Expert Witnesses

Mental health experts, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, are regularly appointed in criminal and juvenile cases when there is a question as to competency to proceed. Also, when a person is alleged to be incompetent to make his or her own decisions, an examining committee is appointed to examine the person in guardianship proceedings. There are other situations where experts are appointed but they are less common.

Pursuant to current statutes, the Court pays for mental health experts, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, in certain types of cases under specific circumstances. Generally, these cases include, among others, criminal competency (§ 916.115, Fla. Stat.); criminal competency – intellectual disabilities or autism (§ 916.301, Fla. Stat.); juvenile competency (§ 985.19, Fla. Stat.); juvenile competency – intellectual disabilities or autism (§ 985.19, Fla. Stat.) and guardianship examining committees (§ 744.331, Fla. Stat.).

Evaluations/Services For Which Court Will Not Pay: The Court does not pay for sanity evaluations or competency restoration services. The Court does not pay experts who are privately retained by the State Attorney, Public Defender, Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, conflict counsel, private counsel, or any other person or entity. If a court order designating experts to examine a defendant for sanity purposes is required for payment purposes, the order must be separate from any order appointing experts for competency evaluations. The Court does not pay for an expert’s time for a deposition or conference with the attorneys. The Court does not pay fees to an expert who is an employee of a government agency; that expert will be paid by his/her employer.

Standard Orders Required: In cases involving a competency evaluation, except guardianship cases, the moving party must prepare the proposed order appointing the expert(s) and must use the appropriate standardized competency order posted on this page to the right under the label “Standard Orders.” The standardized orders are: Form A - criminal cases; Form B – criminal cases in which a defendant is alleged to be incompetent due to intellectual disabilities or autism; Form C – juvenile cases; Form D – juvenile cases in which a child is alleged to have intellectual disabilities or autism; Form E – appointment of a second expert in criminal competency – requesting party pays for expert. NOTICE TO EXPERTS: IF YOU RECEIVE AN ORDER APPOINTING YOU TO A CASE AND HAVE ANY QUESTIONS CONCERNING PAYMENT OR OTHER ISSUE, BEFORE YOU PERFORM ANY SERVICES, PLEASE CONTACT HELENE WELCH BY EMAIL AT CTADHW1@OCNJCC.ORG OR AT (407) 836-0471.

Please see Administrative Order 2017-22 and the Billing Manual for Experts Seeking Compensation located on the right side of this page under “Other Information.”