What does the justice of the peace do? Although they are mostly known as the people who officiate at weddings when couples don't use religious leaders, these legal officials also have other responsibilities. The work is not restricted to weddings; in Florida, these are elected officials who also judge minor criminal and civil court cases. Depending on the states they work in, various educational and experience backgrounds may be required.
Becoming a Florida Justice of the Peace
To become a Florida justice of the peace, you'll need a four-year bachelor's degree in a subject like pre-law or political science. A law degree is also necessary, and it's best to pursue one at a Florida law school. Some have dedicated justice of the peace programs; other options include completing Juris Doctor (JD) requirements. After that, the individual must pass the Florida bar examination, followed by attorney work in a courtroom.
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To get the ball rolling, you can reach out to the Florida Division of Elections to qualify for a justice of the peace candidacy. You'll need to file candidacy papers with the county you wish to run in and a petition with a certain amount of resident signatures and documentation pertaining to your campaign financing. Also, hire a dedicated full-time campaign manager to run your bid for election as justice of the peace if you need campaign management help.
Campaign managers are responsible for effective budgeting, management of campaign staff and outreach to increase the voter base. A qualified campaign manager typically has a bachelor's degree, previous campaign experience and solid communication skills. With their help and a strong campaign, you could win the election; the term is six years. That's how to become a justice of the peace in Florida!
Become a Justice of the Peace in Another State
Not all states require their justices of the peace to hold law degrees. According to the experts at the New Hampshire Department of State, applicants must be state residents and have been registered voters for at least three years. They have to sign written statements under oath regarding whether or not they were convicted of a crime (besides minor traffic violations) and have two justices of the peace and a registered New Hampshire voter endorse the application.
The completed application (and $75 fee) gets mailed to the NH Secretary of State's office and is turned over to the governor and executive council for nomination. If approved, the applicant will receive an appointment within eight to 10 weeks and take an oath. The writers at the Arizona Judicial Branch mention that the justices of the peace also don't need law degrees; applicants must be state residents at least 18 years of age. They must also read and write English, along with meeting several other qualifications, too.
The Perks of Living in Florida
The experts at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the median pay for administrative law judges, hearing officers and adjudicators was $102,550; it was $128,710 per year for judges and hearing officers. In Florida, the pay ranges were $96,730 to $114,140. Other states like New Jersey and California offer higher salaries for these sorts of roles, but the cost of living can be correspondingly more expensive. They might also not have the kinds of tax benefits that Florida residents enjoy.
The Sunshine State is known for its retirement-friendly tax benefits, including no income tax on earnings; this includes Social Security benefits and many pensions. There are no inheritance or estate taxes, either; residents also don't have to pay a gift tax. As for property taxes, all state homeowners can qualify for a $50,000 exemption, and there are additional ones that widows, widowers and individuals with disabilities can qualify for.