A Brief Overview of the Criminal Court System

Criminal cases are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies.

Misdemeanors (call 741-4019) are under the jurisdiction of County Court. Defendants sentenced for misdemeanor crimes may be fined, put on probation or confined in County Jail for up to one year, or any combination of the above. Misdemeanor crimes include but are not limited to Petit Theft, Criminal Mischief, No Valid Driver License, Expired Tag and certain Driving While License Suspended and Driving Under the Influence offenses.

Felonies (call 741-4043) are under the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court. Defendants sentenced for felony crimes may be fined, put on probation or community control, confined in County Jail for up to one year as a condition of probation or community control, confined in a state prison from one year up to life, or any combination of the above. If convicted of a capital crime, the defendant could be sentenced to death. Felony crimes include but are not limited to Burglary, Grand Theft, Drug Offenses, Sexual Battery and Murder.


The Criminal Division of the Clerk's Office manages court files of all arrestable offenses that occur in Manatee County. Arrestable offenses include charges of No Valid Driver's License to more serious charges of murder and drug offenses. The goal of the Criminal Division is to maintain complete, accurate, and timely documentation of pleadings, court proceedings, and exhibits assuring that documents are prepared for court appearances, records of any and all court proceedings are documented, and criminal judgments are prepared and recorded.

Related Links

Contact Criminal
Supervisor: Michelle Hernandez
Supervisor Title: Supervisor
Mailing Address
Attn: Criminal
P.O. Box 25400
Bradenton, FL 34206
Physical Address
1115 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34205
Criminal Frequently Asked Questions
1) How can I change my court date?

The Clerk’s office does not have the authority to change a court date. If you are represented by an attorney, including the Public Defender, please contact them with your request. If you are not represented by an attorney, you may put your request in writing, addressed to the Judge. Include your full name, mailing address, and case number. File the original written request with this office.

2) What happens if I fail to appear for my court date?

Failure to appear may result in the Judge issuing a bench warrant for your arrest. You may forfeit the bail posted, thus losing your money or collateral. If the offense you failed to appear for includes a traffic offense, the Judge will also suspend your driving privileges. Upon arrest, you may be held in jail with or without bond.

3) What must I do if the Judge ordered my driving privileges suspended?

Once you have been released from the arrest on the warrant, bring all of your paperwork to this office. You will be required to pay a delinquency fee. Once this is paid, you will be required to reinstate your driving privilege. You may be charged a reinstatement fee. 

Where to Reinstate: 

In Manatee County: Tax Collector’s Driver License Office, 904 301 Blvd. West, Bradenton, Florida

Out of Manatee County: at any Driver's License Office in the State of Florida

Out of State: Please contact the licensing state.

4) Who should I notify if my address changes?

It is your responsibility to notify the Clerk’s office of your current address, in writing, at Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court, Attn: Criminal Division, P.O. Box 25400, Bradenton, FL 34206. Please include your case number on the correspondence.

5) I missed my court date, how can I take care of the bench warrant?

You will be required to turn yourself in at the Manatee County Jail. If you live outside of Manatee County, you may turn yourself in to the closest law enforcement agency. Upon your arrest you will be required to post bail as required by the Judge. You will be assigned a new court date, which will be approximately 3 weeks later.

6) Where is the Manatee County Jail located?

The address for the Manatee County Jail is 14470 Harlee Road, Palmetto, FL 34221. It is located approximately 11 miles north of Bradenton; take US 41 north to the Port Manatee exit and turn left. Go west to Harlee Road and follow the signs.

7) What is my court date, sentence or assigned case Judge?

The answers to these questions and other case specific data can be found by searching our Court Records Search site. 

8) How can I have my case sealed or expunged?

Florida Statute 943.0585 and/or 943.059 will provide the requirements and conditions for having a criminal court case sealed and/or expunged from your record. Please read these statutes carefully.

If you need an application or have questions regarding your eligibility to have your records sealed or expunged, please contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. FDLE will require that you complete an application for the procedure and submit the forms to their office. The forms are only available on the FDLE website.

Upon receipt of your application, FDLE will notify you of your eligibility. For further instructions and the forms needed to proceed for court action go to our Online Forms page.

Fees for this procedure will include payment to FDLE and a service charge plus charges for certified copy paid to the Clerk.

Sealing or Expunging Criminal Records
1) Sealing or Expunging Criminal Records
Description Amount
1 FDLE Fee - paid to FDLE $75.00
2 Clerk Fee - paid to the Clerk $42.00
Other Criminal Fees
2) Other Criminal Fees
Description Amount
1 Delinquency Fee $32.00