Misdemeanors are offenses of the law that is less serious than felony offenses. They are punishable by a fine, probation, and/or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year as opposed to a state prison sentence on a felony charge. The misdemeanor offenses include petit theft, worthless checks, prostitution-related charges, possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia, resisting arrest without violence, battery (domestic violence), and assault. In addition to criminal misdemeanor cases, the county criminal court maintains and files civil infractions. The ordinance violation cases are punishable by a fine or civil penalty.
Misdemeanor court files can be reviewed in the Clerk's Customer Service Center, Room 101 on the 1st floor at 800 East Twiggs Street in downtown Tampa. To view any files older than two (2) years and back through 1987, you must first telephone the misdemeanor clerk's office at (813) 276-8100 to order the file prior to appearing in the office. The Clerk's Office will locate the request file from the record archives to be ready and available for your review within two (2) working days.
If you have bonded out of jail or have been released by a judge, you will be notified by mail of the upcoming court dates, or you are to remain in contact with your bondsman for the court date. Notices will be sent to the address that you gave when you were arrested. If you move, it is your responsibility to notify this office, in person or in writing, of any change of address. Send the notice of new address with your name and case number to: Clerk of Circuit Court Hillsborough County Misdemeanor Department P.O. Box 3360 Tampa, Florida 33601-3360 or appear in person at: Clerk of Circuit Court Customer Service Center 1st Floor, Room 101, 800 East Twiggs Street Tampa, FL 33602. It is very important to notify the clerk if you have moved! A failure to appear at your appointed court session could result in your being re-arrested and/or a forfeiture of your bond that you or someone who bonded for you have posted, thus losing money or collateral.
An arraignment is a court hearing in front of a judge where a defendant is advised of the formal charges filed by the state attorney's office or law enforcement and allows the defendant to enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty to the charges. If you have a private attorney, a written plea of not guilty may be entered in your behalf, and a waiver of your appearance at the arraignment hearing may be filed. If no such document has been filed with the clerk, you must appear. At the arraignment, you enter your plea to the charges. If you enter an oral plea of not guilty to the charges, a trial or disposition date may be set by the court at that time. If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges, you may be sentenced at that time. If you qualify for the public defender, you may ask the court at your arraignment to appoint the public defender to represent you in future court hearings.
It is the defendant's responsibility to keep this office informed of his or her correct current mailing address, including zip code. If your mailing address changes, you must submit your new address by mail to: Clerk of Circuit Court Misdemeanor Department P.O. Box 3360 Tampa, FL 33601-3360 Or in person to: Clerk of Circuit Court Customer Service Center 1st Floor, Room 101, 800 East Twiggs Street Tampa, FL 33602. Please make sure your name and case number are on the address change when submitted to the clerk.
All sessions of misdemeanor courts are open to the public, unless a particular judge orders his courtroom closed. Spectators are expected to dress and behave themselves properly while in attendance at any court sessions. No tank tops or shorts are allowed in any courtrooms. Pagers and cellular telephones are to be turned off while in the courtrooms.
A subpoena is traditionally defined as a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony regarding a certain matter. Testimony is normally given in a court of law before a judge or hearing officer, or by deposition, in the presence of a court reporter. If you are served with a subpoena and have any questions, or are unable to attend on the date specified, you must contact the agency or attorney that subpoenaed you. If you fail to respond to a subpoena, you may be held in contempt of court.
There are violations of county ordinances known as civil infractions that are neither criminal related charges or traffic related charges. Types of civil infractions are: littering, boating and fishing. Please read your citation carefully to verify if you have a mandatory court appearance or if the citation is a payable citation.Boating/marine patrol cases: a citation given on a violation of a boating/marine patrol citation may be a payable fine. Please read your citation carefully to verify if you have to appear in court or can pay the citation fine.Game/fresh water fish cases: some of the game/fresh water fish citations are a payable fine. Please read your citation carefully to verify if you can pay the fine or need to appear in court.
Fines and fees on ordinance violations can be paid in person by cash, check or money order at: Clerk of Circuit Court Customer Service Center 1st Floor, Room 101, 800 East Twiggs Street Tampa, FL 33602 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday Or paid by mail (if time permits prior to due date or infraction hearing court date) to: Clerk of the Circuit Court Misdemeanor Department P.O. Box 3360 Tampa, FL 33601-3360 Make checks or money orders payable to: Clerk of Circuit Court
A standard number of copies may be made while you wait. Though we try to make all copies while you wait, requests for larger volumes of copies may have to be placed on order. Be assured that these requests are also completed as soon as possible.
Cost for copies – $1.00 per page Cost to certify – $2.00 per document Payment for copies is made when the copies are picked up. Payment is to be paid by cash, check, cashiers’ check or an accepted credit card.
Case number and status information for a criminal case may be obtained by calling the Criminal Courts phone pod at : (813) 276-8100. Due to the number of incoming calls, requests for criminal history, record checks, and requests for copies are not handled by phone.
Copies of documents and requests for criminal history or record checks may be obtained by writing the Misdemeanor / County Criminal Department at: Clerk of the Circuit Court Attn: Misdemeanor Department Correspondence Clerk P.O. Box 3360 Tampa, FL 33601-3360 Though all written requests are answered as quickly as possible, it is quicker to obtain information on a pending case by coming into the office.