South County Traffic Court
The old South County Traffic Facility closed at the end of 2018. The cases criminal traffic cases pending in South County Traffic Court were relocated to the Pinellas County Justice Center (CJC) on 49th Street in Clearwater, FL, in accordance with Administrative Order No. 2018-058 PI-CIR, effective on January 1, 2019, that rescinded the prior Administrative Order 2016-016 PI-CIR.
Beginning January 3, 2022, the judge currently presiding over the South County II Division is Judge Diane Croff who took over after Judge Brett Szematowicz was transferred to a Criminal Trial Division. Judge Joseph Lawhorne is assigned to South County Traffic I.
Both civil traffic infractions and criminal traffic misdemeanor cases are heard in Division I and Divison II in South County.
Examples of criminal traffic misdemeanor cases include driving under the influence (DUI), driving with a suspended license (DWLS), no valid driver’s license, and leaving the scene of a crash (hit and run).
Attorney for Traffic Misdemeanors in St. Petersburg, FL
If you have a traffic misdemeanor cases that originated in the southern part of Pinellas County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
Our criminal defense attorneys represent clients throughout Pinellas County, FL, for criminal misdemeanor charges such as DUI, DWLS, no valid driver’s license, and leaving the scene of a crash (hit and run).
Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.
Reassignment of Traffic Misdemeanor Cases
After the closure of the traffic court facility in St. Petersburg, the administrative order directed the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court to assign all cases filed in the Traffic Division in Pinellas County in accordance with this Administrative Order and the Local Rules.
Criminal Traffic cases are to be assigned based upon the ZIP code of the agency issuing the citation except as provided in this Administrative Order. Cases filed in Pinellas County from the following agencies will be assigned to Sections 49 and 50 at the Pinellas County Justice Center:
- Gulfport Police Department
- Indian Shores Police Department
- Kenneth City Police Department
- Pinellas County Schools Police
- Pinellas Park Police Department
- St. Petersburg Police Department
- Treasure Island Police Department
- University of South Florida Police Department
- Bay Pines V.A. Police Service
Depending on the assignment of the deputy, trooper, or officer issuing the citation, cases will be assigned to either the North County Traffic Facility or the Pinellas County Justice Center when filed in Pinellas County from any of the following agencies:
- Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
- the Florida Highway Patrol
- the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
What about Cases in North County Traffic Court?
The Clearwater Traffic Court that disposes of all criminal traffic infractions issued in the northern part of the county will continue to do so at 29582 U.S. Highway 19 N. in Clearwater. Beginning in 2022, those cases in Sections 51 & 52 are heard by Pinellas County Judge Theodora C. Komninos who took over those sections from Judge Susan Bedinghaus.
Cases filed in Pinellas County from the following agencies will be assigned to Section 51 and 52 at the North County Traffic Facility:
- Belleair Police Department
- Clearwater Police Department
- Largo Police Department
- Tarpon Springs Police Department
So the judge in North County Traffic Court will continue to hear cases filed by, among others, the police departments in Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, Largo and Belleair (as well as cases filed by the Pinellas County Sheriff or Florida Highway Patrol that originated in the northern part of the county).
Even Distribution of Cases Between the Court Facilities
Deputies, troopers, and officers will be assigned to either the North County Traffic Facility or the Pinellas County Justice Center in a manner that results in an even distribution of cases between the court facilities.
The Clerk shall provide the Administrative Office of the Courts with a report at least semi-annually that provides the percentage of cases that are assigned to the Pinellas County Justice Center and the percentage assigned to the North County Traffic Facility.
Assignment of Non-criminal Traffic Infractions
Non-criminal traffic infraction cases will continue to be assigned pursuant to Administrative Order 2017-032 or subsequent Administrative Order. If a county court judge is required in such a case, it will be calendared pursuant to paragraph two of the Administrative Order. The Clerk and Pinellas County Business Technology Services was directed to take any necessary action to implement the changes.
Plans to Move All of the Traffic Misdemeanor Cases
The original plan was to move both the north county traffic court and the south county traffic court to the county justice center in 2021 after a construction project to expand the county justice center was completed. But after the project began, the authorities decided south county traffic court could be moved earlier in order to accommodate some plans by the clerk to consolidate that office’s resources.
For now, Judge Riba will hear criminal traffic cases filed by, among others, the police departments in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Treasure Island, Gulfport, Kenneth City, and Indian Shores.
Traffic Court Cases in Pinellas County – For years, the traffic court in St. Petersburg has been handling traffic cases (both civil and misdemeanor) that originate in the southern part of Pinellas County. But as of December 21, 2018, traffic court cases will no longer be handled at the county government complex at 1800 66th St. N. in St. Petersburg. Now those cases are being moved to the County Justice Center at 14250 49th St. N. in Clearwater. The Pinellas County Clerk of Court was required to send notices to inform anyone with a pending case about the change. The case will now be heard in Courtroom 15 of the justice center by the same Pinellas County Judge who handled these traffic cases in the government center in St. Petersburg, Joshua Riba.
This page was updated on Monday, Friday, January 10, 2022.