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CLERK OF COURT & COMPTROLLER

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA

Virtual hearings

If you are inquiring about Court hearings done virtually online using Zoom, or some other video platform where participation is done remotely, the judge in the case will decide if they will conduct hearings remotely. You need to look up the judge for the case on the Court's Judicial Directory [external website link] and read about whether that judge conducts virtual hearings or not. The Court determines what virtual technology platform they will use, and the Court provides all support for their virtual hearings. If you require assistance with connecting to or using technology for a court virtual hearing, please read "Instructions on how to use Zoom if your court hearing is a Virtual Hearing" below or visit the Court's technology support page [external website link] to request help.

If you are inquiring about virtual participation in County Board of County Commissioners meetings and other County public meetings (such as the Land Use Board, Code Enforcement Board, Commission on Human Trafficking, Comprehensive Plan Amendment, Emergency Policy Group, Land Development Code, Charter Review Board, Historic Resources Review Board, Zoning, Local State of Emergency, Tourist Development Council and Value Adjustment Board), the County decides whether or not a meeting will be held remotely along with what virtual technology platform they will use, and the County provides support for their virtual hearings. Please sign up thru the County [external website link] to participate in any County meetings or hearings that are being done virtually.

Instructions on how to use Zoom if your court hearing is a Virtual Hearing

Zoom Instructions/Information

The Zoom application is free for iOS and Android devices and may also be accessed via desktop Windows or macOS computer (with camera and microphone). You do not need an account nor pay to use this service. All parties and their legal counsel should plan to appear separately to maintain proper physical distancing.

  • Log on to https://zoom.us/ or download and install the Zoom app
  • Click on Join a Meeting
  • Enter your Meeting ID (located on the front of your Virtual Notice of Hearing Zoom)
  • Enter Your Password (if required) (located on the front of your Virtual Notice of Hearing Zoom)

Initial Zoom Hearing Waiting Room/Disconnections

The Zoom Hearing Docket will be configured to allow early entrants to be placed into a Zoom “Waiting Room” until the case is called. When entering the Zoom Waiting Room, each party MUST use the case number and full real name of the party testifying (for example, “20-CF-012345 John Smith"). Do not use nicknames or the device’s default name setting. The Court will begin calling cases at the scheduled time. However, wait times may be lengthy due to technological issues. Your patience and understanding is appreciated. If a Zoom Hearing participant becomes disconnected at any time, the party will need to reconnect/call back in.

Muted Appearances

All parties will be muted until their case is called. When your case is called, please un-mute, then state your full name.

Zoom Videoconferencing Tips

Please review the following tips in preparing for your videoconference hearing:

  • Prepare well in advance of the hearing time for your virtual hearing
  • Download the Zoom application before your scheduled hearing
  • Test your speaker, microphone, and camera before the hearing. The Zoom app provides a test link to try your equipment before the actual event.
  • Dress appropriately, like you would if actually going to the courthouse, because you will be on camera.
  • Limit distractions during your hearing. Put all pets, family members and other things that may be a distraction in a different room. Turn off your TV and radio. Find a quiet place to participate in the hearing.
  • Keep your phone, mobile device, or computer on mute unless speaking to reduce feedback and limit background noise during the hearing.
  • Email the court in advance if you want to present evidence. If you have documents or witnesses you want available for your hearing, check the judge’s website [external link] or call the judge's judicial assistant for more information.
  • Ensure others using your wi-fi network minimize their usage during your hearing so you have the best possible connection.

Don’ts

  • Don’t ignore the virtual hearing. If you cannot make the hearing or have a conflict, notify the court and your attorney.
  • Don’t talk over others; it makes it hard for the judge and others to hear. Wait to speak until asked to by the judge.
  • Don’t do other things while on the call. Just like in an actual courtroom, you must pay attention to make sure you don’t miss something important that is said or something the judge asks you to do.

No Internet Connectivity – Join via Telephone

Dial (786) 635-1003

  • Enter your Meeting ID (located on the front of your Virtual Hearing Notice Zoom) when prompted followed by #.
  • Enter your Password (if required) (located on the front of your Virtual Hearing Notice Zoom) when prompted, followed by #.
  • Please listen carefully and follow instructions.