General reports on state attorney's operations are available on its website.

Websites of Interest
Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association
Florida State Courts
U.S. Department of Justice

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, Section 17, Constitution of the State of Florida, and Ch. 27, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Garett Berman, Executive Director, Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Inc., 850-488-3070

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