A circuit court judge must be an attorney for five years, in good standing with The Florida Bar, an elector (resident) of the circuit where he or she is to serve, and is usually elected by the public to serve a six year term. A circuit court judge may be re-elected.
Circuit court judges may be elected to an open seat or appointed by the Governor in circumstances when the judicial vacancy occurs on a date other than at the expiration of the current (retiring or resigning) judge’s term. When there is an election for an open seat, the judge is elected for a six year term. When there is an appointment by the Governor, the judge is up for re-election on the next general election ballot after a full year after the appointment. During any such election referenced above, lawyers may run against the trial court judge. If the judge receives no opposition, then the judge commences a new six year term on the January following the election cycle.