If you are a litigant who speaks a foreign language, you are entitled to a foreign language interpreter in certain court proceedings. These proceedings include:
- Baker Act proceedings
- Child abuse (dependency) cases
- Criminal cases
- Juvenile delinquency cases
- Traffic court (criminal) cases
If you are indigent and cannot afford a foreign language interpreter, you may be entitled to one in the following types of cases:
- Child Support cases
- Dissolution of marriage cases
- Domestic violence injunction proceedings
- Paternity cases
If you need an interpreter for a hearing, you must contact Court Administration in advance of the hearing. Court Administration staff is responsible for scheduling interpreters requested for all in-court hearings. If you are a criminal defendant, your attorney usually requests the interpreter for you. If you are involved in a juvenile case, the State Attorney’s office usually requests the interpreter for the hearing(s). In domestic violence, civil, and traffic cases, the request usually comes from the Clerk, but may be requested directly by a litigant. Court Administration cannot schedule an interpreter unless we receive a request.
To schedule a foreign language interpreter, contact:
- Pasco: Chris Hover: 727.847.8135
- Pinellas: Justin Thom: 727.453.7177
- Pinellas Alternate: Tanja Fitzgerald: 727.582.7440
The court pays the cost of interpreters for indigent parties with state funds. If you are not indigent, the Trial Court Administrator is required by law to recover interpreter costs on behalf of the state. If you are found to have the ability to pay, you will be billed after your hearing for the costs of the service provided to you, which are normally $35 to $68 an hour with a two hour minimum, plus travel costs.
Interpreters must be certified and approved by the court. You cannot bring a relative, friend or neighbor to act as an interpreter.
Court Administration generally does not schedule interpreters for hearings taking place outside of the courtroom or judge’s chambers (except for mediations, General Magistrates, and child support hearings).
Sign Language Interpreters:
If you need a sign language interpreter, you are entitled to one at no cost to you.
To schedule a sign language interpreter, contact:
- Pasco: Chris Hover @ 727.847.8135
- Pinellas: Justin Thom @ 727.453.7177
- Pinellas Alternate: Tanja Fitzgerald @ 727.582.7440
Sign language interpreters are certified and approved by the court. You cannot bring a relative, neighbor, or friend to sign for you.