Welcome to sunny and beautiful Miami! With millions of diverse people living across this expansive city by the bay, Miami is known as a cultural melting pot where tourists and residents alike mingle together and enjoy the best the city has to offer. From the delectable and diverse cuisine to the signature cultural sights and sounds of the city, Miami is known as a window to the Caribbean soul. However, it is not always rainbows and sunshine when it comes to the “Magic City.” Legal issues and unruly disputes can come up that require immediate attention. Knowing where to turn to and where these issues can be settled is important. With many courthouses at your disposal, you can be on your way to settling your legal issues in no time.

In regards to Florida courtrooms, the Florida legal system is split into big-time Circuit Court and small-time County Court. Misdemeanors and smaller cases are usually handled by a Circuit Court, while felonies and major civil litigation are usually handled by a County Court. Understanding the difference between these two can save you a lot of headaches going forward.

The Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Florida is responsible for civil litigation in cases involving more than $15,000 in damages and felony drug cases in Miami-Dade County. There are four primary courthouses in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit that you should be aware of: The Juvenile Justice Center, the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse, the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, and the Richard E. Gerstein Building.

Federal Courts in Miami

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida 

Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse

Telephone Number: (305) 523-5100

400 N. Miami Ave.

Miami, FL 33128

Federal trial-level cases are heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Eleventh Circuit, which includes Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, has authority over this district. Atlanta hears federal lawsuits and appeals from the Southern District of Florida. This is a handy list of forms you can use for legal needs that pertain to you. This court has two other sites, all of which are within a mile Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse:

Clyde Atkins United States Courthouse

301 N. Miami Ave.

Miami, FL 33128

James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building

99 N.E. Fourth St.

Miami, FL 33132

State Courts 

Children’s Courthouse and Juvenile Justice Center

Telephone Number: (305) 275-1155

3300 N.W. 27th Ave.

Miami, FL 33142

Only juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency cases are handled by the Children’s Courthouse and Juvenile Justice Center. They also provide services aimed directly at preventing or treating adolescent alcohol or substance abuse. The Children in Need of Care initiative works to improve the lives of juveniles and their families by granting families access to a variety of social services. It is important to note that juvenile prosecutions are oriented toward recovery rather than deterrence.

Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center

Telephone Number: (305) 275-1155

175 N.W. 1st Ave.

Miami, FL 33128

The Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center specializes in family law and domestic abuse litigation. Use their Self-Help Program if you need assistance with a family law problem. They will give you a package with all of the appropriate forms and then check them for accuracy if you pay for that service. To save time while seeking a restraining order against an abusive aggressor in your family, be sure to complete their admission questionnaire form before doing so.  The Miami-Dade Cultural Center Garage, located at 50 N.W. 2nd Ave., is the safest and most effective spot to park your vehicle.

Miami-Dade County Courthouse

Telephone Number: (305) 275-1155

73 W. Flagler St.

Miami, FL 33130

The Miami-Dade County Courthouse is where civil and probate cases are handled. Circuit Civil and County Civil are the two stages of the civil division. Circuit Civil has authority over civil litigation with more than $15,000 in damages requested, while County Civil has authority dictating over small claims court, lawsuits seeking less than $15,000 in damages, and tenant-landlord dispute cases. The Probate Division is in charge of distributing the estates of people who have passed away. You should plan on arriving as soon as possible because the elevators here move incredibly slow and the queue for the metal detector is long. On the second floor, there’s a public law library with a wealth of legal materials, laptops, printers, copiers, and lots of workroom to be productive in. Parking in the garage on 50 N.W. 2nd Ave may be your best bet for an easy in and out.

Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building

Telephone Number: (305) 275-1155

1351 N.W. 12th St.

Miami, FL 33125

The Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building is where felony offenses, such as traffic violations, are taken care of. Circuit and County are the two tiers of the criminal division. Misdemeanor arrests, some civil infractions, and city code offenses are handled by County Criminal, while all felony prosecutions are handled by Circuit Criminal. Save time and money by paying for your traffic ticket online rather than going to the courts to do so. Civic Center Lot #25, located at 1355 N.W. 12 Ave., is the most efficient spot to park.