Massachusetts District Courts are the most versatile in the state and handle a wide variety of both criminal and civil cases pertaining to housing, mental health, juvenile delinquency, misdemeanors, felonies and dozens of other matters. All felony crimes with a potential sentence of up to 5 years in prison are tried in the District Court. Additionally, other less serious felonies and all misdemeanors along with town and city violations are resolved by the District Court.
In terms of civil cases, the District Court handles all matters where the damages are $25,000 or less and small claims cases where the reward is less than $7,000.
The District Court is made up of 62 distinct courts across the state. For 2018, Massachusetts District Court processed 199,725 civil cases and 163,189 criminal cases along with 235 appeals. The total of all filings for 2018 was 523,860; this figure includes “scheduled magistrate hearings” and juvenile cases as well. Filings overall were down by more than 10% from 2017.