Monroe County Florida Criminal Court FAQ

Key West Bail Bonds

WHAT IS A FELONY?
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, “A crime of a graver or more serious nature than those designated as misdemeanors; e.g. aggravated assault (felony) as contrasted with simple assault (misdemeanor). Under federal law, and many state statutes, any offense punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year”

HOW CAN I CHANGE MY COURT DATE?
If your court date has already been set, the Clerk’s Office cannot change it. If there is a problem with your date, you or your attorney should contact the office of the Judge assigned to your case and/or file the appropriate “Motion”.

JUDGES OFFICES
Felony, Circuit Court

Although it is improper for a Judge to speak to any party involved in a pending case about the case, each Judge’s Office has an assistant who may be able to help you. Please keep in mind that the assistants may not give you any legal advice.


Circuit Judges

Judge Mark H. Jones
Freeman Justice Center
302 Fleming St.
Key West, FL  33040
Devonna Alce/Cortney Menendez
Judicial Assistant / Judicial Staff Assistant
305-292-3422 / 305-292-3345
FAX: 305-295-3625
Judge Timothy Koenig
Freeman Justice Center
302 Fleming St.
Key West, FL  33040
Kathy Rupp
Judicial Assistant
305-292-3433
FAX: 305-292-3611
Judge Luis M. Garcia
Upper Keys Government Center
88820 Overseas Highway
Tavernier, FL  33070
Susan Johnson
Judicial Assistant / Judicial Staff Assistant
305-852-7165
FAX: 305-852-7113

HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT A CASE?
To obtain information on a felony case, search our online records.

Due to the confidential nature of juvenile cases, you will not find these cases on the system. Direct your inquiries to the Juvenile Department service counter also located in all courthouses.

Personal assistance may be obtained on felony cases at the service counter of each division.

Key West Courthouse
500 Whitehead Street
Key West, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Marathon Branch Courthouse
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Upper Keys Courthouse
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Key, FL  33070
305-852-7145

HOW CAN I PRESS CHARGES AGAINST SOMEONE?
The Clerk of Court does not have the authority to file criminal charges. Please contact your local law enforcement agency or the State Attorney’s Office.

For information call the office of the State Attorney at:

Lower Keys:
305-292-3400
Middle Keys:
305-289-2595
Upper Keys:
305-852-7170

To find out more information please visit the Monroe County Sheriff’s website.

HOW DO I PAY RESTITUTION?
If you are on probation or community control, check with your Probation or Community Control Officer for payment instructions.

Telephone numbers are:
State Probation

 
Lower Keys:
305-292-6742
Middle Keys:
305-289-2340
Upper Keys:
305-853-3262

Read your copy of the “Restitution Order”. This document will list the provisions regarding restitution payments.

If you are not on probation or community control and you were ordered to make restitution payments to the Clerk of Courts, they should be made to the sentencing location. Be sure to indicate that the payment is for “restitution”, include your name and complete case number so payment is posted to the proper case. Money orders, personal check (no two party checks), or bank draft only. DO NOT SEND CASH.

Locations are as follows:

 
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
KeyWest, FL  33040
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Hwy
Marathon, FL  33050
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Hwy
Plantation Keys, FL  33070

WHAT IF I CAN’T PAY MY FINE?
If you having a problem paying your fine and you are on probation or community control, contact your Probation or Community Control Officer at:

State Probation

 
Lower Keys:
305-292-6742
Middle Keys:
305-289-2340
Upper Keys:
305-853-3262

The Clerk’s Office cannot pardon, defer, or alter fines imposed by the Court.

WHAT IF MY PAYMENT IS LATE?
If your payment is going to be late, notify the appropriate office. Failure to do so could result in a “Bench Warrant” being issued for your arrest.

If you are on probation or community control, call:

STATE PROBATION
Department of Corrections

 
Lower Keys:
305-292-6742
Middle Keys:
305-289-2340
Upper Keys:
305-853-3262

**The Clerk’s Office cannot pardon, defer, or alter fines imposed by the Court.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN TO COME TO COURT?
If you have bonded out of jail or been released by a Judge, you were notified at the time of your release of your upcoming court date.

You will be notified of any change in this date by mail. All notices will be sent to the address that you gave when you were arrested.

If you change your mailing address, it is your responsibility to notify the Clerk’s Office in writing
or in person at:

 
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
KeyWest, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Keys, FL  33070
305-852-7145

Notification of change of address is very important. Your failure to appear for your court date could result in you being re-arrested or taken into custody.

I HAVE MOVED. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
It is the defendant’s responsibility to keep the Clerk’s Office informed of their correct address.

If your mailing address changes, you must submit your new address in person or by mail to the appropriate department:

 
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
KeyWest, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Keys, FL  33070
305-852-7145

Failure on your part to notify this office of your address change could result in you failing to appear for a court date. This, in turn, could result in your re-arrest.

CRIMINAL RECORD SEALED/EXPUNGED

There are very strict criteria for sealing or expunging court records. Some of the requirements are:

  1. You have been charged but not convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense because adjudication was withheld;
  2. The State Attorney declined to prosecute;
  3. You have not had any other court record sealed or expunged in the State of Florida;

 

You may be eligible to have court records pertaining to your case sealed or expunged. By Florida law, there are specific charges that cannot be sealed or expunged regardless of whether or not adjudication was withheld.

There are significant differences between a sealed record and a record that has been expunged.

A sealed record could be opened for inspection by a judge, you, your attorney, a criminal justice agency, and in specific situations, a prospective employer.

An expunged record would no longer exist, since the file and any references to it are destroyed.

The Clerk’s Office has a free packet that provides you with detailed instructions on the regulations governing sealed and expunged court files.

There are fees, which will be charged for processing requests. The initial fee charged by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is $75.00. There are additional fees charged by local law enforcement agencies.

If the judge approves the motion, your record will be sealed or expunged. The Clerk’s Office will then provide certified copies of the order to those agencies that have a record of your arrest so that they may seal or expunge their records as well. The Clerk’s Office will charge you $25.00 for this service.

For additional information contact:

 
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
KeyWest, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Keys, FL  33070
305-852-7145

MAY I ATTEND A CRIMINAL TRIAL?
All sessions of court are open to the public unless a judge has ordered a court proceeding to be closed.

Spectators are expected to dress and deport themselves properly while in attendance of any court session.

WHAT IS AN ARRAIGNMENT?
A procedure whereby the accused is brought before the court to plead to a charge in a charging document, (“Information”, “Indictment”, “Citation”, etc.). The charge and rights are read to the defendant. The defendant is then asked if he or she wants to plead “guilty”, “not guilty”, or “nolo contendere” (no contest).

In some instances, the case might be disposed of at the arraignment. In most instances, however, the case is “continued” to another court event at a later date.

If the case is continued, you will be served a “Notice to Appear” while you are attending the arraignment court event. This “notice” will list the date, time, and place you are to appear for the next court event regarding your case.

Occasionally, for various reasons, the Court might change the date, time, and/or place of your next court event. You will be notified of this change by U.S. Mail. It is very important that you ensure that the address listed in the court case file is correct. If you change your mailing address, you must promptly report the change to the Clerk’s Office in person or in writing. Your failure to appear for a court event could result in you being arrested and subject to additional penalties.

If you have an attorney, he or she may enter a written plea in your behalf and waive your appearance at the arraignment. If not, you must appear. Be sure to check with your attorney as to whether you must appear.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I FAIL TO APPEAR?
Failure to appear can have serious consequences. The Court may issue a “Bench Warrant” for your arrest and enter an “Order of Bond Estreature”, consequently causing you to forfeit the money and/or collateral you posted for the bond. Additional penalties could be imposed by the Court.

The Clerk’s Office cannot set-aside, recall, or reinstate a “Bench Warrant”. Only the Courts have this authority.

HOW CAN I GET A “CRIMINAL RECORDS” SEARCH & LETTER?
For various reasons including applying for certain job positions, you must furnish a copy of the results of a “criminal record” search. You may obtain a letter reflecting the results of this search by contacting:

 
Clerk of the Court
500 Whitehead Street
KeyWest, FL  33040
305-294-4641
Clerk of the Court
3117 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-6027
Clerk of the Court
88820 Overseas Highway
Plantation Keys, FL  33070
305-852-7145

The search will only include Monroe County information.
Payment for the record search must be received before the search is conducted.
Fee charges are:
$1.00 per year per person
$1.00 per page for copies
$1.00 per document for certification

When your request is made please include as much information as possible. Each request is handled as quickly as possible in the order received. This request can be made by mail or in person at any office location.

Payment must be made before the record search can be conducted.

I NEED A HARDSHIP DRIVER’S LICENSE. WHAT CAN I DO?
Conviction of various charges can result in the Court suspending your driving privilege for a significant period of time. You might be eligible for a “Hardship Driver’s License”. Your attorney can advise you as to the process and requirements involved.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV), through a hearing officer, determines the eligibility of applicants for Hardship Driver’s Licenses.

For additional information, contact:

Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV)
Lower Keys
3439 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, FL  33040
305-293-6338
Middle Keys
3380 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-2306
Upper Keys
101463 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL  33037
305-853-3563

DRIVER’S LICENSE REINSTATEMENT
If your driving privilege has been suspended as a result of non-compliance for a violation or charge in Monroe County, the Clerk’s Office can reinstate your license as long as the Monroe County suspension is the only open suspension on your driver’s license record. The cost for this reinstatement is $25.00.

The Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) can also reinstate your license for a fee of $25.00. You must have proof that all outstanding suspensions in every county in the State of Florida have been satisfied.

For additional information, contact:

The Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DSHMV)
Lower Keys
3439 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, FL  33040
305-293-6338
Middle Keys
3380 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL  33050
305-289-2306
Upper Keys
101463 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL  33037
305-853-3563

I WOULD LIKE AN ATTORNEY BUT CAN’T AFFORD ONE. WHAT CAN I DO?
Florida Statute 27.51(1) states, “(1) The public defender shall represent, without additional compensation, any person who is determined by the court to be indigent as provided in s.27.52… … … …”

By law, the Clerks Office cannot provide you with legal advice or recommend a particular attorney. This includes the filling out of documents and forms.

If you have been charged with a CRIMINAL offense and cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for the services of the Public Defender.

You are eligible for the services of the Public Defender if you are charged with a felony, misdemeanor or criminal traffic case. If you are charged with a traffic citation that does not carry the possible penalty of jail time, you are not entitled to the services of the Public Defender. Also, if you are involved in a civil case or a family law case, you are not entitled to the services of the Public Defender. If you are involved in any of these types of cases, you should not contact the Indigence Examiner unless you are so ordered by the judge. In addition, the Indigence Examiner can only assist you in Monroe County cases. He is unable to assist you if you are charged with a case in another county.

Currently, a person qualifies for representation by the Office of the Public Defender if he or she meets the following criteria: (I) their net weekly income does not exceed $412.98 plus an additional $145.19 per each dependant in the household; (2) they do not have any disposable or equitable property or goods which can be used to secure a private attorney; and (3) they have not already hired a private attorney to represent them in additional cases, with few exceptions.

There is a state-mandated application fee of $40 to apply for the Public Defender. If you do not meet the qualifications listed above, you should not waste your $40 to apply. Instead, seek the assistance of private counsel. The standards for qualifying for the Public Defender are set by State Statute. Your application will be a sworn court document and perjury laws apply to any information contained in it.

You may make application with the 16th Judicial Circuit’s Indigence Examiner, Fred Pearce, by calling 305-292-3587 or by faxing 305-295-3652.

I AM A WITNESS IN A CRIMINAL CASE HOW CAN I OBTAIN INFORMATION?
All questions regarding court appearances should be directed to Counsel that has subpoenaed you as a witness.

ACHIVEMENTS

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat.

Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur
magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem
ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora
incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis
nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam.

The History of the Key West Jail

The Old Key West Jail

The 1892 jail had been specifically designed to mimic the Monroe County Courthouse, built just two years earlier. Both the Key West Jail and Monroe Courthouse were symbols of Monroe County’s position as the most populous city in Florida at that time with the U.S. Census showing more than 18,000 citizens in Key West.

The 1892 jail was the fifth jail built at the historic Jackson Square. In 1907, a 10-foot-high concrete wall was built around the jail and in 1910 the jail was expanded to increase capacity with a two-story concrete cell block.

In 1952, the front of the old jail was demolished and replaced with a new jail and office for the Monroe County Sheriff. In 1965, the sheriff’s office was replaced with a courthouse annex. This annex was expanded in the 1980s. At that time, the north section of the 1907 wall was removed. Today, only the rear portion of the 1892 building remains, along with the entire 1910 addition and the 1910 cell block.

1892 KEY WEST JAIL RESTORATION MUSEUM PROJECT TO START IN EARLY 2020

Monroe County Project Management will start the restoration of the 1892 Key West Jail in early 2020. The first phase includes roof replacement, door and window restoration, and spalling repairs. In the second phase, non-historic features of the building will be removed and fire protection, required ADA access, restrooms, and museum facilities will be added. The tentative opening date is summer 2021.

A small section of the original 1892 building and the entire 1910 addition remain. The goal of the project is to save the original structure and remodel a portion of the building to operate as a museum.

“This project will be a celebration of law enforcement and the Florida Keys’ unique history with the early jail system,” said Cary Knight, Director of Project Management. “There has been a considerable amount of research to make it a historical experience for our residents and visitors to Key West.”

Earlier this year the Key West Art and Historical Society (KWAHS) submitted a proposal to operate and maintain the museum that was accepted by the Board of County Commissioners. The KWAHS also manages the County-owned Fort East Martello and the Key West Lighthouse.

“This has been a long effort to preserve this special piece of Monroe County history,” said Michael Gieda, Executive Director of KWAHS. “This partnership with the County has been a win-win for historic preservation and education.”

Monroe County commissioned a full historical structure report with a Historic Preservation Grant in 2018. The project will be funded through a Tourist Development Council’s bricks and mortar grant and a Florida Division of Historic Resources special category grant.

How to Bond out of the Key West Jail.

Key West Bail Bonds

The Town

            The Florida Keys in Monroe County, Florida attracts up to five million visitors a year from all over the world. A good portion of these tourists end up in Key West which is known for its care free, island lifestyle, and the world-famous downtown party zone “Duval Street”. Duval Street is just over a mile long, runs north to south, and houses the largest collection of eateries, saloons, and niche stores in town. A small portion of those visitors may end up needing the services of a Key West Bail Bondsman.

Although Key West, Florida is well known as a party town that does not mean it is free of laws or law enforcement. The Key West Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation are just a few of the active law enforcement agencies in town. Locally, law enforcement is supported and proactive in nature. Unfortunately, sometimes people make mistakes and situations occur where some is placed under arrest.

After Arrest

When someone is arrested within Key West, they will be transported to the Monroe County Jail Key West Facility for processing. The Monroe County Key West Jail is located at 5501 College Road, Key West, Florida, 33040.

Once the arrestee arrives at the Monroe County Key West Jail, it will usually take several hours for the arrestee’s charges and bond amount to become available. This delay is because that information is not accessible until after the arresting Key West Police Officer or Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy finishes writing the arrest affidavit. The arrest affidavit contains the narrative of the probable cause for arrest and list of charges.

There are several different kinds of arrests with a few being a bench warrant, a capias, a probable cause arrest, and a writ.

If an arrestee is in custody on a warrant arrest which includes Violation of Probation, Failure to Appear, Violation of Pre-trial Services, etc. their bond will already be set and they will be able to bond out at that time unless it was set as  No Bond Allowed by a Key West judge.

If the inmate of the Key West Jail is being charged with any Probable Cause Felony arrest and most misdemeanors, they will not have a bond right away. They will first have to attend a first appearance hearing with a Monroe County, Key West Judge. There is a first appearance hearing scheduled every day of the week and all year round. There is only one first appearance hearing each day. If you are arrested too late in the day, and miss that days hearing you will be required to spend the night inside of the Key West Jail and attend first appearance the next day.

During the hearing the Key West Judge will review the arrest affidavit and decide if there is probable cause for the arrest. If the Key West Judge decides there is probable cause for the arrest, he will then decide to set cash or surety bond (secured) for each charge or grant the arrestee Pre-trial release (release without secured bond). The arrestee will then be provided an arraignment date to return to court at a later date.

If the judge decides there is not sufficient probable cause for the arrest, they may in essence drop the charge on the spot.

If the arrestee was given Pre-Trial Release, they will be released from the Key West Jail, usually within a few hours.

Bonding Out

            If the Key West Judge gave the arrestee a $5,000 Bond (just for example). You then have two options, Cash, or Surety.

Cash – You will go directly to the Jail with $5,000 in cash and secure the arrestee release. If you do not wish to post cash at the Jail you can call (305)451-2593.

We will provide you with a Key West Jail Surety bail bond. A Bail Bond can only be provided by a licensed Florida Bail Bondsman. A licensed Florida Bail Bonds will charge you a 10% of the total amount of the bond, with a minimum of $100 per charge plus security for the total amount of the bond. The security may be as simple as a co-signer signature depending on the specific situation.

            We will then secure the release of the inmate by providing the total bond to the Key West Jail. The arrestee will then be released from the Key West Jail within hours. After being released from the Key West Jail, the arrestee must attend all court hearings, or have an attorney appear, until the case is completed.