Alabama’s District Courts are a lower level than the state Circuit Courts and send their appeals up the ladder. These are not jury trial courts; therefore, a judge decides verdicts rather than a jury. District Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases. Generally, each county has at least one District Court. These county courts handle cases where the damages or disputed amount totals more than $3,000 but is less than $10,000. When a case falls in between Small Claims Court and Circuit Court, due to the dollar amount, it lands in District Court. These courts may conduct preliminary felony hearings and also have jurisdiction over most misdemeanor cases.
There are 67 District Courts in Alabama that employ 98 judges to sit on their benches. The types of cases processed through District Courts are tort cases, both criminal and civil, contract matters, real property cases and all cases where the damages are between $3,000-$10,000. District Courts also handle various domestic issues, such as paternity suits, adoption, visitation, child custody, and child support. They also process juvenile cases and traffic violations and infractions. There are also federal District Courts in Alabama, one for the Northern region, another for the Southern region and a third for the middle section of the state. Each of these federal District Courts has a corresponding bankruptcy court as well.
The state of Alabama allows E-Filing of all court documents and with a paid subscription, users can access court documents from District Courts all over the state through their AlaFile and alacourt.com systems. Users must pre-register, and attorneys can upload motions, forms, and other court-related paperwork through the AOC E-File system. Alabama’s website states that “AlacourtPlus is the eFiling application used by the Circuit and District Clerk's offices and the Circuit and District Judge's offices across the state of Alabama. AlacourtPlus allows the Clerks and Judges to process the electronic documents that are eFiled in AlaFile.”